Dr. Benjamin Rush

 During the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Benjamin Rush was the best physician in America. At only fifteen years of age, Rush graduated from college and served as a medical apprentice to a leading Philadelphia physician for the next five years. After his apprenticeship, Rush traveled to Edinburgh to studied under a renowned medical teacher, William Cullen. Rush returned to Philadelphia in 1769 at the age of twenty-two after graduating and completing his thesis on the digestion of food. He recieved a professorship of chemsitry at the college of Philadelphia. Very quickly, Rush became very prominent as he spoke and wrote about nearly every medical, social, or political matter. During his life, Rush studied yellow fever, sought to improve the poor's health care, and studied mental illness, for which he is named the "Father of American psychiatry." As well as being a doctor, he also advocated the restriction of alcohol and tobacco, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. He was also very active politically in the revolution against Great Britain. Rush also helped Thomas Paine write Common Sense and also signed the Declaration of Independence. Even though Rush could never convince Thomas Jefferson of the quality of physician's health ways were good, him and Jefferson were good friends.

Rush's Pills
Benjamin Rush's pills were included on the trip, totaling over 50 dozen of them. They were commonly known as "Thunderclappers" and were made up of calomel (mercury chloride) and jalap (medicine made from roots) to make a explosive cathartic, or laxative. This medicine was thought to get rid of any "morbid" elements present in the blood. These pills were used to treat malaria, arsenic poisoning, pleurisy, and dysentery on the expedition. This medicine released mercury, a toxic element used in thermometers, into the blood stream, risking the long term health of the explorers.