top of page

Historical Event

Copy URL to Share


September 29, 1800

Short Description:




Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 1.31.54 AM.png

Dr Bardsley explains his third case of diabetes in which the animal-diet helped the patient named Thomas Kay. "His diet was again ordered to be restricted to animal food"





Medical reports of cases and experiments, with observations, chiefly derived from hospital practice: to which are added, an enquiry into the origin of canine madness; and thoughts on a plan for its extirpation from the British isles


Important Text:

Case III. Thomas Kay, age 24

Admitted an In-Patient, September 29, 1800.

Complains of great thirst, weakness in his loins, and an incessant inclination to make water, which is of a light colour, and very sweet taste. He first discovered the latter quality about four months ago, when being urged by extreme thirst in the night, he drank copiously of his urine, which practice he has since occasionally repeated.

His appetite is generally very voracious, and when he can indulge his inclination, he eats until the stomach is often obliged to disgorge its contents. What he throws up varies in taste and smell ; being sometimes sweet, but more frequently of a pungent acid taste, and odor. The saliva is white and frothy; the mouth peculiarly clammy ; he has a sour taste, and the corners of his lips are covered with fur. The heat in his bowels is frequently distressing, and to use his own expression, "they seem at times burned up." His skin is dry and shriveled, and he seldom perspires.

Pulse 80 ; his figure is lean and gaunt, his complexion sallow, and he has a dejected air. He enjoyed a tolerable state of health till within the last twelve months ; and attributes his present malady to a frequent exposure to wet and cold, and a habit of drinking spirits. He has frequently, when intoxicated, laid out all night in the open fields. His occupations have been various, but of late he has been employed as a laborer to bricklayers. Upon examination, he was found to be afflicted with a painful phimosis. He had never measured the quantity of his urine for any given time, but thinks it must amount to some gallons in 24 hours. This being considered as an undoubted instance of Diabetes Mellitus, under its most aggravated form, an accurate register of the liquid ingesta and egesta, was ordered to be kept, and every material circumstance, connected with the progress, and treatment of the malady, to be carefully noted down. From these documents, the following abridged statement is copied.

September 30th. One pint of urine yielded by evaporation, two ounces and one drachm of a thick sweet syrup, of the colour and consistency of treacle.

In the last twenty-four hours, he has passed thirteen pints of urine, and drank twelve of liquids. The urine is of a whitish colour, sweet to the taste, smells like wort, and exhibits air bubbles on the surface. This decrease in the quantity of urine, compared with what he had usually passed in the same time, he attributed to his being abridged by the nurse(from mistake) in the indulgence of his appetite for liquids.

He was directed to pursue a strict plan of animal diet, consisting of cold fat meat, with beef-tea; and to use daily, one drachm of the nitric acid, diluted with a sufficient quantity of water, as a part of his common beverage. To take five grains of rhubarb, and one of opium, each night.

A remarkable increase in the quantity of urine, and an aggravation of some of the most distressing symptoms, led to an inquiry as to the patient's strict adherence to the plan of animal diet; when it was found, that for three evenings past, he had, by a mistake of the nurse, been indulged in a liberal allowance of bread and cheese for supper, instead of cold meat.

This error was ordered to be rectified, and the greatest attention enjoined, to confine the patient in the future, solely to animal food; medicines and acid drink to be repeated.

October 8-13th.

October 10th - Urine 13 pints, Drink: 12 pints

October 11th - Urine 8 pints, Drink: 9 pints

October 12th - Urine 8 pints, Drink: 9 pints

October 13th - Urine 8 pints, Drink: 9 pints

This diminution in the quantity of urine (as appears from the register) was accompanied with a mitigation of the thirst, internal sense of heat, and stricture of the skin.

He has suffered little disturbance in the night, and finds his strength recruiting, but his urine has not quite acquired its natural smell and taste. Pulse 80, one pound of urine, yielded, by evaporation, one ounce and seven drachms of a thick tenacious extract, not quite so sweet nor so fluid as the last, and less in quantity by one drachm and a half.

As he complained of griping, and soreness of the mouth and gums, from the use of the acid ; he was ordered to be laid aside, and the rest of the plan to be continued.

