Time Travel with ‘London Hospital’


I’ve started watching a British period show, “London Hospital.” Just a warning, if you’re squeamish, be prepared, there are some graphic bits about medical procedures.

Anyway, it’s set around 1906 in the great London Hospital (now the Royal London Hospital). It grabbed me because I adore the show “Call the Midwife,” and the London is a character there as well, serving the poor East End half a century later.

So there it stands, the stalwart hospital. Since 1740.

Imagine that. A hospital in service for nearly 275 years. There’s a new building now, of course, I looked it up, it’s a great big shiny expanse of glass and steel, clean, antiseptic.

But it’s still the same institution, in spirit. It’s incredible to see how brutal medicine looked just over a century ago, how mystifying and obstinate ailments morphed into things we easily tame today, like dehydration.

And I can’t help but think, in a hundred years from now, how brutal our medicine will look, how people will marvel at how easily they tame our most resistant problems. Science is a never-ending journey, and even we have a long, long way to go.

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