Sickness in the Workhouse
Title Details

312 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

40 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Sickness in the Workhouse

Poor Law Medical Care in Provincial England, 1834-1914

by Alistair Ritch

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Sickness in the Workhouse illuminates the role of workhouse medicine in caring for England's poor, bringing sick paupers from the margins of society and placing them centre stage.
England's New Poor Law (1834) transformed medical care in ways that have long been overlooked, or denigrated, by historians. Sickness in the Workhouse challenges these assumptions through a close examination of two urban workhouses in the west midlands from the passage of the New Poor Law until the outbreak of World War I.

By closely analyzing the day-to-day practice of workhouse doctors and nurses, author Alistair Ritch questions the idea thatmedical care was invariably of poor quality and brought little benefit to patients. Medical staff in the workhouses labored under severe restraints and grappled with the immense health issues facing their patients. Sickness inthe Workhouse brings to life this hidden group of workhouse staff and highlights their significance within the local health economy. Among other things, as the author notes, workhouses needed to provide medical care for nonpaupers, such as institutional isolation facilities for those with infectious diseases. This groundbreaking book highlights these doctors and nurses in order to illuminate our understanding of this significant yet little understoodarea of poor law history.

ALISTAIR RITCH was consultant physician in geriatric medicine, City Hospital, Birmingham, and senior clinical lecturer, University of Birmingham, UK, and is currently honorary research fellow,History of Medicine Unit, University of Birmingham, UK.
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Pauperism and Sickness
From Acute Illness to Chronic Disability
Segregating Fever Patients
Controlling Disorderly Behavior
Day-to-day Doctoring
Medical Therapies
Poor Law Nursing
"Every Care and Kindness": The Standard of Workhouse Medicine
Appendix A: Prevalence of Selected Infectious Diseases in Birmingham Workhouse on the Last Day of the First Week of Each Quarter for the Years 1877-80 and 1894-1911
Appendix B: Medical Relief in Birmingham Workhouse for Selected Weeks, 1851-56
Appendix C: List of Drugs Kept in the Wards of Birmingham Infirmary in 1896
Appendix D: Pauperism Rates and Institutionalization Rates for Birmingham Parish, Wolverhampton Union, and England and Wales, 1840-1911
Bibliography
"A thoroughly researched book packed full of detail, supported by a plentiful supply of table." FACHRS NEWSLETTER
"A welcome addition both to medical history and to studies of the poor law during the long nineteenth century." CERCLES

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9781580469753

01/11/2019

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Title Details

312 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

40 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History

Imprint: University of Rochester Press