Mort Mather Author Writer Organic Farmer Philosopher Thinker Restauranteur

How to improve your life and save the world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Healthcare in the Dark Ages

The following is quoted from The Age of Faith, Volume IV of The Story of Civilization by Will Durant (1949). I hope you find it as amusing as I did.
“Several important treatises, covering nearly all branches of medicine, have reached us from the School of Salerno [12th century]. One, by Archimatheus, prescribes the proper bedside manner: the physician must always regard the patient’s condition as grave, so that a fatal end may not disgrace him, and a cure may add another marvel to his fame; he should not flirt with the patient’s wife, daughter, or maidservant; and even if no medicine is necessary he should prescribe some harmless concoction, lest the patient think the treatment not worth the fee, and lest nature should seem to have healed the patient without the physician’s aid.” (p 998)
And for those who think history doesn’t repeat itself:
“Every city of any importance paid physicians to treat the poor without charge….In Christian Spain of the thirteenth century a physician was hired by the municipality to care for a specified part to the population; he made periodically a medical examination of each person in his territory, and gave each one advice according to his findings; he treated the poor in a public hospital, and was obliged to visit every sick person three times a month; all without charge…for these services the physician was exempted from taxes, and received an annual salary of twenty pounds, equivalent to some $4,000 today (1949).”

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