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Title: The care of sick children in eighteenth-century England
Author: Rennie, Claire Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 3269
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis develops our understanding of childhood illness and care through an examination of the types of care which were provided to children who suffered from common diseases and conditions in the eighteenth century. My research establishes that domestic care remained the norm throughout the eighteenth century, even though institutional care grew both in terms of its scope and the numbers treated in this period. This study reveals that Newton’s concept of ‘children’s physic’ retained its importance in the domestic setting. The development of institutions did not radically change the manner in which children received care. Although there was a clear move towards paediatrics in institutions, particularly those which opened in the latter part of the century, children treated by the Foundling Hospital, metropolitan workhouses, and dispensaries often received out-patient care that allowed them to be treated within a domestic setting. Approached through the prism of disease and disease categories, this thesis provides valuable insights into eighteenth-century views of health, childhood, and the body. The conditions examined in the thesis were diseases which regularly affected children during the eighteenth century. Childhood morbidity and mortality sometimes motivated medical experimentation on children. Through an examination of the care provided to children who suffered from certain conditions, and the experiments carried out upon them, the thesis provides a clearer understanding as to how children, their bodies, and the medical care that they required, were perceived during the eighteenth century. Aside from a focus on regimen, there was no standardisation in the care of sick children prior to the nineteenth century. The recommended regimen for children was linked to the non-naturals, placed an emphasis on moderation, and was designed with the maintenance and restoration of balance in mind. An analysis of the care provided to sick children in the eighteenth century illuminates a period of incomplete transition from ‘children’s physic’ to paediatrics. Although the origins of paediatrics are usually located in the nineteenth century, this thesis argues that the increased interest shown in children’s diseases, and the experiments undertaken on children, demonstrate that the roots of paediatric care were laid in the eighteenth century.
Supervisor: Bamji, Alexandra ; Wilson, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available