The Care of the Sick by Sister Matilda Coskery (c. 1850) - (Click image to view full page)
This handwritten manual that pre-dates the formalization of the nursing profession and the works of Dorothea Dix and Clara Barton. It is based on Sister Matilda's own practical experience while working at the Daughters of Charity Hospital, Baltimore, MD. The manual covers the full range of diet, steps to house and quarantine a patient, composition of medicines and tonics, blister treatments, treatment of both physical and psychiatric patients, and many other health related topics.
Born in 1799 or 1800
She died in 1870
Lives of Deceased Sisters 1872 p. 10
Advices concerning the Sick.
When a patient is brought to the house place him according to sickness. If his condition would be disagreeable to others, put him by himself, or as far off in the ward as possible, without however letting him know why. If he is very sick or weak do not stop to question him about his sickness, as the one at the door shd know his disease, & he may be questioned as to the treatment after he has rested.B Then learn from him what has been done for him as to medicine, blistering, bleeding, dieting, etc.B Often the weakness of the sick Poor is from hardship as to food, clothing, labor & exposure, so a little light broth shd be given to them soon after they come in. If he is faint like, give him a little wine or toddy. Always keep a bed or two ready so that the poor sick may not be kept waiting. If he is able & needs a foot wash, put a handful of common salt, or two tablespoons of mustard, or a pint of wood ashes, into a bucket of warm water, and only wash, not bathe, the feet before getting into bed, let them be dried well. If he has no clean linen, & needs one, loan him one, that his condition may be comfortable. If he is too weak to have the foot wash, let him rest, & when he is more refreshed, let his face, neck, hands, arms, feet and legs be wiped with whiskey, weak spirits of camphor or bay rum. Whatever be his condition, do not let him wait long for a drink if he is thirsty, but give him that that suits his sickness. If he has fever & ague, he may have almost anything, unless his bowels are too free, in this case, give him barley water, rice water, toast water, gum water, or water alone, and if he is not too feverish, he may have port
Articles of Agreement between the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and the Baltimore Infirmary. - (Click image to view full page)
First health care mission of Mother Seton
Articles of agreement Entered into by and between the Managers of The Infirmary in Baltimore and the underwritten Superior General of the Ladies incorporated under the name of Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's
1st that the conditions under which it a understood that Said Sisters of Charity are sent to and admitted at the Said Infirmary are that they will continue under the obedience of their Superior general and of the Central government near Emmits Burg MD, that they will be fully at Liberty to follow their rules which So far from interfering with their duties as nurses, will afford them new means of fulfilling them with more fidelity.
2dly as for the management of the temporalities relating to the Infirmary, the Said Sisters will be altogether under the authority and Controul of the managers of Said Institution, and of the Physicians who attend it, to whom they will pay implicit obedience for the Same objects So that they will be ready to Interrupt their religious Exercises anticipate or put off the time thereof or even omit them altogether, if necessary -- that being their main and 1st obligation.
3dly the Said Sisters Shall have alone the Care and management of the interior Concerns and Labours of the Said Infirmary, without having any Woman or Girl associated with or Employed under them -- being ready and willing to fulfill the most menial or disgusting offices for the Sake of him who did not disdain to annihilate himself for us poor Sinners; so that the Service of the Infirmary may be performed with more propriety regularity and Union, but they will have under them as many servant men or hired men as the Service of the Infirmary may require, appointed by themselves & whom they will be at Liberty to dismiss
Carved stone entryway pieces, 1956
Providence Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Instruction pour les Filles de la Charite, et les autres Religieuses Hospitalieres en 1796 (1846 edition) - (Click image to view full page)
Hand-copied for pocket-sized usage
Mother Mary Xavier Clark, during her tenure as either Superioress or Directress of the Seminary, wrote the second half of this addressing the Human Relations aspect of medicine.
"Our charity must be extended to all; all are the redeemed souls of our Savior. It is true that we cannot reat all alike, & must proportion our cares to the wants of each one as the case before God requires it; but it should never because we like this one more than that one."