Benjamin Gooch's family and medical history in Norfolk.

Takeheart Health Check       [Benjamin Gooch]

Benjamin Gooch, Surgeon 1708-1776 Shottesham, Norfolk, England

His Illnesses
Ironically Benjamin Gooch suffered torments from urinary stones after removing hundreds in his days as a surgeon. He describes the pain, bleeding and exhaustion they caused him in letters to his great friend Messenger Monsey. He speaks of his gratitude to William Fellowes for the loan of his invalid sister's special coach by means of which he was able to travel between his daughter and son-in-law's house in Halesworth. He says how much the pain was relieved as a result of being able to travel lying on a bed instead of riding on horseback. This earned Fellowes his undieing gratitude.

To ease the pain he visited the hot baths at Bath where he could relax and soothe the pain away by sitting in different temperatures of water. "The proper degree of heat for baths and fomentations is that which gives a pleasant sensation of warmth to the parts, as it relaxes them and fuses the sluggish hot matter putting it in a condition to be propelled by the action of the solids. They will have quite contrary effects if the heat be intense and give pain. I have found a vapour bath very efficacious in releasing rigid fibres. For limbs obstinately rigid and contracted nothing is so efficacious as having the water of natural tepid baths pumped upon them, using proper relaxing embrocations immediately after, gently moving and extending the limb at the same time; for such motion is absolutely necessary to accomplish the point in view under these circumstances. I know the happy effect of such waters by experience in my own case, which required my going twice to Bath."

At Bath Gooch was cared for by Mr Pierce "whose character out of his profession is equal to his eminence in it, has laid me under the greatest obligations. His tender care of me there, in a heavy affliction many years ago, and his continued friendship ever since I can never forget."

Gooch recommended Pierce to his patients. "One of them was the late Duke of Portland. Upon his slipping his servant caught him before he came to the ground, and his surgeon from the manner by which the accident happened pronounced it only a strain. Nine months after when he sought relief at Bath Mr Pierce found he wanted four inches of its natural length, having a very exuberant callus about the joint."

"In consequence of an unfortunate and inforeseen incident (he fell off his horse) which brought my life into most imminent danger, I was obliged to retire from business between two and three years". He describes how he again went to Bath for treatment: "I was obliged to go to Bath twice on account of a lameness upon my ankle, and I found by experience that this operation quickened my pulse and made me hotter than bathing in water of an equal degree of heat in the same space of time".
"These waters proved so efficacious, after various other means had afforded me no relief, as to restore the use of my limb, when it was become quite useless and attended with great pain upon the least motion, in consequence of gouty matter falling upon the joint, after a violent injury received by a fall from my horse many months before".

Gooch died on the 11th February 1776 and was buried in Shotesham churchyard.

Norfolk & Norwich Hospital Early Days
Gooch's Handwriting - A primary source
His Family
Messenger Monsey

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