Case Number 19

  • Asaf Goldschmidt
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 54)


This case presents some of the problems a Song-dynasty physician confronted when dealing with his patients. Xu presents the patient’s symptoms and provides a clear-cut diagnosis of the condition. However, a member of the patient’s household claims that the same diagnosis was made previously, and that the prescription did not help and even exacerbated the sweating. Xu claims that this cannot be correct, but the patient’s relatives insist that it is. Xu then asked them what the prescription’s ingredients were. He explains to the patient and his relatives that they are talking about two distinct prescriptions with quite different effects. Once he prepares the correct prescription and administers it, the patient recovers. This case, like many others in the collection, shows that the power to accept or reject the doctor’s decision remained in the patient’s or the patient’s family hands. The doctor had to convince them that the diagnosis and treatment he suggests are correct and appropriate. As in many other case records, Xu discusses the incorrect prescription to stress the incompetence of other physicians as well as to stress the main differentiating symptom in the diagnosis of this case.


Primary Sources in East Asian Languages Before 1900

  1. Songben shanghanlun jiaozhu 宋本傷寒論校注. Annotation by, Zhu Youwu 朱佑武. Changsha: Hunan kexue jishu chubanshe, 1982.Google Scholar

Other Sources:

  1. Li, Jushuang 李具双 2006. “Differentiating the Authenticity of Benshi fang xuji” (Benshi fang xuji bianwei 《本事方续集》辨伪. Zhongyi wenxian zazhi, 1:29–30Google Scholar
  2. Scheid, Volker, Dan Bensky, Andrew Ellis, and Randall Barolet. 2009. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies. Seattle: Eastland Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asaf Goldschmidt
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of East Asian StudiesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Visiting ProfessorRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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