Descriptions of hospitals
Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
The first initiatives to impose medical norms in the Danubian Principalities date from the 17th and 18th centuries, when several native and Phanariote hospodars drafted regulations referring to the attributions of physicians and pharmacists, the inoculation of children or the establishment of temporary lazarettos against the frequent outbursts of the plague. Due to its position as the country’s outlet and to its strategic geopolitical significance, Galaţi was extremely exposed to the deadly epidemics that ravaged the area in the late 18th century, spread by the Ottoman and Russian armies or brought by the ships that called at its harbour. Virulent plague epidemics desolated the town during numerous years (1769, 1791, 1795, 1797, 1810, 1813–1816, 1818–1819, 1823–1824 and 1828–1829), followed by no less pernicious outbursts of cholera in 1830–1831, 1848, 1853, 1865, etc..
A period of quarantine, varying according to the sanitary situation in the Ottoman Empire, was imposed on voyagers and merchandise, consequently with administrative and hygiene measures taken against the people contaminated and their dwellings. The 1829 Treaty of Adrianople stipulated that the Principalities “could freely establish sanitary cordons and quarantines” and the “Organic Statutes” minutely organised the quarantine service of Moldavia and Wallachia, with the quarantine station of Galaţi set up as a first class establishment ready for cleaning both passengers and merchandise. Quarantine periods varied, depending on the sanitary situation in the Ottoman Empire, between four and 24 days. These prophylactic measures proved extremely useful for public health, but were severely criticised by merchants, as they were lengthy and costly procedures that greatly impeded trade.
The “Organic Statutes” also provided for the organisation of modern sanitary establishments, with the two countries divided into several sanitary circumscriptions, with Galaţi as the centre of such a medical division. New regulations were imposed for the foundation and activity of hospitals and pharmacies, and the counties and larger municipalities had to employ public physicians also responsible with the preservation of public health, the vaccination of children, etc. Hygiene committees were organised in the early 1860s in the largest urban communes (Galaţi included), and the sanitary law of 1874 completed the regulation of medical institutions on a decentralised basis, with local authorities entrusted with the administration and funding of public hospitals. Other legislative decisions in 1893 and 1898 settled new norms of public hygiene and the control of insalubrious industries, and in 1908 the government grouped the funding of all medical institutions into a common budget, so as to solve the issue of insufficient funding at a local level. Finally, the new sanitary law of 1910 strengthened the role of preventive medicine by referring to the creation of isolation hospitals and pavilions, of bacteriology laboratories, etc..
Against this general domestic context, information on the first physicians in Galaţi date from late 18th and early 19th century, when Simion Romanţai settled himself (1804) in the Danubian port city, followed by other practitioners invited by the local authorities. The first medical institutions were several military hospitals founded during the Russian-Ottoman wars (such as that which existed during the conflict of 1806–1812) or the provisional institutions set up during the outbursts of plague. However, the first permanent “civil” hospitals were only organised after 1829, in the new administrative and institutional context created by the “Organic Statutes” applied in Moldavia since January 1832.
The Spiridony Hospital. The initiative of establishing a hospital in Galaţi belonged to Nicolae Chiriacopol appointed in 1830 doctor of Covurlui County, then doctor of the quarantine station and, since May 1832, doctor of the city. The hospital was opened on 22 December 1836 (initially with eight beds), and the patients were cared by doctors Chiriacopol and Condos. Until the end of 1837 a total of 152 patients was warded – 132 were cured, 14 died and six remained hospitalised. The drugs were provided freely by two local pharmacies, belonging to doctors Condos and Weikum, exempted of local taxes. As the establishment proved insufficient for the needs of a growing community, a trusteeship supported by the municipality took the initiative to build a new hospital, which was placed under the administration of the St. Spyridon Epitropy of Jassy (a charitable foundation that funded several medical institutions in Moldavia). The hospital was completed in 1841 according to the plan drafted by the French Architect Thillaye de la Cros. In 1845 it had 40 beds, and during the period 1841–1848 it received 2,268 patients, cared by Doctors N. Chiriacopol, Dimitrie Zisi, Herman Martin, August Abegg, etc. The Frenchmen Appert, who visited it in 1850, mentioned that 30 patients were hospitalised (among whom 18 with venereal diseases), and the rooms, the beds and the sheets were clean. The hospital was faced with continuous financial shortages, so its administration was finally taken over in 1916 by the municipality of Galaţi.
