RAMC

Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison – 1821

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Malta Garrison – 1821

Malta Garrison

The average strength of the garrison in the autumn quarter (21 Sep to 20 Dec 1821), was 2081 men. During this period, a total of 835 men were treated in the hospitals, of whom 10 died.

Ophthalmia Hospital

Ophthalmia was attributed to excessive heat acting on a constitution accustomed to a colder clime. Other factors were involved to explain why battalions exposed to similar conditions had varying number of sick. Among these were exposure to night dew and the rays of the sun, lack of cleanliness, intemperance and drunkenness from the availability of cheap wine and spirits and low morality.

In Oct 1821, Deputy Inspector of Hospitals J. Hennen reorganised the care of ophthalmia patients. Soldiers were previously admitted to two wards of the regimental hospital located in the General Hospital under the care of Staff Assistant Surgeon James Kennedy, while women and children were treated in their barracks. Hennen relocated the regimental hospital to another part of the General Hospital and used its two wards to create a large ward of 20 beds. A room at one end of a terrace reached up 20 stairs housed 18 patients while another on the opposite end had 14 beds for women and children. The ophthalmia hospital with a total of 52 beds was under the exclusive care and supervision of J Hennen.

Most mild cases of ophthalmia were managed with leeches and cupping followed by blisters behind the ear and on the nape of the neck. Those with severe symptoms were bled up to 20 to 30 ounces (600 to 900 mls) followed by an emetic to reduce the force of the circulation.

Staff

Bibliography

  • TNA:WO 17/2232, Returns of the General and Staff officers of the hospitals attached to the forces in Malta (25 January–25 December 1821).
  • A list of all the officers of the army and Royal Marines. War Office 1 January 1821.
  • Staff Surgeon Tully's quarterly summary of the diseases in the garrison of Malta from 21 December 1821 to 20 March 1822.