No such hospital exists today in Cairo

Warning! This post is very old and may contain information or opinions that are no longer valid or embarrassing.

The following is an excerpt from a series of lectures titled The Evolution of Modern Medicine delivered in 1913 by Sir Wiliam Osler. He is one of the founders of 20th century medicine and known to the masses by several Eponyms carrying his last name.

Unfortunately, his statement '''"No such hospital exists today in Cairo as that which was built by al-Mansur Gilafun in 1283"''' is still true today, which is based on an account by Al Makrizi. I am not sure who is Gilafun exactly. But it looks like he knew how to build and manage hospitals.

"No such hospital exists today in Cairo as that which was built by al-Mansur Gilafun in 1283. The description of it by Makrizi, quoted by Neuburger,[16) reads like that of a twentieth century institution with hospital units.

[16) "I have founded this institution for my equals and for those beneath me, it is intended for rulers and subjects, for soldiers and for the emir, for great and small, freemen and slaves, men and women." "He ordered medicaments, physicians and everything else that could be required by anyone in any form of sickness; placed male and female attendants at the disposal of the patients, determined their pay, provided beds for patients and supplied them with every kind of covering that could be required in any complaint. Every class of patient was accorded separate accommodation: the four halls of the hospital were set apart for those with fever and similar complaints; one part of the building was reserved for eye-patients, one for the wounded, one for those suffering from diarrhoea, one for women; a room for convalescents was divided into two parts, one for men and one for women. Water was laid on to all these departments. One room was set apart for cooking food, preparing medicine and cooking syrups, another for the compounding of confections, balsams, eye-salves, etc. The head-physician had an apartment to himself wherein he delivered medical lectures. The number of patients was unlimited, every sick or poor person who came found admittance, nor was the duration of his stay restricted, and even those who were sick at home were supplied with every necessity."--Makrizi.

"In later times this hospital was much extended and improved. The nursing was admirable and no stint was made of drugs and appliances; each patient was provided with means upon leaving so that he should not require immediately to undertake heavy work." Neuburger: History of Medicine, Vol. 1, p. 378."