Medical snippets #4: Too great a plethory

‘For we think that no man may be infected with the Plague, so long as the Natural consistency of his blood is preserved: We assert this the more freely, because we see the blood in all persons infected with the Plague to be altered, and obtain a far more fluid consistency: So that if sometimes by chance, Negligence, Ignorance, or any other urging Cause; as for example, too great a Plethory, spitting of blood bringing a present danger to Life, let a Vein be opened, the blood flowing out although refrigerated; nevertheless, is in no wise coagulated, neither can it acquire a due consistency, even as sometimes is wont to happen to the animal Spirits, being loosed from their Fetters, and dissipated from the acidity existing in the blood, wherefore also such a blood by divers Practitioners is called putrid.’

Reinier de Graaf, De succo pancreatico: or, A physical and anatomical treatise of the nature and office of the pancreatick juice; shewing its generation in the body, what diseases arise by its vitiation : from whence in particular, by plain and familiar examples, is accurately demonstrated, the causes and cures of agues, or intermitting feavers, hitherto so difficult and uncertain, with sundry other things of worthy note (1676)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 905 d 10 (5)