The Military Hospital. The military hospital was founded in 1832, being initially housed in private quarters, unfit for such medical activities. In was moved in 1854 to the army barracks, a location considered by a visitor as adequate, with airy rooms, clean beds, white sheets, and excellent food and medicines. As the number of troops quartered at the Lower Danube greatly increased during the following decades, the medical unit became insufficient. The new military hospital, with 88 beds, was inaugurated in 1884 on Traian Street. In 1907 it had 130 beds, and it is still functional nowadays.
Picture 126.96.36.199_1 The Military Hospital (in the background)
The Municipal Hospital. The Communal Council decided, on 30 April 1864, to open a hospital with 30 beds, an initiative readily supported by the central authorities in Bucharest. In 1871 it did not have a proper building, although it had 46 beds, insufficient for the population of the city. It was in the same situation two decades later, when it had 45 beds, among which 20 for alienated and infirm patients. As the municipality had no resources to set up appropriate headquarters, the hospital was dissolved and subsidies were granted to the hospital “Elisabeta Doamna” for instituting a section of venereal diseases in its new building, where all patients were transferred in August 1895.
The “Elisabeta Doamna – Caritatea gălăţeană” Hospital (Princess Elisabeth – Galatz Charity). It was founded during the Romanian War of Independence (1877) by a committee that included several local notabilities. The construction of the building started on 1 August under the supervision of Engineer Carray and it was already inaugurated on 24 October 1877. After the end of the war, the hospital survived by public donations, but the municipality also paid subsidies for the treatment of poor Galatziotes. A new building was erected on an estate donated by the municipality, which also increased its subsidies. In 1907 the hospital had 125 beds, and it was thereafter organised into three sections: surgery, general medicine and contagious-venereal diseases. In 1908 it also established a section for TB patients (12 beds). The hospital is functional today as a psychiatric institution.
Picture 188.8.131.52_2 The “Elisabeta Doamna” Hospital
The TB hospital. The Society for the Prophylaxis of TB managed to found a hospital for TB patients, inaugurated on 3 December 1911 (with 24 beds) in the former building of a school. In 1914 Doctor I. Gruescu cared for 42 patients.
The Isolation Hospital. In 1908 the General Direction of the Sanitary Service required the municipality of Galaţi to donate the necessary land for building an isolation hospital for contagious diseases. It was inaugurated on 16 September 1909, as a branch of the “Elisabeta Doamna” hospital and is still functional nowadays with the same profile.
The Jewish Hospital. In 1834 the Jewish community set up a health house which proved insufficient for the needs of the local Israelite community. Thus, with a tax of 1 percent imposed on the trade of Jewish merchants, a hospital was opened in 1848, with 24 beds, under the supervision of Doctor Elbogen. In 1885 the community took the initiative to modernise this medical establishment, reopened in May 1889. A new building was completed and inaugurated on 15 November 1903 on Cojocari Street, a medical institution that in 1907 had 38 beds. It now houses the maternity of Galaţi.
 More on this in Ion I. Nistor, “Ravagiile epidemiilor de ciumă şi holeră şi instituirea cordonului carantinal la Dunăre”, Analele Academiei Române, Memoriile secţiunii istorice, 3rd series, 1944 and Din istoria luptei antiepidemice în România. Studii şi note, edited by G. Brătescu (Bucharest: Medical Publishing House, 1972).
 Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 421–439 and vol. II, 373–379. The general context in Gheorghe Brătescu, Paul Cernovodeanu, Biciul holerei pe pământ românesc. O calamitate a vremurilor moderne (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 2004).
