Pills, Shocks and Jabs

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A pioneer in jabs against the deadly smallpox pandemic of the 1700s; a “madhouse” doctor who reformed brutal treatment of the mentally ill; a male midwife with a sideline in painting exquisite watercolours; an amateur GP who dispensed pills free of charge and treated disease with electric shocks. All were prominent doctors in Georgian Bristol - and all were Quakers.

These religious dissenters were inspired by a shared moral code, desire to help the sick and needy and a lively interest in new scientific ideas. Forming their own distinctive community and social life, the Quakers faced prejudice among employers and the wider public alike.

Pills, Shocks & Jabs reveals how close personal links with each other enabled talented individuals from a tiny religious minority to flourish in medicine. The book also draws parallels with the modern global battle against the coronavirus.


160 pages

Publisher: Bristol Books

ISBN: 978-1909446298