This study explores the issues of segregation and integration with regard to the admission procedures and treatment regimes applied to pellagra patients in the two Venetian insane asylums of San Servolo (men) and San Clemente (women) during the second half of the nineteenth century. The focus is on the internal functioning of the two hospitals, as well as relations with the wider community, which are used as tools for comparing the reception and care of the male and female pellagrous insane with those of other mental illnesses. In particular, we shall be asking to what extent did the treatment of the pellagrous insane differ from the regular insane. Were they in fact doubly segregated? One might expect a particular treatment regime to emerge, given: i) that pellagrous insanity was understood to be curable; ii) the large proportions of pellagrous insane at asylums in affected areas throughout Italy; iii) their poverty relative to the general ranks of the insane; and, iv) that all of the country’s main pellagrologists were (or had been) asylum doctors. To ascertain whether this was indeed the case, we shall reconstruct the entire ‘life cycle’ of male and female sufferers at the two Venetian asylums: from local referral and admission, through to treatment, and ending either with release back into the community or death. The advantage offered by patient records in reconstructing this is beyond dispute. Our methodology is of the ‘mixed’ variety, making the most of a synergistic and comparative usage of the qualitative and the quantitative. The qualitative—here referring to individual patient histories and directors’ reports from the two institutions—will be integrated with the quantitative—based on data culled from the five thousand patient files which make up our Venetian Mental Asylums Database (VMAD). This ensures that the selected examples are able to corroborate and poignantly express significant broader trends (which alone, risk being dry numbers). In the process, we aim to give a voice to the actors involved: medical practitioners, patients and local authorities.

‘San Servolo Lunatic!’: Segregation and Integration in the Life Cycle of Pellagra Patients at Venice’s Provincial Asylums (1842-1912)

David Gentilcore;
2020

Abstract

This study explores the issues of segregation and integration with regard to the admission procedures and treatment regimes applied to pellagra patients in the two Venetian insane asylums of San Servolo (men) and San Clemente (women) during the second half of the nineteenth century. The focus is on the internal functioning of the two hospitals, as well as relations with the wider community, which are used as tools for comparing the reception and care of the male and female pellagrous insane with those of other mental illnesses. In particular, we shall be asking to what extent did the treatment of the pellagrous insane differ from the regular insane. Were they in fact doubly segregated? One might expect a particular treatment regime to emerge, given: i) that pellagrous insanity was understood to be curable; ii) the large proportions of pellagrous insane at asylums in affected areas throughout Italy; iii) their poverty relative to the general ranks of the insane; and, iv) that all of the country’s main pellagrologists were (or had been) asylum doctors. To ascertain whether this was indeed the case, we shall reconstruct the entire ‘life cycle’ of male and female sufferers at the two Venetian asylums: from local referral and admission, through to treatment, and ending either with release back into the community or death. The advantage offered by patient records in reconstructing this is beyond dispute. Our methodology is of the ‘mixed’ variety, making the most of a synergistic and comparative usage of the qualitative and the quantitative. The qualitative—here referring to individual patient histories and directors’ reports from the two institutions—will be integrated with the quantitative—based on data culled from the five thousand patient files which make up our Venetian Mental Asylums Database (VMAD). This ensures that the selected examples are able to corroborate and poignantly express significant broader trends (which alone, risk being dry numbers). In the process, we aim to give a voice to the actors involved: medical practitioners, patients and local authorities.
Tracing Hospital Boundaries: Integration and Segregation in Southeastern Europe and Beyond, 1050-1970
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3725462
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