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For God and Country: Duties and Rewards of Charity at the Edinburgh Infirmary

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Within a 'public sphere' framework, this essay discusses the meaning and rewards of charity to specifically establish voluntary hospitals during the eighteenth century. The creation and management of the Edinburgh Infirmary serves as a convenient case study to revisit the perceived motives and actions of donors as well as the expectations and duties of the recipients – the 'deserving' poor allowed to enter the institution. Linked to this gift relationship were medicine's professional interests, especially the acquisition of clinical skills and therapeutic knowledge that created tensions between charitable and scientific objectives. Hospital-based relationships with colleagues and patients prompted new educational guidelines and ethical standards.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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