The Divided Path: The German Influence on Social Reform in France after 1870

By Allan Mitchell | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Physicians and Patients

The profession of medicine was crucial for any effort to raise the standards of public health. If new hygienic measures were to be effectively implemented, it would be necessary to have a sufficient corps of well-trained medical personnel. According to some accounts, this was scarcely a problem throughout much of the nineteenth century. If anything, it has been suggested, France suffered from a glut of doctors who emerged from the best system of medical education in Europe.1 The reality was otherwise. The French nation never had remotely enough qualified physicians to meet the medical needs of its entire population. Perhaps the rich were properly treated in Paris. But indigents in the city and rural folk across the countryside were always neglected. What perpetually characterized the French medical profession was maldistribution of doctors, inadequacy of facilities, and lack of funds for expansion.2

These conditions were fully exposed by the war of 1870. From that time on, the realization that France was facing a medical crisis began to spread. This new awareness focused at first on the fact that the country lacked enough medical schools. With Strasbourg detached, only the faculties of Paris and Montpellier remained. Hence a program was launched in the 1870s to create additional centers of medical instruction in Nancy, Lille, Lyon, and Bordeaux.3 Yet this effort, important as it surely was, begged a number of ulterior questions. What kind of training should medical students receive? How should they be deployed? What institutional innovations would be required to support an expanded scheme of public health? These were just a few of the issues that came under consideration in the

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The Divided Path: The German Influence on Social Reform in France after 1870
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xv
  • Part One - Private Charity and Public Health 1
  • Chapter I - The Aegis of Liberalism 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Demographic Imperative 24
  • Chapter 3 - The German Model 44
  • Chapter 4 - The Sources of Social Reform 68
  • Part Two - The Intersections of Reform 95
  • Chapter 5 - Men and Women 97
  • Chapter 6 - Physicians and Patients 119
  • Chapter 7 - Paristans and Provincials 144
  • Chapter 8 - Managers and Workers 166
  • Part Three - National Crisis and Social Security 191
  • Chapter 9 - The Funding of Reform 193
  • Chapter 10 - The Dilemma of Mutual Societies 223
  • Chapter 11 - The Parable of Tuberculosis 252
  • Chapter 12 - The Embarrassment of Choice 276
  • Conclusion - Republic and Reich, 1870-1914 300
  • Notes 317
  • Bibliography 367
  • Index 385
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