II-181192 | Ward M, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1910
Ward M, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1910
Wm. Notman & Son
1910, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
Canadian hospitals in large urban centres were already facing excess demand. This was particularly true in Montreal, where hospital capacity was not keeping pace with population growth. The Montreal General Hospital, for example, was plagued with overflow problems between 1860 and 1900, with patients sometimes obliged to sleep on the floor.
There were many drawbacks to being hospitalized in a public ward, including lack of privacy, odours, constant noise and moans from neighbouring beds evoking treatments received or yet to come. Injured patients were often brought to wards during the night.
Some doctors upped the doses of sedatives to ensure peace and quiet. Minor medical and surgical procedures were sometimes performed in the wards, further undermining patient morale. Those who found these conditions unbearable fled to their homes.
The far wall of the men's ward at the Montreal General Hospital was curved, providing better light. There were no rockers here, just straight-backed chairs for patients and their visitors.
All injured or ill men unable to pay hospital costs were admitted to this large ward.
By the early 20th century, general care had improved and patients were receiving more thorough medical treatment.
Nurses, doctors, residents and medical students were now a regular feature in wards. Medical attention had become a matter of course in hospitals.