The Flushing Hospital and Dispensary, 1884-1950

Ruth,Elizabeth, Fordham University


Primitive man regarded disease as a result of the body by malevolent, supernatural forces which must be placated or exorcised. This desire led to the rise of the medicine man who was to frighten the evil spirit away, and if the patient had confidence in the magician he frequently improved unless the disease was a fatal one. Gradually with the intervening years medicine began to break away from the darkness of ignorance and came into the light of science as a means of helping the sick. The emergence of Greek philosophy was responsible for this because at this time we get the first inkling in the recorded history of the world of an attempt to construct on the basis of speculative reflection a system capable of explaining the phenomena of nature and establishing its laws. The highest exemplification of Greek medicine was Hippocrates. The medical code which he formulated, his study of cases, and his oath of service have become an embodiment of the best in medicine with a persistent influence in our times. With the decline of Greek culture there came too a decline in Greek medicine, and what was saved from this declination was carried to Rome where once again medicine reached a new high in scientific endeavor. From the Roman era we find further advances from darkness into light as it seems that the Romans reached the point where they dispelled the theory of evil spirits causing their bodies to be sick and laid the blame to a more natural and tangible cause. For proof of this we have a history of the deep sewers they built to dispose of filth, of the immense aqueducts to bring pure water to the population and to supply water to their magnificent baths. Here we have the first big step to ruining the ancient taboo and recognizing the true carrier of disease - Germs.

Subject Area

Health sciences|Medicine|Social work

Recommended Citation

Ruth,Elizabeth, "The Flushing Hospital and Dispensary, 1884-1950" (1952). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30557613.