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Hospital Life

Theory and Practice from the Medieval to the Modern

Edited By Laurinda Abreu and Sally Sheard

This edited volume originates in the 2011 conference of the International Network for the History of Hospitals, held in Lisbon and Évora, Portugal. It focuses on how institutions for the care and cure of the sick have organised their activities at every level, from the delegation of medical treatments between groups of practitioners, to the provision of food and supplies and the impact of convalescence on lengths of hospital stays. It draws on new European and North American research which highlights an area of medical history that has not yet had adequate, sustained attention, discussing the tensions between theory and practice and between patients and practitioners. Through detailed case studies and comparative analyses it explores the changing and evolving understanding of the function of hospitals, and their wider relationships with their communities.


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Anne Løkke Conspicuous Consumption: The Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen in the late Eighteent


Anne Løkke Conspicuous Consumption: The Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen in the late Eighteenth Century The honourable royal counsellor, Count Knuth, wrote in April 1802 to the Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen, to ask if the hospital would receive his married daughter, the Countess Stolberg, to give birth in the Lady Chambers at the hospital. The response was positive on these con- ditions: that visitors should only stay during daytime and pay for their own refreshments and that the baptism should take place at the hospital. The countess gave birth in July duly followed by baptism with the most distinguished godparents.1 For historians knowing the bad reputation the nineteenth century European lying-in hospitals had earned for themselves, it is surprising to meet a married countess giving birth here.2 In the late eighteenth century however, the Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen had an excellent reputation. Trainee obstetricians from all over Europe came to see for themselves one of the successful lying-in hospitals in Europe and Countess Stolberg was not the only married woman of high rank who was eager to give birth there, attended by the royal birth attendants, even if the main purpose of the hospital was to provide a discreet birthplace free of charge to desperate unwed women, who could otherwise be tempted to infanticide.3 1 Emmerik Ingerslev, Den Kgl. Fødsels- og Plejestiftelse, 1800–1849; et Bidrag til Fødselshjaelpens Historie i Danmark i dette Tidsrum (København: J. Frimodts Forlag, 1915), 11. 2 Irvine Loudon, The...

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