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Dr. Phillips' Early Casebook

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  • Dr. Phillips' Early Casebook

    ‘She has been very low spirited lately’: The early casebook of the ‘Ripper’ surgeon reveals the extent of mental illness in London

    https://thepolicemagistrate.blog/201...ess-in-london/
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  • #2
    It isn't always as straightforward as that...

    It's not always there...but then suddenly it is...it's insidious and creeps up on you...you're somehow not yourself when it arrives...you don't truly recognise the reactions of folk around you...you see the folk around you harassing you, when actually they are trying to help...

    No simple daytime task is necessarily so...it worries you incessantly until you can't sleep for worrying about the day to come...a couple of hours a night becomes a luxury...your sense of judgement falters...you may drink to alleviate the sleeplessness...ok at first but then the depressive qualities of alcohol kick in...day to day reality fades...

    You can't, without days of fear, complete the simplest professional task you could formerly address in minutes...nobody understands...

    And this is simply mild clinical depression...possibly the very mildest form of mental illness recognised...a condition I, alas, know all too well.

    Who knows what comes next...

    The article is, I'm afraid, over-simplistic, and offers little help or guidance...

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    • #3
      Thank you for sharing a little of your feelings and experiences, Dave. It helps my understanding of what depression is. xx

      Comment


      • #4
        Re the article: It seems to be aimed at a younger audience with not much experience of historical research?

        One thing that I feel almost all the other amateur researchers and historians on here have is experience of reading and researching in a wide variety of primary and secondary sources that gives us a good understanding of the time and place. Newspaper articles, case histories from workhouses, infirmaries and asylums, the work of social reformers and philanthropists, police doctors, activists and knowledge of political events all contribute to our understanding.

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        • #5
          Many now treatable conditions contributed to "mental" illness even through the 1970s. In the late 60s or so someone wrote that mental asylums could be practically emptied if metabolic conditions like thyroid and adrenal gland disorders were properly diagnosed and treated. In Victorian times there were no effective treatments and a number of such disorders will lead to mental illness.

          I was considered "mentally" ill--panic disorder-- for over thirty years due to a faulty heart rate. A heart drug gave me a new life seven years ago. I am in the process of starting a foundation to support research to find the physical causes and cures of brain and nervous system disorders. All those years I knew I wasn't crazy but the only emotion I could feel was terror. "Psychiatric" drugs aggravate a heart condition like I have. So I felt a lot of anger and hopelessness for years, studied and planned to improve things and now I can.

          It would be interesting if we could fully understand the "mental" health of Victorian times. For instance the Druitt family seemed to have intergenerational issues. Was there an underlying metabolic disorder? There is so much to be learned but it would be very difficult teasing it out of history.

          Interestingly I had a good friend from England who said a lot of English people have thyroid issues, I think she said due to the chalky soil or something else in the soil. She was from Kent. If that is so, hyper- or hypo-thyroid issues could certainly have added to the "mental" conditions of Victorian England.
          The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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          • #6
            ‘the work was that of an expert- or one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife’.

            This was lifted from the Lancet article and is not a direct quote from Phillips. While he did mention a certain amount of 'anatomical knowledge' in most of the press transcriptions of his inquest testimony, there is no record of him directly describing Annie Chapman's murderer as an 'expert.' -- especially any insinuation that the murderer was in the medical field. Indeed, he was careful to point out that the weapon was likely to not been found in a post-mortem case.


            It was Baxter who ran with this expert idea or even that it could be someone in the medical profession.
            Best Wishes,
            Cris Malone
            ______________________________________________
            "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cris Malone View Post
              ‘the work was that of an expert- or one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife’.

              This was lifted from the Lancet article and is not a direct quote from Phillips. While he did mention a certain amount of 'anatomical knowledge' in most of the press transcriptions of his inquest testimony, there is no record of him directly describing Annie Chapman's murderer as an 'expert.' -- especially any insinuation that the murderer was in the medical field. Indeed, he was careful to point out that the weapon was likely to not been found in a post-mortem case.


              It was Baxter who ran with this expert idea or even that it could be someone in the medical profession.
              I think what was meant about expertise and removing those organs with one sweep of the knife, is that those organs are attached in the abdomen by ligaments. If the ligaments were accurately cut, not ripped or blunt dissected, then the killer was supposed to have some special knowledge.

              This is an interesting thing to think about. I do not think I have ever seen a good discussion about all the various people who might have had such knowledge or if such organ removal could be done intuitively. My first hand knowledge of such matters comes from assisting my veterinary and observing sterilization operations on female animals.

              (I have always supposed the killer could have tugged at the organs and sliced wherever there was resistance. So was "one sweep of the knife" necessary? Plus, he took uteri from victims that had had a number of children so I would suppose those organs would have been larger and more loosely attached than would be found in younger women who had had no or fewer children.)
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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