 On the organisation of the quarantine see Georgeta Penelea, “Organizarea carantinelor în epoca regulamentară”, Studia Universitatis Babeş–Bolyai, Series Historia, 14 (1969), 29–41; Ştefan Petrescu, “Migraţie şi carantine în porturile dunărene: controlul documentelor de călătorie în epoca Regulamentelor Organice”, Studii şi materiale de istorie modernă, 25 (2012), 97–116; Constantin Ardeleanu, International Trade and Navigation at the Lower Danube: The Sulina Question and the Economic Premises of the Crimean War (1829–1853) (Brăila: Istros Publishing House, 2014), 67–73.
 Enciclopedia României, vol. I, Statul (Bucharest: Imprimeria Naţională, 1936), 490–496.
 Păltănea, Istoria, I, 439–445 and II, 379–382; The same information on local hospitals in a separate paper – Idem, “Contribuţii la istoria spitalelor din Galaţi până la 1918”, Danubius, 26 (2008), 53–76.
 Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 204–205; Păltănea, Istoria, I, 446–448, II, 383–385.
 Pacu, Cartea, 209; Gh. N. Munteanu–Bârlad, Galaţii (Galaţi: Societate de Editură Ştiinţifică–Culturală, 1927), 178; Păltănea, Istoria, I, 449, II, 389–390.
 Pacu, Cartea, 203–204 and Păltănea, Istoria, II, 386–388.
 Pacu, Cartea, 205–209 and Păltănea, Istoria, II, 388–389.
 Ibid., 390–391.
 Ibid., 389.
 Pacu, Cartea, 147; Păltănea, Istoria, I, 448–449, II, 390.
Official site of the Hospital of Infectious Diseases
Official site of the Hospital of Psychiatric Diseases
Official site of the Hospital of Pneumophtisiology
Official site of the Maternity
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Spitalul “Elisabeta Doamna” – “Aşezămintele Caritatea Gălăţeană” (Princess Elizabeth Hospital – “Galaţi Charity Establishments”), files starting with 1897.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Spitalul Boli Infecţioase nr. 3 Galaţi (The Hospital of Infectious Diseases No. 3), files starting with 1893.
Serviciul Judeţean Iaşi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Iaşi Branch), Epitropia Generală a Casei Spitalelor “Sf. Spiridon” (The General Epitropy of the “St. Spiridyon” House of Hospitals), files starting with 1824.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Serviciul Sanitar al Judeţului Covurlui (The Sanitary Service of Covurlui County), files starting with 1875.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Serviciul Sanitar al Municipiului Galaţi (The Sanitary Service of Galaţi City), files starting with 1903.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Asociaţia Generală a Medicilor din România – Filiala Galaţi (The General Association of the Doctors in Romania, Galaţi Branch), files for the period 1866–1881.
Ardeleanu, Constantin, International Trade and Navigation at the Lower Danube: The Sulina Question and the Economic Premises of the Crimean War (1829–1853) (Brăila: Istros Publishing House, 2014).
Brătescu, Gheorghe; Cernovodeanu, Paul, Biciul holerei pe pământ românesc. O calamitate a vremurilor moderne [The Scourge of Cholera on Romanian Territory. A Calamity of Modern Times] (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 2004).
Caselli, D., Din istoricul Galaţilor. Ciuma şi holera la Galaţi în veacul al XlX-lea [From the History of Galaţi: the Plague and the Cholera at Galaţi during the 19th Century], Secolul, 12:3279 (12 September 1910).
Din trecutul luptei antiepidemice în România. Studii şi note [From the Past of the Antiepidemiologic Struggle in Romania, Studies and Notes], edited by G. Brătescu (Bucharest: Medical Publishing House, 1972).
Enciclopedia României, vol. I, Statul [The Encyclopaedia of Romania, vol. I, The State] (Bucharest: Imprimeria Naţională, 1936).
