Lunch & Learn: Health Care, 18th Century Style
Any assessment of health care in the 18th century, when life expectancy on both sides of the Atlantic averaged about 43 years, must include personnel ranging from educated physicians through barbers and midwives to neighborhood quacks. Diseases were attributed to superstitions, to bad behavior, or inhalation of foul air. Remedies included everything from herbal extracts, poultices, and cold baths to the most “advanced” treatments of bloodletting by non-sterile instruments or even leeches. During the entire century people lived in constant fear of smallpox and yellow fever. Important events happened in the last decade of the century regarding these two diseases: the horrendous epidemic of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia and the startling circumstances that led to development of a vaccine for smallpox.
The lecture will include an overall assessment of health care in colonial America and England; specific treatments and procedures available at the time and a demonstration of several items of medical equipment used during the period; and a focus on two events in the last decade of the 18th century – the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia and the development of smallpox vaccine in England.
Presented by Jim Miller. Jim is a Graeme Park volunteer and former board member. He holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and was a professor at Delaware Valley University before retiring.
Lunch will include:
- Hot entrée
- Deli tray with rolls and sandwich “fixins”
- Vegetarian option
- Salad, dessert, beverages
- 10:15 a.m. – Check-in & breakfast
- 11:00 a.m. – Lecture
- 12:00 noon – Lunch
- After Lunch – House Tour
For a printable flyer and registration form, please click here.