Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Physician's Bill -- Life in the 19th Century American South

This new online display from the Historical Collections of the University of Virginia's Health Science Library explores life and medical practice in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the mid 19th Century, inspired by an 1848 fee schedule drawn up by 10 physicians.

“Physician Price Fixing in 19th Century Virginia”

"What would you pay for a house visit from a doctor whose office was within a mile of where you lived? How about a dollar with one prescription thrown in for good measure? Or maybe you need your tonsils out. Fifteen dollars will do it. Have a broken arm? Ten dollars will take care of setting it, unless it is a compound fracture and then it would be twice as much. A dollar will cover the extraction of a tooth."

This was a time when "ether anesthesia had just been introduced into medicine less than two years previously and chloroform just a year earlier, so painless surgery was not widely available."

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