Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/490

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


486 TEE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

through the windows and the seating of convalescent patients in the sun. The beds were separated by low, wooden partitions which were portable, making the alcoved recesses part of one large hall at will, so that when mass was celebrated in the center of the building the altar was visible from all parts of the ward.

Mr. Arthur Dillon, an architect, whose scholarly article on this hospital appeared in 1904, says of its construction :

It was an admirable hospital in every way, and it is doubtful if we to-day surpass it. It was isolated, the ward separated from the other buildings, it had the advantage we so often lose of being one story high, and more space was afforded each patient than we can afford.

Now as to the management of these medieval hospitals. In the monasteries the superintendency was in the hands of the abbot or prior and the institution was subject to monastic rule. Even in the privately endowed hospitals practically all the hospital attendants were members of some religious community. How well these communities did their work and with what real humanitarian zeal is attested by Virchow. 10

In the military orders, the knights called their chief administrative officer commander; in the city hospitals this officer was called magister or rector. The rector was appointed by the bishop, the municipality or the patron. Laymen were eligible for this position and in many legacies lay control was stipulated as a condition. This rector was obliged to take inventories, render and keep accounts, act as trustee for hospital property and frequently to receive and assign patients.

Usually the attendants were males, although in some hospitals male nurses had charge of surgical cases, while females conducted the ob- stetric and children's wards. Board and clothing were provided these nurses, but no salary. Details of dress, food and recreation were rigidly prescribed, with appropriate penalties for infractions of the rules.

Patients were admitted from all classes and beliefs without quali- fication, and once admitted the patient was treated as a master of the house, " quasi dominum secundum posse domus," to quote literally from the regulations. He was bathed, his ills attended to, and if a Christian was confessed by the chaplain.

The regulations specified that the sick should never be left unat- tended, that nurses should be on duty at all hours of the day and night, and that patients dangerously ill should be removed from public wards to a private room. Santo Maria Nuova, at Florence, had a separate ward for delirious patients, and maternity cases were attended in a separate pavilion and kept in the hospital for three weeks after delivery. Sound hygiene is evidenced in numerous regulations concerning changes of bedding, ventilation, and heating by stoves and braziers.

10 ' ' Gesammelte Abhandlungen aus dem Gebeite der "Offentlichen Medecin und der Seuchenlehre, " von Eudolph Virchow, Berlin, 1879, tr. in "The Popes and Science," Jas. J. Walsh, Fordham University Press, 1911, pp. 256, 263.

�� �