Every visitor to a modern hospital will encounter a lot of baloney around its wards and halls and lifts. But these rules, taken from the ‘Standing Orders of St. Thomas’ Hospital 1689–1782’, (i) make good sense to me, (ii) prove in themselves that everything that Owen Barfield warned us about in his History in English Words is true, and (iii) should most certainly be reinstated at once as accepted practice throughout the globe’s medical establishments. I mean, seriously, whenever did such evolutionary-advanced societies cease the wise and long-tested practice of allowing dead bodies to be dismembered without the permission of a treasurer? So, for the sake of a better world, behold the wisdom of our forebears:
1. No Person shall be received into the House who is visited, or suspected to be visited, with the Plague, Itch, Scald-Head or other Infectious diseases, and if any such be taken in, then to be discharged as soon as discovered.
2. Patients shall not Swear, not take God’s Name in vain, nor revile, nor miscall one another, nor strike or beat another, nor steal Meat, or Drink, Apparel, or other thing, one from another.
3. Patients shall not abuse themselves by inordinate Drinking, nor incontinent Living, nor talk, nor not Immodestly, upon pain of expulsion; and when they go to or return from the Meals and Beds, they shall crave God’s Blessing and return Thanks to God.
4. No Drink shall be brought in and sold to Patients except by the Physician’s and Surgeon’s License.
5. No Patient with the Foul disease shall go out of his Ward, nor come into the House to fetch anything, nor within Chapel, nor sit upon the seats in the Courtyards, upon pain of Expulsion.
6. None of the Women shall go into the Men’s Wards, nor the Men into the Women’s wards, without License, upon pain of Expulsion.
7. The Sisters shall clean the Wards by Six a.m.
8. Every tenth bed is to be left empty to air and not more than one patient is to be put into each bed.
9. The Sisters shall see that no Card Play or Dicing takes place in the House.
10. If any of the Sisters shall disorder themselves by brawling with one another, or other misdemeanor, she is to be removed her Ward and subsequently discharged the House for ever.
11. Old sheets shall be washed and given the Surgeons for Dressings.
12. No Surgeon shall suffer his Servant to perform any Operation; dilate or cut open Imposthumes, or Sinuous Ulcers, except the Master of such Servant be present, and direct the same.
13. No Dead body shall be opened, Dissected or Dismembered without leave from the Treasurer, or Steward in the Absence of the Treasurer.
14. The Sexton shall keep the Chapel and yards clean and make graves six feet deep, six feet long and three feet wide at eighteen pence each.