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Title: 'Globulising' the hospital ward : legitimizing homoeopathic medicine through the establishment of hospitals in 19th Century London and Madrid
Author: Von Reiswitz, Felix Stefan
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the background, establishment and early history of two homoeopathic hospitals in different national settings: the London Homoeopathic Hospital (founded 1849) and the Instituto Homeopático y Hospital de San José (founded 1878) in the Spanish capital Madrid. Both institutions are among the last survivors of their kind to this day and were chosen for their availability of sources that make it possible to fit this thesis into the existing historiography of hospitals, where “alternative” 19th Century medical institutions are seldom considered, as well as into that of homoeopathy in general, wherein both hospitals and Spain have hitherto been paid only scant attention by historians of medicine. The first two chapters examine the two disparate attempts to establish a homoeopathic hospital, against opposition and lacking active support from government authorities. The two timelines stretch from the founders’ first outlined plans to the opening of the first wards, the institutions’ organization and their progress up to the 1890s. Biographical details of the two principal characters behind these projects, Dr Frederick Quin and Dr José Nuñez Pernía respectively, help to understand their own conversion to and interest in the new and controversial practice that was homoeopathy. A study of the two hospitals’ activities follows, using analysis of contemporary periodicals, surviving archival material and institutional statistical returns to understand the extent to which these hospitals were perceived as successful by their supporters, both in attracting and caring for patients. A picture also emerges about who the early patients and practitioners of these two institutions were, what pathologies were seen in the wards and how successful the practitioners understood the homoeopathic treatment to be. Homoeopathic hospitals also played a role beyond patient care, such as providing loci for the training of new practitioners or acting as major nodes within national and international homoeopathic networks. The fourth chapter examines some of these extra-clinical functions and how far these hospitals buttressed the struggle for a solid basis of legitimacy for homoeopathy within contemporary clinical medicine.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available