May 1958

T. J. Maclagan and the Treatment of Rheumatic Fever with Salicin

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(5):997-1004. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260170153016

By some strange quirk of fate, the medical profession has almost forgotten the work and influence of a man whose contemporaries placed him beside Lister, the father of antiseptic surgery, and Simpson, the first physician to use chloroform in childbirth. Thomas John Maclagan, M.D. (Edinburgh), M.R.C.P. (London), discovered the action of the salicylates in rheumatism. The medical profession eulogized him with these words:

The death of Dr. Thomas John Maclagan... has removed from our midst a medical man who has conferred an unspeakable boon upon suffering mankind. The great work for which his name is, or should be, ever memorable is the discovery of the curative action of salicin and arising from that of the salicylates upon rheumatism. That method at once revolutionized the treatment of a most formidable malady, which was brought under the control of the physician in a striking manner, not only as regards severity of symptoms

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