Silas Weir Mitchell (1829–1914) was an American physician, scientist, novelist, and poet. Considered the father of medical neurology, he discovered causalgia (complex regional pain syndrome) and erythromelalgia.
Born in Philadelphia, Mitchell studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson Medical College (now part of Thomas Jefferson University.) After a year in Paris specializing in neurology, he served as a surgeon in the Union army in the Civil War. He also initiated the rest cure (also called “bed rest,”) a remedial treatment wherein a person lies in bed for most of the time to try to cure sickness. After the war, he specialized in nervous diseases and was a pioneer in applying psychology to medicine.
In addition to poems, Mitchell published numerous novels of psychology and historical romance, including Roland Blake (1886,) Hugh Wynne (1898,) The Adventures of François (1898,) and Circumstance (1901.) He also wrote medical texts, including Injuries of Nerves (1872) and Fat and Blood (1877.)