“Doctors Get Ill Too”

“Doctors Get Ill Too”

We often focus on treatments offered by medical professionals in the past, but what of the occupational health of the practitioners themselves? Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini (1633-1714) spent most of his career studying the diseases of medical professionals and other workers during the 17th century. In 1700 his life’s work was published, De Morbis Artificum (Diseases of Workers). It was the first comprehensive study of occupational diseases and quickly became a standard text in Western medicine, eventually earning him the name, ‘The Father of Industrial Medicine’. He wrote very much to the point and filled his text with fascinating, and sometimes frightening, anecdotes! Here are just a few of his observations on the dangers faced by early modern men and women in their medical work.