Venereal Disease, Hospitals, and the Urban Poor ; London's "foul Wards," 1600-1800

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University Rochester Press, 2004 - Medical - 367 pages
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This book explores how London society responded to the dilemma of the rampant spread of the pox among the poor. Some have asserted that public authorities turned their backs on the "foul" and only began to offer care for venereal patients in the Enlightenment. An exploration of hospitals and workhouses shows a much more impressive public health response. London hospitals established "foul wards" at least as early as the mid-sixteenth century. Reconstruction of these wards shows that, far from banning paupers with the pox, hospitals made treating them one of their primary services. Not merely present in hospitals, venereal patients were omnipresent. Yet the "foul" comprised a unique category of patient. The sexual nature of their ailment guaranteed that they would be treated quite differently than all other patients. Class and gender informed patients' experiences in crucial ways. The shameful nature of the disease, and the gendered notion of shame itself, meant that men and women faced quite different circumstances. There emerged a gendered geography of London hospitals as men predominated in fee-charging hospitals, while sick women crowded into workhouses. Patients frequently desired to conceal their infection. This generated innovative services for elite patients who could buy medical privacy by hiring their own doctor. However, the public scrutiny that hospitalization demanded forced poor patients to be creative as they sought access to medical care that they could not afford. Thus, Venereal Disease, Hospitals and the Urban Poor offers new insights on patients' experiences of illness and on London's health care system itself. Kevin Siena is Assistant Professor of History at Trent University.
 

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An amazing book, so thoughtful and deserves an award! Thank you for making this book! I've already read it twice! It has helped me greatly getting my Masters in the history of medicine.

Contents

LIST OF FIGURES
20
The Foul Disease Privacy and
30
The Foul Disease in the Royal Hospitals
62
Watercolor Drawing of a Lock Hospital Patient 1850 22
71
The Eighteenth Century
96
St Bartholomews Hospital I6221760
98
The Foul Disease and the Poor Law
135
Gender Breakdown of Venereal Patients in Four
162
The Foul Disease and Moral Reform?
181
The Lock Hospital
219
Poverty and the Pox in Early Modern London 25 I
251
Notes
267
Bibliography
329
I
361
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