Nistor, Ion I., “Ravagiile epidemiilor de ciumă şi holeră şi instituirea cordonului carantinal la Dunăre” [The Ravages of the Plague and Cholera Epidemics and the Institution of the Quarantine Cordon at the Danube], Analele Academiei Române, Memoriile secţiunii istorice, 3rd series, 1944.
Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).
Păltănea, Paul, “Contribuţii la istoria spitalelor din Galaţi până la 1918” [Contributions to the History of Hospitals in Galaţi until 1918], Danubius, 26 (2008), 53–76.
Păltănea, Paul, “Epidemiile de ciumă de la Galaţi din secolele al XVII-lea şi al XVIII-lea” [The Plague Epidemics at Galaţi during the 18th and 19th Centuries], Revista de Igienă, Bacteriologie, Virusologie, Pneumoftiziologie, 2 (1987), 115–118.
Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).
Penelea, Georgeta, “Organizarea carantinelor în epoca regulamentară” [The Organisation of the Quarantines in the Period of the Organic Statutes], Studia Universitatis Babeş–Bolyai, Series Historia, 14 (1969), 29–41.
Petrescu, Ştefan, “Migraţie şi carantine în porturile dunărene: controlul documentelor de călătorie în epoca Regulamentelor Organice” [Migration and Quarantines in the Danubian Ports: the Control of Travel Papers during the Period of the Organic Statutes], Studii şi materiale de istorie modernă, 25 (2012), 97–116
Piaseski, T., Spitalul Sf. Spiridon din Galaţi. Dare de seamă pe anul 1889 [The St. Spiridyon Hospital of Galaţi. Report on the Year 1889] (Galaţi: Tipografia Ion G. Nebuneli, 1891).
Pruteanu, P. “Contribuţii la istoricul înfiinţării spitalelor militare din Iaşi şi Galaţi” [Contributions to the History of the Foundations of the Military Hospitals of Iaşi and Galaţi], Analele româno-sovietice. Medicină generală, 1:9 (1960).
Raport general asupra mişcării populaţiei, a stărei sănătăţei publice şi altor lucrări ale Consiliului de igienă din urbea Galaţi, săvârşite în cursul anului 1885 [General Report on the Movement of Population, the State of Public Health and Other Works of the Council of Hygiene of Galaţi City, Done during the Year 1885] (Galaţi: s.e., 1886).
Regulamentul administraţiei comitetului spitalului “Elisabeta Doamna - Caritatea gălăţeană” din Galaţi [The Regulation of the Administration of the Committee of the “Princess Elizabeth – Galaţi Charity Hospital”] (Galaţi: Tipo–Litografia Modernă, Antoniady., 1897).
Societatea pentru profilaxia tuberculozei. Dare de seamă de mersul societăţii pe anul 1914–1915 [The Society for the Prophylaxis of the Tuberculosis. Report on the Activity of the Society in the Year 1914–1915] (Galaţi: Stabilimentul Grafic Moldova, 1915).
Statutele Societăţii pentru formarea fondului Spitalului Israelit [The Statutes of the Society for the Foundation of the Fund of the Israelite Hospital] (Galaţi: Typo–Lithografie J. Schenk, 1887).
Stavrescu, N., Raport general de higienă şi salubritate publică a oraşului Galaţi pe anul 1907 [General Report of Public Hygiene and Sanitation of the City of Galaţi for the Year 1907] (Galaţi: Stabilimentul Grafic Moldova, 1908).
Șuta, Alina Ioana, Tămaş, Oana Mihaela, Ciupală, Alin, Bărbulescu, Constantin, Popovici, Vlad, Legislaţia sanitară în România modernă (1874–1910)[The Sanitary Legislation in Modern Romania (1874–1910) (Cluj-Napoca: Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2009).
Takeanu, N. P., Raport general asupra stărei serviciului sanitar a igienei şi salubrităţei publice al judeţului Covurluiu pe anul 1902 [General Report on the Situation of the Sanitary Service of Public Hygiene and Sanitation of Covurlui County for the Year 1902 (Galaţi: Tipo–Litografia Naţională A. Friedman, 1903).