Public and Private in 18th-Century Hospitals

Maria Sjöberg, University of Gothenburg

The paper will analyze the tension between private and public within so-called public institutions. The formally employed were few and initially the healthcare provided was solely in the hands of male physicians, who at the same time also ran a private practice. However, donation documents, verifications, minutes, and annual reports show that matters of daily upkeep and basic medical supplies involved several private actors, men and women sold goods and services on contracts. Thus, hospitals embrace a medical market at the same time they housed private residences. The few beds, intended for poor sick, suggest that the hospitals would also fulfil other functions, teaching and developing new treatment methods. This is possible to trace in preserved patient journals in which the diagnoses, treatments, where the patients came from and what their pecuniary status was, etc., are to some extent noted. Thus, the first hospitals were a mixture of private and public interests and actors.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 75. Health in Institutional Settings