French Healthcare in 1854

Windows into History

hoteldieuSnippets 134.  The oldest hospital in Paris is the Hotel-Dieu, founded in 651. Visiting the hospital in 1854, the American Rev. George Foxcroft Haskins was extremely impressed with what he found, and compared it favourably with American health care at the time. He wrote about his experiences in Travels in England, France, Italy and Ireland, published in 1856.

A poor man, of whatever country or creed, is taken sick in Paris. When notice is given, he is placed on a litter and taken to the door of the hospital. He is immediately received and examined by one of the resident physicians, and by him ordered to be washed and properly dressed, and then placed in a ward designated by him. These wards are models of cleanliness and ventilation. He is committed to the care of a Sister of Charity, who becomes to him at once a mother, lavishing…

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