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Account of some cases of Typhus in the House of Recovery at Dublin, extracted from the Reports of that Institution.
E system of the hospital has in view to select the particular disease, which it is the object of the charity to prevent; and to free the patient from contagion, and expedite his recovery. Accordingly three physicians visit the hospital each day between ten and eleven o'clock. To facilitate the patient's admission, no recommendation is required, but any application is attended to, if made before ten o'clock in the morning, when a physician from the hospital visits at their dwelling the sick thus applying, selects from them those who labour under fever, and gives a ticket of admission. When this is received at the hospital, a covered carriage placed on springs, applied to this use only, so constructed as that the patient can lie at ease in an horizontal posture, and furnished with a bed, is sent, in which the patient is slowly and cautiously conveyed to the house. * H
He is stripped in a reception room appropriated to this use, and his wearing apparel put into cold water, preparatory to its undergoing a complete cleansing. The patient's face, hands and feet, are washed with warm water, he is provided with clean linen and conveyed to bed; he is visited each day by a physician, who keeps a journal of the case, marks in a table the diet to be used, and gives directions as to his medical treatment, which are speedily carried into effect: when the patient is able to sit up, he is provided with a white wrapper, stockings, and slippers, which he wears until he is fit for removal; when this is the case, he is furnished with the dress appropriated to convalescents, and passes to the convalescent building. When fit to be dismissed, the wearing apparel brought by him into the house, is returned, after having undergone purification and exposure to the air. Such are the means by which contagion is suppressed in the person of the sick; to the beneficial consequences of which, may be added, the effect produced on the mind of the patient, by having a system of cleanliness pursued in his person for a considerable time; and by shewing the possibility
of the practice of cleanliness, as well as the comforts it produces.
With respect to the second part of the system of the House of Recovery, viz. the application of the means for destroying conta gion within the sick person's habitation, a printed ticket of advice is given to the patient's friends, in which various particulars conducive to the destruction of contagion are recom mended. Whitewashing the dwellings of the poor has been put in practice by the Sick Poor Institution in Meath Street, and is still performed by the same charity in the dwellings of patients sent to the House of Recovery. The efficacy of whitewashing in such cases, has been long established; lime is known to occasion the decomposition of animal matters, and thus perhaps operates in destroying the matter of contagion, which is probably of an animal nature. In the directions issued from the Manchester House of Recovery, it is said, the lime should be slaked where it is to be used, and that the whitewashing should be practised whilst the mixture is bubbling and hot. These circumstances are important, as lime is more active when fresh, or before it has been exposed to the air, and as the vapours that rise from
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fresh slacked lime hold the latter substance in a state of minute division, therefore are likely to come in contact with, and destroy any contagious effluvia that may float in the atmosphere. The removal of the infected patient from the midst of his family, and the cleansing of his dwelling, though to be ranked among the means which tend to cut off the very source of the evil, are of themselves insufficient for the attainment of this great object, without attention to the removal of those causes that either generate contagion, or dispose the body for its reception. The cleansing of back yards, the removal of different nuisances, the affording those who have been near the sick, the means of having their clothes purified, and the more minute purification of the furniture of infected houses, are objects which have not escaped the vigilant attention of the Committee, and will no doubt be met with the zeal and activity their importance merits.
It must be a pleasing reflection to those engaged in this work of mercy, that even the remote effects of their exertions will tend to the attainment of the objects of this charity: the prevention of poverty, by obviating sickness, the improvement of the constitutions of
poor by removing nuisances, the introduction of cleanliness by facilitating the means for obtaining it, will all be the consequence of such benevolent endeavours, and will all tend to eradicate contagion.
From the short time elapsed since the preceding system has begun to operate, the fullest proofs of its beneficial effects can be hardly expected; yet of the latter we may form a satisfactory estimate from the detail of particular instances afforded partly by the registry kept at the Hospital, but principally by inquiry made at the dwellings of those relieved. The family of Michael Donohoe, who lived at No. 12, Weaver's-square, were visited by fever, the mother and children were first attacked, and lastly the father; five individuals of this family were sent to the House of Recovery, and their dwelling white-washed and ventilated on the 5th of September; since which time there has been no sickness in his family. This inquiry was made two months after the father had been admitted.
Five persons were attacked with a fever in the room of Mary Osborne, at No. 127, NewStreet; three of these individuals were sent to the House of Recovery; the room was white