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"The health service of the Great Army" Topic


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167 hits since 6 Nov 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2019 8:52 p.m. PST

"The Health Service was officially created in January 17, 1708 under Louis XVth. A permanent army health care corps gathering the precise number of 300 doctors and surgeons was established. It was stationed in the border regiments and in war harbours. Those practitioners were under the authority of organizers and war commissioners.

After 1792, the time had come for war movement and offensive. If it abolished the training hospitals and school medicines, the Legislative Assembly, then the National Convention organized mobile and garrisoned hospitals which badly answered to the demand while wounded soldiers kept increasing. To overcome the dramatic shortage in the number of staff and education, the government called back the doctors who were dismissed in 1788 and so were civil doctors and students without any decent training. Even though the number of practitioners significantly increased, the medical mediocrity was obvious (Sandeau (a), 2004).

On February 22, 1794, the Minister of Defense implemented a central council of health which was made up of 9-12 health officers belonging either to the navy or the infantry in equal numbers. They were under the supervision of war commissioners gathered into monitoring and administrative committees and were divided into three identical categories: doctors, pharmacists and surgeons. Those commissioners controlled everything that concerned the hospitals: organization, location, hygiene, transfers and continuing education of the health care staff, etc. On May 19, 1794, this law was modified. The health council was repealed and substituted by health inspectors under the Ministry's authority. Even though the health council was abolished, the commissioners subsequently gained power. The experience in the field of so many great military surgeons such as Percy, Desgenettes or Larrey was totally overlooked and while they often lacked common sense, those civil servants arbitrarily continued to transfer, promote and dismiss doctors, to implement new hospitals or to govern campaign military medicine (Ducoulombier, 2004; Percy, 2002)…."
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