Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
History of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital (Formerly "The Colonial Hospital") during the Nineteenth Century
The nineteenth century was a very difficult time for Trinidad regarding the provision of health care. One of the critical challenges was the need to re-establish a Colonial Hospital, for the provision of improved health care to the population at large. At the turn of the century, there existed a facility in Port-of-Spain, albeit a small wooden structure that served as the Colonial Hospital until 1808. Following its destruction by fire that year, no permanent structure was put in place until 1858, when a new facility was constructed. During that period, the location of the hospital shifted frequently. For this and other reasons there remains limited published information on the history of the Colonial Hospital in Port-of-Spain during the early nineteenth century. This paper seeks to shed some light on the hospital in Port-of-Spain before the 1808 fire, its re-establishment afterwards, coupled with data on subsequent locations. Also discussed are the hospital's staffing and its services to the general public when the facility was reestablished in 1858. The Colonial Hospital of Port-of-Spain evolved out of a need for improved health care in the nineteenth century, so much so that the population of the capital was rife with diseases. This situation was exacerbated by both the generally unsanitary conditions and the many fake remedies popular in the town.