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Receipt issued to Mr Coverdale for medical instruments.

Date: 1835
Overall: 113 x 182 mm, 0.002 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Receipt
Object No: 00028796

User Terms

    HistoryDuring the 19th century practices in the medical profession was still developing and when compared to modern day standards seem fairly primitive. Often doctors were only called in emergency situations, such as a serious accident or illness. They would make home visits carrying a wide variety of instruments in their portable kits, ranging from dental, amputee and extraction utensils. Many of their prescribed cures are worrying for modern eyes, such as bloodletting which was used for fevers, headaches and even hemorrhages.

    Ship surgeons worked in much more confined spaces and harsher conditions than ordinary homeland doctors. Operations and consultations were performed between decks in cramped spaces, usually in the cockpit. Ship surgeons were confronted with maintaining the general health of the entire ship. This involved managing any disease outbreaks, performing amputations (common on naval ships), dental work and any sickness brought on by poor health and diet. Hernias were a common ailment for seamen who regularly undertook hard manual labour and consumed a poor diet.

    Dr John Coverdale became a major medical figure in Tasmania, serving as the last Civil Commandant at the convict / penal settlement at Port Arthur in 1874 and Surgeon Superintendent at the Queen's Asylum for Orphans in 1864. He had extensive experience practicing medicine on board ships as a ship surgeon for two British troopships travelling to India between 1835 and 1836. Coverdale was also the ship surgeon and an immigrant on board the PERTHSHIRE in 1837, when he migrated to Tasmania. He initially established a surgery at Richmond which ran from 1840 to 1864, while he was the District Surgeon. Coverdale is believed to have acquired his surgeon’s case in 1835 when he graduated from Glasgow with a medical degree.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Receipt issued to Mr Coverdale for medical instruments.

    Collection title: Doctor John Coverdale collection

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