|Treatment of Children in the Westmoreland Lock Hospital Dublin 1792-1900|
|The Westmoreland Lock hospital was established in 1792 for the treatment of men women and children suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. Following a change of management in 1820 only females and infants were admitted, this remained the case until the closure of the hospital in the 1950s. This paper discusses the medical conditions exhibited by children affected by congenital syphilis and the medical treatment of infants and children suffering from sexually transmitted diseases and congenital syphilis at the Westmoreland Lock hospital.
Mortality figures supplied to the Board of superintendence of Dublin hospitals and published in their annual reports are looked at, as they demonstrate that the years in which there was a higher than normal mortality rate correspond to the years when a greater number of infants were born and when a considerable number of infants with congenital syphilis died shortly after birth, at the hospital.
The question of medical ethics and the ethical justification for experimental medicine being practiced on children is explored using the evidence of Professor John Morgan of the Westmoreland lock hospital who carried out inoculation of patients with matter taken from the syphilitic sores of other patients between the years 1868-70. The patients undergoing this treatment included a number of children under the age of ten years and some individual cases are examined. The question of how Morgan justified his use of children in his care for experimental research is addressed, as are Morganís statements in his textbooks devoted to teaching his students how to approach the care and treatment of syphilised children.
The paper concludes with a look at the long term prognosis for the lives of children with congenital syphilis on their discharge from hospital and the significance of the Westmoreland Lock hospital in the overall system of care of syphilised children in Ireland.|