Monday, February 05, 2007

The Urine Doctor of Warren, Maine

Dr. Lambricht of Warren was either utterly brilliant or utterly insane.
Urine Doctor.—As the inhabitants have sometimes consulted physicians in the neighboring towns, it may perhaps be excusable to insert two extracts from letters respecting a doctor who in his day probably was as much celebrated as any man ever was in the vicinity. The first extract is dated Nov. 18, 1819:

"A German urine-doctor has lately come from Virginia to Warren. The people flock to him by hundreds; his house has been so thronged that some days he could not attend to half the applicants. It has been reported, that he had an hundred people under his care at the same time. Samuel Bennet died at his house. The body was brought to this town, and opened by Drs. Sibley and Harding, to find a great worm which the learned doctor said was in him; but none was to be found. The fellow says Micajah Gleason has a worm as many feet long as Gleason is years old, and that the worm adds one foot to its length every year. He says Gleason has not got asthma. He says he shall certainly cure Mr. Gleason, if he can obtain the aid of a seventh son."

The second extract is from a letter dated March 12, 1820:—
"Dr. Lambricht, of Warren, has buried his wife and both his children. Some of the people think he poisoned them. A jury of inquest was had on one of the bodies; but no discoveries were made. His house is continually thronged with people, some with bottles of urine, some with lame legs, and others with diseased livers, rotten lungs, and crazy brains. His practice extends more than fifty miles, and I think I might say more than an hundred. Many of his patients have died, and several at his own house. He is so much engaged in business that many people have to call several times before they can have their urine inspected. I hear he has a box or barrel, in which he keeps salts and brimstone pounded together, and feeds all his patients from the same mess. Some are directed to take it in brandy, and some in rum, and others in different ways; but those who have diseased livers must swallow it dry, so that it may adhere to the liver and heal it. He called Dr. Brown [of Waldoborough] a fool, and says the physicians in this country ought to be hung for their ignorance. He says in Germany there were several hundred men appointed to translate the Bible; and, after they had finished the work, they submitted it to him to see if it had been correctly done. Public opinion seems to be divided concerning him: while some call him a great physician, others say he kills a great many and cures none." [A History of the Town of Union, p. 324]

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