Strand Street Dispensary: Source E

The Mona’s Herald criticises the rules of the Douglas Medical Dispensary, 13 September 1842

“…And at a time like the present we would be pleased to learn that less punctilio [sticking to the rules in a petty way] was necessary at our excellent medical Dispensary, and hence medical advice in extreme cases, more easily available to the indigent [poor and needy] classes. We make this observation in reference to a rumour current – for the accuracy of which however, we cannot ourselves vouch – that in the case of two fine boys, brothers, who died the other day, the attendance of the dispensary Surgeon could not be procured, the party not having a subscriber’s recommendation, and that before medical advice which the parents could ill afford to pay, could be obtained, it was too late. We do not say that no such regulation at the Dispensary is necessary, but we do think that in cases of extreme necessary, the Dispensary Surgeon ought to have a discretionary power. We are sure that to no one could that power be better confided than Dr. Spencer; who has at all times been most sedulous [dedicated] in his attention to the poor”.

Questions to consider:

  1. Poor people in Douglas could only get free medical treatment if they were given a ticket by a subscriber (someone who paid money to the charity). Do you think this is fair? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think this rule existed?
  3. What problems does the article suggest are caused by this?
  4. What is the solution given in the article? Do you think that would be a better way?


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