Health Care 160 years ago
More than a century and a half ago, a Stroudsburg physician placed a lengthy advertisement – toting his skills as a healer – in the local newspaper. The year was 1853. It was a different era with a now-unfamiliar approach to health care.
Judging from the ad, which appeared in The Jeffersonian, the practitioner, Dr. Hunter, was confident in his skill as a physician. Going as far as to forfeit $50 for “failing to cure any case of secret disease the may come under his care, no matter how long standing or afflicting.”
To place his “special” patients at ease, they were seen in private rooms at his office at 38 N. Seventh St., “without fear of interruption.”
Although Dr. Hunter treated patients suffering with sexual transmitted diseases, his practice was not limited to those afflicted STDs. He also treated impotency caused by “unrestrained indulgence of passions, by excess or self-abuse ….”
If the diseases were left untreated, “premature impotency, involuntary seminal discharges, wasting of the organs, loss of memory, a distaste for female society, general debility or constitutional derangement” were sure to follow, according to the ad.
The doctor also claimed to have “YEARS OF PRACTICE, exclusively devoted to the study of treatment of diseases of the sexual organs, together with ulcers upon the body, throat, nose, or legs, pains in the head, or bones, mercurial rheumatism, strictures, gravel, irregularities, disease arising from youthful excesses, or impurities of the blood, whereby the constitution (had) become enfeebled, (enabled) the Doctor to offer speedy relief to all who may place themselves under his care.”
As a service to his clientele, Dr. Hunter would also send “medicines” to any part of the United States at the cost to the patient of $5 or $10 per package. And I thought mail-order prescriptions was a new concept.