If Samuel Jessop was alive today, then it would’ve spelt disaster for the National Health Service, or any medical insurance company.
On 17th May, 1817, Samuel Jessop died at his home in Heckington, Lincolnshire. His passing was widely reported in the press, not because of any suspicious circumstances nor suspicions of suicide or murder, but as a result of his well known proclivity for pills.
Born in 1752, Jessop was a hypochondriac (a person who is abnormally anxious about their health). He was unmarried and had no relatives.
In his later years, he devoted most of his time to protecting his ‘delicate’ health, dosing himself with remedies of all kinds.
Between 1795 to 1816, his apothecary (a person who prepared and sold medicines and drugs) supplies him with 226934 pills-an average of 10,806 a year. That would be 29 pills per day!
His best year was 1814, when he swallowed 51,590 pills and consumed 40,000 bottles of medicine.
At half-past two o’clock in the morning, I take two spoonfuls and a half of jalap, and then a quantity of electuary; then I sleep till seven, and repeat the dose of both jalap and electuary: at nine o’clock I take fourteen pills of No. 9, and eleven pills of No. 10, to whet my appetite for breakfast; at breakfast I eat a basin of milk; at eleven, I have an acid and alkali mixture: afterwards I have a bolus: and at nine at night I have an anodyne mixture, and go to sleep.
-Jessop’s description of his daily routine (Untold lives blog)
In spite of this massive medical intake, or, some would say, perhaps even because of it, Samuel Jessop survived till he was 65.