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Extra resources for A Darkened House: Cholera in Nineteenth-Century Canada
For the first two weeks he worked without taking off his boots, and 'when he did, the flesh adhered to the sole leather/ Overwhelmed by the numbers of patients, van Iffland found it almost impossible to keep the staff at work. Many left after a day preferring to sacrifice their pay than to work in the hospital another hour. In Montreal conditions were always worse than in Quebec; it was late June before any adequate bedding was provided for the cholera hospitals and they remained under the supervision of part-time, non-resident, physicians.
This regulation was intended to advance temperance by preventing sales by the glass to the poor. Both the English and the French press objected to this new order because it would prevent the poor from buying liquor in the medicinal quantities which doctors were prescribing - the public health required the poor to have access to liquor in moderation. In the face of these arguments and of the widespread opposition, the Quebec board virtually gave up its attempts to control the drinking of the poor.
Dr Lyons resigned from the Emigrant Hospital for that reason. His successor, Dr Mills, was involved in an altercation with a member of the Quebec Board of Health which illustrates some of the difficulties that could arise between board members and their appointees. Dr A. Harkness, a Presbyterian minister and member of the board, found a patient bleeding from a vein from which the bandages had slipped. Harkness went in search of Mills to rebandage the wound. The hospital porter reported that Harkness had found Mills at tea and that Mills said he 39 Calculated to unman the ...