VIEW-11534 | Pharmacy, Hotel Dieu, Montreal, QC, 1911

Pharmacy, Hotel Dieu, Montreal, QC, 1911
Wm. Notman & Son
1911, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin silver process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Hospitals were usually equipped with a pharmacy that stocked a wide variety of vegetable, mineral, animal and chemical products used to concoct syrups, pomades, unguents, medicinal wines, etc. They frequently maintained a small medicinal herb garden as well.

There were two types of pharmaceutical preparations: ready-made remedies, prepared in advance according to standard formulas and kept available, and custom-made medications dosed according to doctor prescription. The hospital pharmacist's job required extensive knowledge of the pharmacopoeia.

In the 1880s, doctors freely prescribed opium, morphine, cocaine, potassium bromide, chloroform, strychnine, peroxide, laudanum and nitroglycerin, though this did not preclude the use of leeches, snake powder or croton oil. Tradition and modernity went hand in hand for quite some time.

  • What

    This immaculately clean hospital pharmacy is fully equipped with the tools and ingredients needed to prepare prescription medicines. All of the hospital's orders were filled there.

  • Where

    This pharmacy was at Montreal's Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. Products from around the globe were used there, but to economize, the nuns grew medicinal herbs themselves.

  • When

    In the early days of the Colony, the Hospitaller sisters prepared remedies for their patients as best they could. The head pharmacist played a crucial role in hospitals.

  • Who

    In the English-language hospitals, pharmacy duties were carried our by trained professionals. At Hôtel-Dieu, the Sisters of Charity were in charge.