Towards a New Public Health Consciousness in Medicine

Samuel K. Cohn

in Cultures of Plague

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574025
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722530 | DOI:
 						Towards a New Public Health Consciousness in Medicine

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The pragmatic and social concerns spurred by the 1575–8 plague led physicians to approach plague and medicine afresh. New sections (‘on governing the plague’) now entered the traditional plague tract, shifting and expanding the physician's remit and frame of reference from the patient's bedside to society as a whole. Just as the causes of plague were now seen as essentially social, its remedies had to become political. Doctors addressed city magistrates and princes with ‘recipes' that pertained to street cleaning, organization of plague controls, punishments for theft of contaminated property, new forms of charity, construction of lazaretti, and more.

Keywords: public health; physicians' practices; plague controls; punishment; contaminated property; charity; lazaretti

Chapter.  13037 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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