Case Number 74

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


This case is a lively example of the clinical encounter in Song China. Xu Shuwei presents the symptoms and his proposed treatment. He is not alone on this scene. Another doctor suggests a different treatment, which is the one the patient takes. When it did not have the desired effect, this physician adjusts the medication, obtaining the desired bowel movement. Subsequently, this physician boasts to Xu that the treatment the latter proposed was not the correct one. Xu, in turn, replies that treating symptoms without anticipating the long-term health of the patient is disastrous. This case, like many others, portrays the clinical scene as an adversarial stage on which doctors compete, and the patient chooses. In this account as in the others, erudition—a qualification in which Xu excels—decides who wins. In the end, the other doctor’s treatment did not last and the disorder reappeared, afterwhich the patient calls on Xu to receive the correct treatment.


Other Sources:

  1. Bensky, Dan, Steven Clavey, and Erich Stöger. 2004. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia medica. 3rd ed. Seattle: Eastland Press.Google Scholar
  2. Hucker, Charles O. 1985. A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Mitchell, Craig, Feng Ye, and Nigel Wiseman. 1999. Shang Han Lun (On Cold Damage); Translation and Commentaries. Brookline, MA: Paradigm Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Scheid, Volker, Dan Bensky, Andrew Ellis, and Randall Barolet. 2009. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies. Seattle: Eastland Press.Google Scholar
  5. Yu, Bohai 于伯海, et. al. 1997. Shanghan jinkui wenbing mingzhu jicheng 伤寒金匮温病名著集成 [Collected Famous Works on Cold Damage, Golden Casket, and Febrile Disorders]. Beijing, Huaxia chubanshe.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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