1902 Encyclopedia > Paris > Public Charity, Hospitals, etc.

(Part 14)

Public Charity, Hospitals, etc.

The administration of public charity is entrusted to a responsible director, under the authority of the Seine prefect, and assisted by a board of supervision consisting of twenty members., the funds at his disposal are derived (1) from the revenue of certain estates, houses, farms, woods, stocks, shares (250,680 pounds in 1882); (2) from taxes on seats in the theatres (one-tenth of the price), balls, concerts, the Mont de Piete, and allotments in the cemeteries, (252,117 pounds); (3) from subsidies paid by the town, the department, and the state (976,368 pounds); (4) from other sources (522,398 pounds), including 130,787 pounds from voluntary donations). The charges on the administration consist of "outside relief" to the poor (secours a domicile) the "service" of the hospitals and the support of charity children. In each arrondiseement there is a bureau de beinfaisance, cosnsiting of he maire, his assistants, twelve administrators, and an indefinite number of ladies and gentlemen (known as commissaries ad dames de charite) who give voluntary and gratuitous assistance. The secretary and treasurer is a paid official; and 180 doctors, 110 midwives, and 207 religgieuses, distributed among fifty-eight houses of relief (maisons de secours) are employed in the service of the bureaus, which in 2880 received 104,236 applications for aid presented by 63 "visitors." The expenses for that year amounted to 69,843 pounds for food, 13,140 pounds for clothiong, 6114 pounds for fuel, 29,361 pounds for medicine and medical advice, 15,032 pounds for other assistance in kind, and 83,843 pounds for assistance in money. The pauper population, enumerated every three years, consisted in 1880 of 123,735 persons (53,591 males, 70,144 females) in 46,815 families, or at the rate of 1 person for every 16.07 inhabitants in the city, - an increase of 3153 families and 10,418 persons since 1877, and 10,102 families and 33,448 persons since 1861. Of the families assisted in 1880, 18, 125 obtained temporary relief and 28,690 relief throughout the entire year. This destitute class is very unequally distributed among the several arrondiseements. Whilst in the 9th arrondissement there is only 1 pauper in 50 inhabitants, and in the 1st, 8th, and 2d 1 pauper in 46, 45, and 44 inhabitants, in the 13th arrondiseement there is 1 in 7, in the 20th 1 in 8, and in the 19th 1 in 9. The paupers are for the most part under sixty years of age, and occupy single rooms, at a rent of from 4 pounds, to 8 pounds per annum, generally with a single fireplace and a single bed. There are usually no children under fourteen years of age.

The doctors in 1880 gave 453,036 consultations at the dispensaries, and performed vaccination in 31,549 cases. The midwives attended 5126 women boarding in their houses for their confinement, and gave assistance to 14,178 during pregnancy. Domiciliary visits were paid by the medical staff in 1880 to 30,322 patients and to 48,269 necesstious persons.

The doctors, surgeons, chemists, both resident and non-resident, connected with the hospitals, are all admitted by competitive examination. In 1880 the staff for the hospitals of Paris and the auxiliary hospitals of Forges, Garches, and Roche Guyon (Seine-et-Oise), and Berck (Pas de Calais) consisted of 32 doctors or surgeon at the central office of admission, 118 hospital doctors or surgeons, 8 doctors for the insane, 18 chemists, 291 internes, 470 externes, 575 probationers, and 9 midwives or midwives’ assistants. The hospitals are classified as general hospitals-Hotel Dieu, Pitie, Charite, Saint Antoine, Necker, Cochin, Beaujon, Lariboisiere, Tenon, laennec, Tournelles; special hospitasl – St Louis (skin diseases), Midi or South (venereal disease, men), Lourcine (venereal diseases, women and children), Maternity, Clinical (operations); children’s hospitals-Enfants, Malades, Trousseau, Berck-sur-Mer, La Roche-Guon; hospices-Bicetre (old men), La Salpetriere (old women), Ivry (incurables); maisons de retraite- Issy, La Rochefoucauld, Ste Perine; foundations-Boulard St Michel, Brezen at Garches (for ironworkers), Devillas, Chardon Lagache, Lenoir-Joursseran; and asylums for the insane- Bicetre (men), Salpetriere (women). The following table (V.) gives details regarding these institutions in 1882:

Several of the hospitals are of recent construction-Hotel Dieu, tenon, Lariboisiere. The Hotel-Dieu was rebuilt in La Cite at an outlay of 1,800,000 pounds or 4000 pounds per bed; the arrangements for practical education are excellent, and secure the institution a world-wide reputation. La Salpetriere (oldest of all the hospital buildings) is remarkable for its extent, occupying 74 acres, with 45 large blocks lighted by 4682 windows.

The benefits of the hospital or hospices are generally given gratuitously, but a certain number of patients pay their expenses, and in 1880 the funds of the department were in this way augmented by 89,262 pounds. In connection with these establishments are a bakery, a slaughter-house, a wine cellar, a central drug-store, a purveyor for purchasing provisions in the open market, a central deport for bedding, linen, clothing, furniture, and utensils; and a certain number of articles are retailed to other departments or private institutions.

