Nineteenth century physicians by Susan Macatee
Today, I have invited a historical romance author friend of mine to
stop by. She’s got a new story out, The Physician’s Irish Lady, and
having read it, I really enjoyed it. So here is Susan Macatee to tell us
a little more about it. And keep reading for her giveaway.
Susan, thanks for coming!
In my new release, The Physician’s Irish Lady, the hero is a late nineteenth century physician.
This character originally appeared as a minor character, a friend of the hero, in my 2009 Civil War romance, Confederate Rose. In that novel, he served as a physician in the Union army, but now practices at home in a small Pennsylvania town in a rural setting.
In the story, he travels to his patients’ homes to treat illnesses and wounds caused by accidents.
The late eighteen-hundreds saw many advances in both medical knowledge and technology. As a result, the medical profession itself went through drastic changes. The acceptance of germs causing diseases, unheard of before the nineteenth century, along with research of the human body and development of specialized tools, caused a revolution in treatments of illness. The practice of hygiene, put into use during the American Civil War, aided patients and improved outcomes for recovery.
Late nineteenth century physicians visited patients’ homes or occasionally worked out of an office in their own home. Doctors in rural areas needed to be able to travel in a wide area.
Doctors would travel by foot or horseback and needed to carry tools and drugs they could pack into a small case or saddlebag.
During the Industrial Revolution, hospitals in big cities were looked on as being dirty, breeding grounds for disease and infection. Because doctors didn’t practice methods for keeping germs from spreading from patient to patient, a hospital stay would likely cause a person to contract a new disease, so people avoided them.
Because most doctors worked in large geographic areas, they were expected to treat such ailments as toothaches, stomach aches, fevers and even sick livestock. It wasn’t until later in the century that physicians developed specialties in medicine.
Even surgical procedures would be carried out in a patient’s home. Anesthesia was not widely in use until the end of the century, so complex surgeries weren’t usually performed. And the types of anesthesia available, ether or chloroform, could asphyxiate a patient. Antiseptic practices also weren’t common until the turn of the century, so a surgical risk of infection after the fact ran high.
To learn more about nineteenth century physicians, visit this site:
The Physician’s Irish Lady available from Amazon, B&N, All-Romance Ebooks, and from The Wild Rose Press.
As Dr. Elliot James travels by train from Philadelphia to York, a young woman faints at his feet.
He’s sworn, as a physician, to aid the sick and injured, but fears this woman requires more than medical help. Enchanted by her beauty and touched by her dignity, despite appearing to be alone in the world, he buys her a meal and offers to find her a place to stay in his small Pennsylvania town.
A mysterious Irishman pursues her to the idyllic town surrounded by farmland. Is he an abusive husband come to claim his runaway wife, or someone more sinister?
And an excerpt:
Elliot cantered his mare to the house. Twilight made it difficult to make out the fence post, but a
soft glow shimmered through the first floor windows. He slid from the horse and tied her to the
post. He’d take her around to the backyard stable once he’d checked on the women.
He stepped in the door expecting his aunt and Miss Fagan to be warming dinner in the kitchen.
His footsteps echoed over the floor. “Aunt Millie?” he called. “Miss Fagan?”
The kitchen door burst open. Millie’s eyes were wide, her hands knotted in her apron.
Elliot’s heart lurched. “Miss Fagan!” he gasped. “Where is she?”
“Oh, Elliot! She’s gone.”
“Gone! Gone where?” Elliot’s pulse raced.
“She went with Jim. His poor boy is very sick. You must go right away.” She worked her hands in the folds of her gown.
Elliot blew out a sigh. He’d feared either Morrissey had taken Miss Fagan, or she’d run again. “I’ll get right over there.” He patted his aunt’s gnarled hand. “Don’t worry.”
He hopped back on his mare and hurried to the sheriff’s home. Light shone through the windows. He tied up the horse and let himself in. “Jim!” he called, “Miss Fagan?”
Jim appeared, a smile lighting his face. “Your guest is a miracle worker. You should take her on as a partner.”
Elliot followed Jim up the stairs to the boy’s bedroom. His wife, Maggie, hovered at the foot of the bed, while Miss Fagan sat beside the boy crooning a lullaby. The boy actually let out a weak laugh.
She turned and started when she caught sight of Elliot. “Did Aunt Millie send you?”
He nodded and stepped toward the bed. “You gave me a scare, Danny.” He placed his hand on the boy’s forehead. He seemed a bit flushed but wasn’t burning up.
“What did you do?” he asked Miss Fagan.
She shrugged. “Used compresses and some home remedies I learned back in Ireland from me grandmother. It took the fever out of him.” She nodded at the boy.
Jim’s wife clasped her hands. She seemed on the verge of tears. “Miss Fagan is a miracle worker, Doc.”
“So your husband’s told me.” Elliot glanced at Jim who hovered in the doorway.
Miss Fagan stood and motioned for Elliot to take her place by the bed. He sat and gave the boy a quick examination. “He’ll need plenty of fluids and lots of sleep, but I think he’s on the mend.”
He nodded at the anxious parents.
He stood so Mrs. Buckley could sit by her son, then motioned Miss Fagan and Jim into the hall. “I’d like to thank you, Miss Fagan, for coming with me.” Jim glanced at Elliot. “I came to get you, but you were out on a call.”
Elliot studied Miss Fagan. She glanced away, appearing embarrassed at Jim’s praise. “Glad I was to help, Sheriff. He seems like a fine lad.”
Elliot’s gaze slid over her. If he’d been around when Jim had come to call, he wasn’t sure he’d have done any better.
The Physician’s Irish Lady is available today from The Wild Rose Press
Also available at Amazon
And other ebook merchants. Visit my website for additional links.
Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Juli!
Juli D. Revezzo has written the Victorian romance novel WATCHMAKER'S HEART. Check it out at Amazon.
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