July 31, 2010

Epiglottitis Killed President George Washington?

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

1 comment:

CH66 said...

I just got back from Mount Vernon, and as a physician, the description of his agonizing last days intrigued me. It sounded first like a cold with a sore throats but then rapidly progressed to what sounded like eppiglottitis. In the elderly (>65), especially in a debilitated state (he had malaria and tuberculosis, two then incurable diseases already), plus the acute shock of being out in wet winter weather (30 degrees and snowing 3 inches for five hours), in addition to being bled of 5 pints of blood was plenty enough to explain getting Hib with early flu and pharyngitis symptoms rapidly progressing to epiglottitis and death. Since there's no record of him being exposed to anyone sick prior to coming down with it, my suspicion is that he was a carrier of Hib just waiting for the opportune time to overwhelm the poor man's weakened immune system. It's very likely that had the 3 docs who took care of him back then had all our modern antibiotics available to them, he would have died anyway. Providence, it seems, had his death date in mind just as surely as Providence had protected him from death during the prior wars.

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