October 12-20th 

In this interval no material change has occurred; except that on the average, the daily quantity of liquid egesta, rather exceeds that of the liquid ingesta. He has never passed more than eleven pints of urine, nor less than eight in twenty-four hours. On one day, this discharge exceeded, by two pints, the liquids taken in. He complains of a tickling cough, and flight pains in the chest; to appease which, he was ordered an oily linctus, and a warm stimulating plaster.

Pulse 68, urine more natural. Prescribed for daily consumption, one drachm of Kali-sulphuratum, in two pints of soft water. Regimen and opiate to be continued.

October 23rd. 

He was attacked with a violent colic, attended with rigor, which was succeeded by a hot fit. After clearing the stomach, he took a carminative opening mixture, which was ordered to be repeated, with or without an opiate, according to circumstances.

He soon obtained relief, but has suffered, every other, or third day, in a slight degree, from griping pains in his bowels, which have been always mitigated by the carminative mixture. The disorder in his bowels has generally come on after a full meal.

The quantities of urine and drink, have born nearly a relative proportion to each other-; nine pints and a half form the highest, and seven pints and a half, the lowest amount of urine in twenty-four hours.

October 27th

An augmentation was noticed of nearly two pints in the quantity of urine, compared with that of the preceding twenty-four hours. On being interrogated by the House-Surgeon, who suspected some irregularity on account of the change which had taken place, both in the quantity, and sensible qualities of the urine, the patient freely confessed, that he had seized an opportunity to indulge privately in bread and cheese for supper. He has been admonished of his faults and seems determined to act with more discretion) in future.

October 31st — November 12th,

November 9th.

Pulse 76. Obtained, by evaporating one pound of urine, an ounce and five drachms of a thick residuum, of a mixed saccharine and urinary taste and smell; but the latter rather predominated.

The register affords nearly the same result as the last report, except that within the last four days the urine and drink have diminished to seven pints and a half; but the latter is still rather sweet. He gains but little strength and flesh, and complains of weariness and general debility. On the 2d. he began to take a bolus, composed of half a drachm of Kali sulphuratum, and ginger, thrice in the day ; and as he suffered from pain in the lumbar region, blisters were applied over each kidney, and the blistered parts ordered to be kept open. This plan was continued till the 10th. when, on account of the nausea excited by the Kali sulphuratum, and the stationary point of debility, at which the patient remained, notwithstanding the removal of the most formidable of the diabetic symptoms, an infusion of bark in lime water was substituted for the solution, and alum and gum kino were added to his opiate at bed time.

November 12th —20th.

 The urine is scarcely, if at all, sweet; and has varied little since the I2th, either in quality, or quantity. The average amount may be reckoned at eight pints each twenty-four hours. His appetite is fickle, and for the most part puny; the clamminess and sour taste in the mouth have disappeared; the patient has been allowed a small portion of toasted bread at his dinner, without any increase of the diabetic symptoms. He has for two or three days past complained of a fixed dull pain in the back, underneath the right shoulder-blade, to which a warm plaster was applied.

November 20th – December 10th.

Continued the medicines, and the regimen. The pain under the shoulder, having gradually increased, and a tumor appearing; surgical aid was requested. The Surgeon gave it as his opinion, that an abscess was forming, and treated the patient accordingly. The urine has remained stationary in quantity and quality. He has been troubled with flying pains in his knees and ankles ; for the relief of which, a stimulant liniment was ordered. On the 9th, he had transient chills and flushings, with a regular febrile paroxysm in the evening, which, together with the increased size of the tumor, sufficiently indicated the formation of matter. Under these circumstances, it was thought necessary to change his diet; milk was allowed for breakfast, and supper, and the common broths of the house, with animal food at dinner. The bark, and anodyne to be continued.

December 12th — January 1st. 1801

The symptoms have been nearly stationary within this period. The discharge of urine has been reduced, at times, to five pints within twenty four hours, but the average quantity may be reckoned at seven pints. It is improved, both in natural colour, and smell; but the patient says it has acquired a sweeter taste, since vegetable diet was entered upon. The tumor, having pointed outwards, was opened by the Surgeon, and discharged a considerable quantity of laudable pus. The bark, with Vitriolic acid, and a mixture of vegetable, with animal food were continued.