Foundlings and orphans are sent to the Hospice des Enfants Assistes, which also receives children whose parents are patients in the hospitals or undergoing imprisonment. In 1882 the hospice received 9620 children; the inmates from the preceding year numbered 274. Of these children 2549 were restored to their parents, 2814 were boarded out in the country, 561 died, and 2594 were formally enrolled among he enfants assistes, or charity children. There are in the hospice 102 resident wet-nurse; infants, however, are not kept in the institution, but are boarded out with nurses in the country, of whom 1707 were engaged under the supervision of 361 matrons. Up to twelve years of age these children are kept at the expense of the department of Seine, and they remain under the guardianship of the poor-board till twenty-one years of age. On December 31, 1882, there were 13,861 children of the first class and 12,135 of the second distributed among 32 agencies and 257 medical circuits situated in Nivernais, Burgundy, Bourbonnais, Normandy, Artois, Picardy, and Brittany.

The Quinze-Vingts still gives shelter to the 300 (fifteen score) blind for whom it was founded by St Louis, and gives outdoor assistance to 1550 besides. The blind asylum for the young (Institution des Jeunes Aveugles) has 250 pupils (one-third girls, two-thirds boys); the course of study lasts for eight years; most of the pupils are bursars of the state or the departments; some pay a small fee; suitable trades are taught. The deaf-mute institution is for boys only, and they are generally paid for by the state, the departments, and the communes. During a course of seven years they are taught articulation and lip-reading. The Charenton asylum for the insane receives 300 male and 280 female patients, most of them paying for their board, and classed according to their means. Those of Vincennes (522 beds for male patients) and Le Vesinet (300 beds for female patients) take in convalescents from the hospitals sent by the charity boards or friendly societies which subscribe to the institution. The Hotel des Invalides is for old inform soldiers. The pensioners, who have numbered at times as many as 5000, are now only a few hundred, and their immense edifice accommodates the Ecole Superieure de Guerre, the artillery museum, the galleries for plans in relief of fortified posts, and numerous storehouses of the war department. under the dome of the Invalides is the tomb of Napoleon I., and in the church the funeral obsequies of distinguished soldiers are performed. There are four military hospitals in Paris – Val de Grace (960 beds for all ranks), Gros Caillou (630 beds), Saint Martin (425 beds), and Vincennes (630).

Private beneficence maintains a great variety of institutions in Paris. There are 30 creches or day-nurseries in the city and 14 in the suburbs (capable of accommodating respectively 1093 and 398 infants), where mothers who have to go out to work may leave their infants under two years; they are under the direction of the sisterhood of St Vincent de Paul. The Society of St Vincent de Paul, which must not be confounded with the sisterhood, is a society of laymen founded in 1833 and divided into as many conferences as there are parishes, for the purpose of visiting the poor and giving them advice and assistance. The Societe Philanthropique distributes food rations in its "kitchens" by means of a system of cheap tickets. The Societe de Cahrite Matenelle devotes its attention to women in childbed; the Petites Soeurs des Pauvres have five houses for poor old men, for whom they collect scraps from the restaurants. The Freres St Jean de Dieu take care of children suffering from incurable diseases. A large number of institutions known as ouvroirs or workrooms bring up orphan and destitute girls and fit them for various industrial occupations, especially the use of the needle. The night asylum offer shelter to the homeless. The Society for the Protection of the Alsace-Lorrainers, and the charity office of the British embassy, are naturally limited to special nationalities. Friendly societies, supported by ordinary subscriptions, donations from honorary members, and state subsidies, are numerous; they give assistance to their members when they are sick or out of work, and pay their funeral expenses.

An evangelistic mission, commenced in 1872 by the Rev. R. W. McAll in the district of Belleville has met with remarkable success. By 1884 it had between thirty and forty stations in Paris and the suburds, and had extended its activity to various towns in the provinces, to Corsica, and to Aslgiers. Its income in 1883-4 was 10,607 pounds. Home for English girls were established in 1872 by Miss Ada Leigh, and the association to which they have since been transferred has been presented with an orphanage by M Galiguani.

The Mont de Piete is a national pawn broking establishment. Charging 9 per cent, for working expenses, it hands over all its proceeds to the public charity funds. The average number of articles pawned per day is 5205, of which 5 only are of suspicious origin (theft); the average sum lent on each was 23 francs in 1881. When the depositor does not redeem his pledge or purchase a renewal the article is sold. In 1882 there were 1,669,582 new transactions and 664,617 renewals, while 1,401,944 articles were redeemed, and 214,340 sold, - the loans amounting respectively to 1,619,621 pounds, 676,671 pounds, 1,320,888 pounds and 144,315 pounds. If the sale involves a loss this falls on the agent who overestimated the value when the article was deposited; any profit, on the contrary, is divided between the administration and the person concerned.

The Caisse d’Epargne, or savings bank, the natural complement of the Mont de Piere, was founded in Paris in 1818. It began that year with 351 depostiors, and deposits to the amount of 2153 pounds; in 1882 it had 440,728 depositors, and owed then 3,513,432 pounds. The new deposits for the year reached a sum of 1,874,697 pounds, and the repayments 1,236,060 pounds. The number of new pass-books issued was 63,146, of accounts closed, 24,228. Three per cent interest was paid to the depositors. The maximum deposit is 80 pounds.

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