William Hunter recommended Blane as private physician to Admiral Rodney; Blane sailed with him to the W. Indies and became physician to the British Fleet. He was held in great esteem in the navy and was instrumental in effecting improvements in living conditions among seamen. He strongly supported Lind’s views on scurvy. In 1799 he made recommendations which formed the basis of the Quarantine Act of that year. Later he became physician to St. Thomas’s Hospital. With Lind he stands predominant in the history of naval medicine.
Although Blane added nothing to the knowledge on scurvy, he demonstrated the value of fresh lemons, limes, and oranges; through his influence the issue of lemon juice in the British Navy was ordered in 1795, after which scurvy soon disappeared. Blane’s extreme coldness of manner earned him the nickname “Chilblain”.