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October 3, 1980

The Sketches of Erinensis: Selections of Irish Medical Satire 1824-1836

Author Affiliations

McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario

JAMA. 1980;244(14):1622. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310140080043

"Erinensis" was the pseudonym used by Peter Hennis Green, an Irish physician who wrote many columns for The Lancet from the 1820s to the 1840s. Following the iconoclastic lead of the editor, the gadfly Thomas Wakley, Green directed the full weight of his undoubted literary talent and mordant Irish wit to exposing the weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of the medical establishment in Dublin.

Twenty of Green's columns have been resurrected here: a pastiche of biographical dissections (including Colles and Stokes), exposés of institutions (such as Steevens' Hospital), and some related miscellany. The implication of republication is, of course, that the material has contemporary interest sufficient to justify its reissue. What evidence is there that such is the case?

Certainly Erinensis had the knack of turning a phrase. Of the increasing number of hospitals in Ireland, he wrote: "We have now every variety of hospital, from the wholesale house of recovery with