Women and the Practice of Medical Care in Early Modern by L. Whaley

By L. Whaley

Ladies have engaged in therapeutic from the start of background, frequently in the context of the house. This ebook reviews the function, contributions and demanding situations confronted by way of ladies healers in France, Spain, Italy and England, together with scientific perform between ladies within the Jewish and Muslim groups, from the later heart a long time to nearly 1800.

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By the seventeenth century in England, there were several types of female medical workers: nurses, midwives and regular practitioners, surgeons, barber-surgeons and apothecaries. Despite the complex web of licensing in England, women continued to be granted licences for medical practice (usually for medicine and surgery) from the Archbishop of Canterbury. 99 The information contained in many of the licences is very brief, providing only name, spouse (wife of), region and the purpose of the licence.

For example, she cured the two children of a merchant in Pudding Lane. In one case, she drained a four-inch lesion to the neck. In another, she treated a Captain Hasting’s son who had seen many surgeons. They had put a lead plug in the boy’s back. 116 These were clearly exceptional medical women in many respects. They were able to procure licences, which presumably meant they could charge more for their services, and they were considered respectable and competent, as their testimonials prove. They were better educated than the average woman and had connections with the elite, including many in the world of medicine.

These guilds dated from the later Middle Ages, around 1299 for York, 1379 for Lincoln, Norwich and Dublin. 76 While guilds operated in urban areas, the practice of medicine in the English countryside was to all intents and purposes unregulated. Although women were admitted to the guilds, their numbers were far below those of men. Thus, we find the majority of female practitioners active in rural areas where they specialized in ‘folk’ medicine. They worked as herbalists, they treated cuts and bruises and broken bones and were involved in childbirth.

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