Infirmary of the Holy Spirit Hospital in Rome, 18th century

Ministry of Education and Science, under the “Excellent Science” Programme, co-funded the following research project:

Project title: Infirmary of the Holy Spirit Hospital in Rome, 18th Century

Agreement No. DNM/SN/550557/2022
Amount of funding: 30,850.00 PLN

The Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome, founded in 1198 by Pope Innocent III and run by the Order of the Holy Spirit, was of fundamental importance for the development of hospital care in the Christian world. It served as a model for this type of institutions, consists of two facilities: a shelter (brefotrofium) for foundlings and an infirmary.

The first part, dealing with the shelter, was prepared by M. Surdacki in the form of books published in 1998 and 2000, in Polish and Italian versions.

The second part was written on the infirmary. This is the first comprehensive study of an institution important for all European culture. The work is based on rich, diverse archival material.

The monograph presents a multi-faceted picture of the Roman infirmary, presenting its internal structure, equipment, methods of treatment, medical procedures, drugs used and the etiology of diseases.

The most intriguing are the comprehensive analyses of the huge group of patients who, together with the patients of other Roman medical facilities, formed a kind of separate social class. The conclusions drawn from these analyses provide an insight into the level of sanitary hygiene in society and its standard of living.

It is fundamental to answer to what extent (as in the case of the shelter for foundlings) the Infirmary was medically avant-garde compared to other European hospitals, especially after the introduction of innovative 18th-century medical procedures and the establishment of new in-hospital institutions.

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