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Queen Victoria and her poor

There was nothing stylish about it, mind you. In fact it was non-existent. In part because it was not “needed” during agricultural times. Farm women, bore relatively chubby and healthy babes. Once the Industrial Revolution occurred and the mass of humanity crushed into the city, was there a sharp increase in mortality rates.

In addition to the poor state of the mother, prior to birth; malnutrition, diseased through lack of sanitation; the medical profession was not regulated. It was a pure capitalistic arena until the middle 1800s. Any man or woman who wished to call themselves Doctor was allowed to hang out their shingle. Required medical studies did not emerge until later and often these quacks gave patients any concoction they desired. This often resulted in disastrous deaths of patient; but it was never the Doctor who was wrong, the patient simply did not follow orders correctly. Thusly, “Doctors” could reap the rewards.

The French are regarded as the harbingers of medicine with Germ Theory; which unfortunately was slow to be accepted in England and United States. Sanitation was huge part of this revelation; mandating French doctors to wash their hands between patients. Other countries scoffed at this ritual. Via social reform latrines were required to be away from living quarters (although emptying the contents in the streets was a difficult habit to break, apparently). Fresh air was also encouraged when possible, but it was not an alternative for the urban poor.

Likewise, everyone had to pay out of pocket for visits to the medical profession. Thusly, it was only when people were too far gone to do much, by the time the doctor was called. Only sailors were had a sort of health care insurance.

Preventative care slowly made its way via France and Germany. Again, it was seen as unnecessary and disruptive to the current way of life. Mass vaccinations were a thing of the future and the modern health care ideology that we know it did not occur until after World War II as late as the early 1960s in some locations.

Again, realizing the infant death rate from the 1860-1880 (which spiked to all time highs all over the world) ranged from as 60-160 deaths for every 1,000 births . . . it is alarming to wonder how we are even here! We all steam from hearty survivors in one form or another. Just remember while people are griping about health care reform . . . no one would desire to live in “the real 19th century!”

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