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April 13, 1963


JAMA. 1963;184(2):144-145. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700150098021

John Cheyne (1777-1836) of Dublin, not to be confused with George Cheyne of London ( 1671-1743) who described hypochondriasis—"the English malady," is the senior partner in the Cheyne-Stokes respiration syndrome. Several of his ancestors had practiced medicine in or near Edinburgh. Education in grammar school, supplemented by tutoring under a clergyman of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, was disappointing. "Both master and pupil had more relish for idle talk than for Homer or Virgil."1 In his 13th year, John began to attend the poor among his father's practice. The assignment was "to ascertain that they were supplied with medicines, to bleed them, to dress their wounds, and report upon their condition"—surely a remarkably young age to begin the practice of medicine and to assume major responsibilities in the care of the sick. Before John became 16, the auditing of medical lectures at the University of Edinburgh complemented his clinical training.

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