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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, October 1, 1864


The case of Wm. Galloway against C. F. Richards et al., in the Fourth District Court, was brought to a close yesterday evening, the jury, after two hours' absence, returning a verdict for four hundred dollars in favor of the plaintiff. The action was brought to recover damages laid at two thousand five hundred dollars, from defendants, who are druggists, for putting up a prescription in a wrongful manner, thereby causing a temporary injury to plaintiff's health. The verdict took some, who had heard the evidence throughout, by surprise; and a motion will be made on behalf of defendants for a new trial. The truth of the matter is, that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred of these mistakes in putting up prescriptions, the whole blame lies with the prescribing physicians, who, like a majority of lawyers, and many preachers, write a most abominable scrawl, which might be deciphered by a dozen experts as many different ways, and each one sustain his version by the manuscript. When a physician writes the abbreviation of "pulverized cinchona" in such a manner that nine out of ten among experienced pharmacists would, without hesitancy, read it "pulverized cantharides," and damage results from it, if the apothecary is culpable at all, the physician certainly ought to come in for a share of blame. It would be a good thing for the world at large, however unprofessional it might be, if medical men were required by law to write out in full the ingredients named in their prescriptions. Let them adhere to the Latin, or Fejee, if they choose, but discard abbreviations, and form their letters as if they had been to school one day in their lives, so as to avoid the possibility of mistakes on that account.

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