Pulse 80, soft and regular. His countenance, and general appearance, rather improved; notwithstanding the discharge from the abscess was considerable. The excoriation, and swelling of the prepuce, are nearly gone, and the pain in his loins, and sense of internal heat, are very little troublesome. He does not appear to have gained flesh ; but his spirits are good, and he expresses a full confidence of his recovery.

January 1st — February 1st. 1801

The report of this month has varied more than the last. The register points out as much as eleven pints of urine, in twenty four hours; and the average quantity may be estimated at eight pints.

The abscess is not yet healed, but the discharge daily decreases. The bowels are with difficulty kept open, and his evening feverish paroxysms, attended with a short dry cough, have been constant and troublesome. Ordered to wear a flannel waistcoat, and to take opiates, with mucilaginous pectorals. The other medicines to be continued. On the 18th, one pint of urine afforded one ounce and six drachms of an extract, nearly resembling the last; except that there was rather more sweetness, both to the smell and taste. His diet was again ordered to be restricted to animal food; but this was found difficult to accomplish, not only on account of the patient haying been for some time past indulged in the agreeable article of vegetable diet, but also from the persuasion he entertained of his being already cured of his ordinal disorder.

February 1st. — 16th. The patient has remained nearly stationary. His urine is natural, in appearance and smell, though (in his own opinion) rather sweet: The average quantity amounts to nine pints in a day/ yet his thirst, heat, and dyspepsia are all abated. His strength is certainly increasing, the skin feels more soft and natural, and his visage is less sallow and dejected. The cough is troublesome occasionally, but without any fixed pain in the side, or purulent expectoration; yet, notwithstanding these favorable changes, his bulk is little, if any increased. His impatience to quit the infirmary, in order to complete (what he considers to be) his cure, among his friends in the country: and his increasing aversion to any restriction of diet, have led to a compliance with his wishes; and he was accordingly discharged, relieved, on February the 16th.


This appears to be a decisive and aggravated instance of diabetes mellitus. The sweet taste and smell, and profuse discharge of the urine, thirst, dry skin, voracious appetite, and wasting of the body, with hectic fever, (all which symptoms were apparent in this patient's case) are sufficient indications of the nature of the disease. An indulgence in spirituous liquors, and exposure to hard fare, cold and moisture, seem to have operated as remote causes in the production both of Piggin's and Kay's disorder. The efficacy of animal diet, in mitigating the patient's diabetic symptoms, is sufficiently evident; and it is probable, if this case had not been complicated with a pulmonic affection, and the formation of a large abscess under the shoulder, that its termination would have been successful. For the hectic fever arising from these latter causes, contributed greatly to the patient's extreme emaciation and exhausted strength. It may therefore be presumed that the slight remains of the diabetic affection would have given way ; provided the patient had strictly persisted in his regimen and diet. Indeed the changes which so remarkably followed every irregularity in the plan of abstinence from vegetable food ( especially in the first stages of the treatment of the disorder) sufficiently point out the necessity of a strict adherence to this essential part of the method of cure. The quantity of solid matter carried off by this patient's urine is very extraordinary. It amounted, in the first experiment, to two ounces and thirty grains, troy weight, from one pint (wine measure) of the fluid. This is nearly the largest quantity ever before collected by a similar experiment on diabetic urine; at least in all the cases hitherto published, which have come to my knowledge, there is but one instance of more than two ounces of extractive matter having been obtained from one pint of urine ; but the medium quantity in even very aggravated cases of diabetes mellitus, may be fairly estimated at not more than ten drachms of solid extract. The gross ignorance of this patient, joined to his habit of self indulgence, rendered it highly necessary to keep a constant watch upon his conduct; but in spite of every precaution, I believe he succeeded too often latterly, in eluding the vigilance of the man-nurse, and house apothecary. He was strongly urged, and he promised a compliance with the request, to send occasional information of the state of his health; but since he left the infirmary, and went into a distant county, no account from him has been received ; and consequently the termination of his complaint, although most likely to be unfavorable, cannot be ascertained.

Topics: (click image to open)

A doctor or medical professional who studies or promotes exclusive meat diets
The harm of eating carbohydrates.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Carnivore Diet
The carnivore diet involves eating only animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, marrow, meat broths, organs. There are little to no plants in the diet.
Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet involves eating high fat, low carbs, and moderate protein. To be in ketosis, one must eat less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
bottom of page