FitzPatrick lecture 2022: diseases and mortality in the armies of nineteenth century British India - 11th Apr, 2022, 3:00 pm (UK)

FitzPatrick lecture 2022

Professor David Gawkrodger, honorary professor of dermatology at the University of Sheffield will be delivering the FitzPatrick lecture as part of College Day.

A full programme including start time will be avaialble in due course. 


The annual mortality for European soldiers in British India in the 1850s was 58 per thousand. The main causes of death were dysentery, cholera, fevers, malaria, hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis and heat apoplexy. About five percent of European soldiers died every year from non-combative causes. Few died in battle. Mortality amongst native troops was much lower, at 18 per thousand annually.

Public reaction to the 1857 Indian rebellion led to the establishment of a royal commission into the sanitary state of the army in India. Its recommendations, reported in 1863, were based on miasmatic theory, and focussed on sanitary improvements, mostly for European troops. The mortality among European soldiers duly fell to 28 per thousand in the 1860s and to 19 in the 1870s, mostly from reduced incidence of cholera and dysentery. Typhoid became problematic in the later 19th century, only controlled once germ theory focussed more attention on water, food and insect vectors, as sources of infection.

About the FitzPatrick lecture

The lecture was founded by a gift from Mrs Agnes Letitia FitzPatrick in 1901, in memory of her husband Dr Thomas FitzPatrick who passed away in 1900.  The FitzPatrick lecture delivered annually on the subject of “The history of medicine” and the first lecture was held in 1903.

Dr Thomas FitzPatrick was born in Virginia, a small Irish country town and graduated at Trinity College in Dublin.  He was a noted linguist who joined the East India Company as an assistant surgeon, served in Bengal and returned to London after an illness, where he practiced in Sussex Gardens.  He wrote about the social and sanitary conditions of the labouring classes in Ireland.


The full programme, including timings will be released in due course. 

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Please note we do not offer CPD credits for this webinar however, you can self-accredit as independent learning.
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