Prisoners' Bodies: Methods and Advances in Convict Medicine in the Transportation Era
Health and history 2010; 12(2): 18-38
Recent historical research looks upon the plight of Australian convicts not as victims of a harsh penal system, but as workers whose health had to be judiciously maintained. What then can be said for the medical treatments provided for convict patients during this chapter in Australia's past? Did convicts receive medical treatments with the same measure of importance and urgency as the free populace, or were prisoners' bodies considered with such a measure of insignificance that they provided veritable opportunities for advances in medicine? This article will provide general insight into prison medicine in Australia during the transportation era and how some convicts were subjected to experimental medical practices. It will also place these techniques into a wider global context by considering experimental practices involving convict patients in establishments in other places, such as Wakefield and Bermuda.
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