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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars have claimed that the Hippocratics did not have pediatrics. Hippocratic authors made remarks about children’s ailments such as night blindness, dropsy, and tonsillitis, and this chapter uses them to argue for the presence of a coherent Hippocratic model of the child’s body. Its most significant characteristic, between the ages of dentition and puberty, was that it lacked the body passages of an adult that facilitated the formation of apostases. This model presented a challenge to typical Hippocratic therapy that made doctors wary of intervening in the course of a child’s disease—except in the case of head injuries. A child’s head could harbor a dangerous amount of phlegm, the humor associated with many of the diseases, especially seizures and epilepsy, believed to attack children. However, because even a child’s head was thought to contain spaces in which the fluid could gather, it was seen as amenable to treatment by trephination.

Keywords: Pediatrics, body passages, dentition, puberty, apostases, night blindness, dropsy, tonsillitis, seizures, epilepsy, phlegm, trephination

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