The statue of William Russ Pugh, by Peter Corlett, which is now a feature in Prince’s Square, Launceston.LAUNCESTON’S first hospital was a rudimentary structure reputed to have been on the corner of Cameron and George streets, a site now occupied by Holy Trinity Church.
For soldiers and convicts in Launceston’s very early days it would have been the only place where medical help was available.
Between 1820 and 1840 His Majesty’s Colonial Hospital in Launceston was moved to various locations before finding a home in a two-storey building in Balfour Street.
By 1851 it was called the Cornwall Hospital and Infirmary and housed in a former hotel on the corner of Balfour and Wellington streets.
None of the early facilities were highly regarded by local residents according to historian L. S. Bethell in his book The Story of Port Dalrymple.
“In the early days, when one was sick, to betake oneself to H.M. Colonial Hospital at Launceston was an act of despair … the citizens preferred to die in their own beds.”
The innovative and progressive Launceston doctor William Russ Pugh lamented the situation in a letter to the editor of The Examiner on October 11, 1848.
“It was a fact too notorious to be questioned, or easily forgotten, that the free community of the northern portion of this island, in cases of sickness and distress, was altogether unprovided for.”
Dr Pugh had established his own hospital in 1845, with Dr James Grant, called St John’s Hospital and Self Supporting Dispensary in a house on the corner of Charles and Frederick streets, which today is known as Morton House.
Patients paid an annual subscription, which allowed them to consult a doctor when needed.
Dr Pugh pioneered the use of ether as an anaesthetic in Australia in an operation at his hospital on June 7, 1847, but a shortage of subscribers led to its eventual closure.
Continued public lobbying saw the construction of the first Launceston General Hospital, which opened in 1863.
Local historians Jenny Gill, Anne Bartlett and Dr John Paull will discuss Launceston’s early medical history on the first day of the LGH Sesquicentenary Medical History and Research Seminar at the LGH on Wednesday, May 15.
Information and registration forms for the seminar are available from Ms Lou Partridge 63487035.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美睫培训.