History, Department of
“Desirous of Improvements in Medicine": Pupils and Practitioners in the Medical Societies at Guy's and St. Bartholomews Hospitals, 1795–1815
Date of this Version
Guy's Hospital Physical Society and St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical and Philosophical Society served important educational and professional functions in London between 1795 and 1815. They provided the opportunity for discussing everyday problems, sharing new discoveries and encouraging pupils to exploit fully their hospital experiences. They allowed hospital men to pontificate at times, but also to support the efforts of local practitioners and ambitious students. While not improving medicine in the sense of directing research or organizing clinical investigations, they did help medical men at all levels to think about their experiences before their observations were lost in the demands of the next case. Perhaps most important, the societies fostered the medical communities associated with three of the great London hospitals. They did this by providing links between pupils and practitioners from different hospitals, different kinds of practice, and different professional levels.
Published in Bulletin of the History of Medicine 59:1 (Spring 1985), pp. 89-104. Copyright © 1985 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Used by permission.