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William Withering (1741–99) was born into a family of physicians in Shropshire. His father was a successful physician at Wellington, and his maternal grandfather had delivered Samuel Johnson. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh (1766), went into practice in Stafford, near Wellington, and then moved to a consultant post in Birmingham. In 1766 he published a monograph on the flora of Great Britain and at about the same time began using foxglove (folk's glove, fairies' glove, or ladies' thimbles) for the treatment of dropsy. Digitalisation had come to stay.
He died of tuberculosis and is buried in a vault at Edgbaston Church. At his death a pun announced “The flower of English medicine is Withering”.