Punch,  47 (1864), 186.

Quacks and Contemporaries





Medical Treatment, Quackery, Charlatanry, Periodicals

    Relates a news story concerning a court case, with the names altered. Chronicles Captain Blank's purchase of a 'popular medical work by Dr. Asterisks and Co.', a book that 'is mainly a record of fictitious cases wherein symptoms similar to his own [including dysfunctional liver and nervousness] are attributed to unphysiological mistakes, which he is conscious of having made at some time of his life' and which will cause him to be ridiculed. Blank then orders medicines which Asterisks claims are the only cure for his symptoms. However, Asterisks threatens to publicise Blank's embarrassing details if he refuses to pay for the medicines. Lambasts Asterisks and Co. as representatives of the 'whole tribe of scoundrels' whose names dirty the newspaper columns and who deserve to serve 'penal servitude'. Urges those newspapers that 'publish the advertisements of obscene quacks' that they are 'accomplices' of quackery, and wonders whether their circulation is so small that they have to accept such advertising. Emphasises the differences between qualified practitioners and quacks, notably that the former do not advertise their addresses, but can be found in Churchill's Medical Directory.

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