Other Wind
02 / February02 / February02 / February

Services Rendered

While processing and reading some old court files last week, I came across a suit in which a doctor (or, as he was called in the file, a “physician and surgeon”) was suing his patient for “…the sum of Twenty-four pounds Virginia money Equal to Eighty Dollars.” This balance was his fee for services rendered, or as he describes, “…for…the healing and curing…of divers wounds diseases and maladies under which (the defendant) laboured and languished at the special instance and request of (the defendant) and for divers medicines medicinal potions plaisters and other necessary things….” I can’t make out most of the words describing the services rendered—I don’t know if they aren’t written clearly enough or if I’m not familiar enough with medical terminology from 1798 Knoxville. The word bloodletting is listed several times, however, making me dismiss any notion I have of past times being peachier than the 21st century.