Lariboisière as a Hospital for Parisian Workers: A Study of the Clients and the Functions of a Modern Hospital in 1887

By Claire Barillé

Lariboisière : A Hospital for Parisian Workers. A Study of the Clients and the Functions of a Modern Hospital in 1887.

Viewed as one of the late nineteenth century’s most modern hospitals, Lariboisière (like Tenon a little later) was considered the jewel of the Assistance Publique’s new system. It modelled a novel approach to public hospitals in working-class neighborhoods. As for the clientele of the new hospital, it is interesting to discover that Lariboisière served a relatively young population of people who had recently arrived in Paris. If they appeared to be, for the most part, well-established professionally, they were much less so in terms of family : they were often individuals living alone and new to Paris. A closer look at the professional background of the hospital patients offers a picture of the population in the surrounding neighborhoods, for the most part, from the working and lower-middle class. At the same time, economic precariousness was a familiar presence. In particular, a study of in-patient practices and patterns reveals a fairly modern and secular approach to medicine; the expectations were not so much that the hospital would dispense charity and support, but that it would help to care for, cure or palliate causes of illness which were increasingly identified. Medical advances and hospital practices proceeded hand-in-hand, and, in so doing, furnished proof that such progress was understood by at least a part, if not all, of the population, whose confidence in the hospital as an institution grew.


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