Erik Nitsche: Early Traction Device
Artist: Erik Nitsche
As early as 200 B.C., hospitals -- serving mainly as homes to care for persons who were too poor or too sick to care for themselves -- were already in existence in India. The oldest hospital still around today is the Hotel Dieu in Paris, founded during the seventh century, A.D. In 1503, the first hospital founded in the Western Hemisphere was in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, while the first hospital in the United States was founded in 1658 in New Amsterdam, now New York City. While important medical discoveries during the late 1800s improved hospital care tremendously, the number of persons needing care during the early 1900s increased steadily. Hospitals became severely over-crowded during the 1940s, and to assist them, Congress passed the Hill-Burton Act in 1946. This act authorized government grants to help the states pay the cost of building new hospitals, while enlarging and modernizing existing ones. Public Hospitals in the 1970s became increasingly interested in serving the community, and many institutions set up outpatient clinics, and offered general and pediatric care. With numerous scientific and technological advances being implemented in Public Hospitals today, these institutions are saving the lives of countless individuals who would have otherwise perished due to their poverty.
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