Special Report

What a Hospital Looked Like 100 Years Ago

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6. Longer stays

If women gave birth in a hospital 100 years ago, they could stay there as many as 10 days. Today, women are discharged one day after giving birth, if there are no complications.

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7. No nurse practitioners

There were no nurse practitioners 100 years ago. Nurse practitioners have relieved doctors from responsibilities of prescribing medications, diagnosing diseases, and starting treatment.

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8. Smoking on premises

Hard to believe now, but smoking was common throughout hospitals 100 years ago. People smoked in cafeterias and waiting rooms. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was the first hospital in the United States to ban smoking on its campus in the early 2000s.

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9. Technology

Technology has raised the number of outpatient surgical procedures. Today, some patients with kidney disease can have their dialysis treatments at home.

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10. Doctor’s orders

One hundred years ago, doctors had the last word on treatment and patients had no say. Doctors withheld information from patients under the belief that informing them of their condition would cause psychological damage. Physicians also didn’t think patients could understand and or would be able to make decisions about their treatment.