James Lind

1716 - 1794

James Lind
©2023 Gazetteer for Scotland

James Lind

Naval physician. Born in Edinburgh. Lind undertook what may be the world's first clinical trials in an attempt to prevent scurvy, which was a major problem amongst sailors at sea due to the lack of fresh food. He suspected the cause was dietary deficiency (we now know it is due to a lack of Vitamin C), recognised that it was more common in the British navy than with the Spanish and French and rediscovered that citrus fruits were an effective preventative. While this had been known in the preceding century, the link had been forgotten. He ensured that the British Admiralty systematically applied knowledge of the importance of fresh food, while also arguing that sailor's health could be improved by cleanliness. Lind was a founding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783 and maintained a house in the New Town. His last position was as Senior Physician at Haslar Naval Hospital in Gosport, retiring in 1783. He died in Gosport and lies buried in Portchester. He is commemorated by a plaque in the Medical School of the University of Edinburgh, where he studied.

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