Who was the Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis’ first patient?

In the mid-1900s, being hospitalised was very dangerous for children

In the days before vaccines and antibiotics, bad living conditions and poor nutrition were liable to exacerbate the impact of any bacteria, viruses and infectious disease. Around 1800, a doctor from Amsterdam wrote: 'the worst slaughter of the gentle offspring is caused by nutrition.'

Why would you take a child to hospital?

Why would you take a child to hospital when bleeding was an accepted treatment, and the measles were a life-threatening infectious disease? Nevertheless, French physicians opened the first dedicated children's hospital in Paris in 1802. It wasn't until 1888 that the Utrecht children's hospital opened with eight beds thanks to donations by citizens. Although it is easy for us to say that late 19th century doctors did not do much good, a hospice for sick and poor children also provided for a proper upbringing and tackled 'pauperism'.

In November 1888, five-year-old Antonia t. B. was the first patient

She probably had pneumonia. In total, the WKZ took care of nine patients over several months in 1888. The first Dutch paediatrician was S.K. Hulshoff who was also the first medical superintendent of the Utrecht children's' hospital. In those days, being a paediatrician meant that you were a general practitioner who also represented children. It was not until the late 1930s that paediatricians were experts who only treated children.

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