James Carmichael Smyth (physician)

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This article concerns the Scottish physician. For his son, the colonial administrator, see Sir James Carmichael Smyth, 1st Baronet
James Carmichael Smyth c. 1803

James Carmichael Smyth, FRS (1741 – 18 June 1821) was a Scottish physician and medical writer. He was born in Fife, Scotland, as James Carmichael, the only son of Thomas Carmichael of Balmedie and Margaret Smyth of Athenry. He later added his mother's surname to his own and graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from Edinburgh University in 1764. Appointed physician to the Middlesex Hospital in 1768, he discovered a method for the prevention of contagion in cases of fever using nitrous acid gas, and wrote several treatises on this subject and on other medical matters. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1779, and was voted the sum of £5000 by Parliament in 1802 for his work. He was also one of the physicians to King George III, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

His eldest son, James, initially an officer in the Royal Engineers and later Governor of the Bahamas and British Guiana, was created a baronet in 1821. A younger son, Henry, was stepfather to William Makepeace Thackeray.[1]