University of Tasmania
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Bleeding, blistering and observations of the bowel : a comparative analysis of hospital treatment in the mid-nineteenth century

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posted on 2023-05-26, 00:12 authored by Kamphuis, AR
Contributions to the extensive array of research on nineteenth-century medical history must surmount stereotyped images by placing emphasis not so much on the achievements of doctors or the acquisition of knowledge, but on the events and issues important to those experiencing life within the institutions ‚Äö- the patients themselves. Using the experiences of patients recorded in medical case histories, this thesis provides a comparison of care provided to inmates both before and after death at three very different nineteenth-century hospitals ‚Äö- the New Norfolk Hospital, located in rural Van Diemen‚ÄövÑvºs Land, the Royal Naval Hospital, set in the isolated location of Bermuda, and St Bartholomew‚ÄövÑvºs Hospital, situated in the bustling metropolis of London. By examining the traditional perceptions of medical institutions and their staff through the filter of inmates‚ÄövÑvº own experiences, it explores the evolving role of the patient in an increasingly medicalised society. Through an examination of the physical environments of each of these institutions, and the methods of diagnosis and treatment utilised within them, this thesis dispels the notion that advancement originated in urban centres of learning and gradually seeped out to colonial peripheries. Indeed, the innovative research and treatment delivered by colonial surgeons in response to the peculiar nature of the convict state demonstrates that patients at New Norfolk Hospital benefited from the practical implementation of developments and advances in medical science which were transforming the wider provision of medical care in the period 1830-1850.


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