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avoiding cross-infection in American hospitals

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  • mikerendell1801
    My ancestor, who died in 1801, wrote down the following Publish d in an American paper by order of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Half an Ounce of
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 6, 2011
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      My ancestor, who died in 1801, wrote down the following
      "Publish'd in an American paper by order of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Half an Ounce of strong Oil of Vitriol, poured upon an equal quantity of powder'd salt-petre in china or glass vessels, produces a vapour which has been found very beneficial in destroying the infection of Sick-rooms"
      Presumably this medical advance would still have been current a few years later when war broke out in 1812. Does anyone know of other steps to avoid cross-infection (particularly in an era when hygeine and sterilization of instruments was practically unheard of)?
      Mike
      http://mikerendell.com
    • tom4141fournier
      ... Does anyone know of other steps to avoid cross-infection (particularly in an era when hygeine and sterilization of instruments was practically unheard of)?
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 6, 2011
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        --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "mikerendell1801" <mikerendell1801@...> wrote:

        Does anyone know of other steps to avoid cross-infection (particularly in an era when hygeine and sterilization of instruments was practically unheard of)?
        > Mike
        > http://mikerendell.com
        >

        While not an American hospital, this may still be interesting, here is an excerpt from a letter written by Lt. Col. William Thomas of the 41st Regiment describing efforts to deal with a deadly outbreak of fever on board the Transport Asia, during the 41st's passage to Quebec from Cork in 1799:

        "I gave the most particular Orders to have the Decks well scraped and washed every Morning; the Hammocks, Bedding & Bottom Boards of Berths to be constantly exposed on Deck to the Air; and the Vessel to be fumigated with Pitch or Gun Powder as often as possible, sprinkling the Decks with Vinegar. – I also directed a Tier of Berths to be made on the Upper or Gun Deck for the Sick, in Order to cut off as much as possible all communication with the rest of the men, as well as to give the Sick a free Circulation of Air, which it was impossible to procure for them on the lower or Horlop Deck"

        Tom Fournier
        41st Regiment
      • Craig Williams
        From the British publication, Regulations for Surgeons 1799 The sides and floors of the wards, if of wood, to be washed occasionally with soap and water;
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 6, 2011
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          From the British publication, "Regulations for Surgeons 1799"

          "The sides and floors of the wards, if of wood, to be washed
          occasionally with soap and water; the walls, if plastered, to be
          frequently whitewashed and the wards to be fumigated with the nitrous
          vapour. Upon the death of a patient, the whole of his bedding to be
          well steeped in running water, or in a tub, then dried and baked in an
          oven, and afterwards washed with soap and boiling water, before it is
          either used again or put into regimental stores: and when the disease
          is subdued, the like to be done with the bedding of the whole ward.
          The straw about the bed of a man who dies, to be taken out and burned
          and the place or bed where he lay to be well scowered with soap and
          water.
          All men with infectious diseases, putrid fevers, fluxes, small pox, or
          measles, to be removed immediately from camp or barracks to a separate
          house, or, in certain cases of exigency, to a hospital tent. In all
          cases of this sort and particularly after the removal of a corpse, the
          ward is to be well fumigated."


          Craig Williams

          On 6-Feb-11, at 3:13 PM, tom4141fournier wrote:

          >
          > --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "mikerendell1801"
          > <mikerendell1801@...> wrote:
          >
          > Does anyone know of other steps to avoid cross-infection
          > (particularly in an era when hygeine and sterilization of
          > instruments was practically unheard of)?
          > > Mike
          > > http://mikerendell.com
          > >
          >
          > While not an American hospital, this may still be interesting, here
          > is an excerpt from a letter written by Lt. Col. William Thomas of
          > the 41st Regiment describing efforts to deal with a deadly outbreak
          > of fever on board the Transport Asia, during the 41st's passage to
          > Quebec from Cork in 1799:
          >
          > "I gave the most particular Orders to have the Decks well scraped
          > and washed every Morning; the Hammocks, Bedding & Bottom Boards of
          > Berths to be constantly exposed on Deck to the Air; and the Vessel
          > to be fumigated with Pitch or Gun Powder as often as possible,
          > sprinkling the Decks with Vinegar. � I also directed a Tier of
          > Berths to be made on the Upper or Gun Deck for the Sick, in Order to
          > cut off as much as possible all communication with the rest of the
          > men, as well as to give the Sick a free Circulation of Air, which it
          > was impossible to procure for them on the lower or Horlop Deck"
          >
          > Tom Fournier
          > 41st Regiment
          >
          >
          >



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