Snippets 134. The oldest hospital in Paris is the Hotel-Dieu, founded in 651. Visiting the hospital in 1854, the American Rev. George Foxcroft Haskins was extremely impressed with what he found, and compared it favourably with American health care at the time. He wrote about his experiences in Travels in England, France, Italy and Ireland, published in 1856.
A poor man, of whatever country or creed, is taken sick in Paris. When notice is given, he is placed on a litter and taken to the door of the hospital. He is immediately received and examined by one of the resident physicians, and by him ordered to be washed and properly dressed, and then placed in a ward designated by him. These wards are models of cleanliness and ventilation. He is committed to the care of a Sister of Charity, who becomes to him at once a mother, lavishing upon him all a mother’s care and tenderness. She bathes his-temples, she prepares his drinks, she humors his caprices, she bears with his foibles, she smooths down his bed, she administers to all his wants, by day and by night, with an assiduity and patience that nothing can disturb or stay. If he dies he is decently buried. If he recovers he is permitted to depart, and not detained forcibly, as if he were a felon, to work out the charges for his board, nursing, &c., as, I am sorry to say, is usually done with us.
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