Article ID: CBB001200763

Rheumatic Fever in Ireland: The Role of Dr Monica Lea Wilson (1889--1971) (2013)


In 1869 William Stokes pointed out that the severity of rheumatic fever in Dublin had declined over recent decades. Similar worldwide decline led to the closure of many internationally famous rheumatic fever centres. The discovery by Robert Collis that rheumatic fever was a sequel to haemolytic streptococcal infection and the subsequent discovery of penicillin accelerated the decline. St Gabriel's Hospital in Dublin opened in 1951 under the clinical direction of Dr Monica Lea Wilson. Contrary to contemporary medical opinion a regimen of very prolonged bed rest was enforced. From 1961 the family doctors became concerned at the adverse psychological effects of the unnecessarily prolonged hospital stay. Twenty-seven of the 56 inpatients were re-assessed. None of them showed any evidence of active rheumatic fever and their parents took them home. The hospital closed in 1968. Dr Lea Wilson distanced herself from mainstream medicine and she is best remembered for having presented an unrecognized Caravaggio painting to the Jesuit Order in recognition of their pastoral support at the time of the controversial assassination in 1920 of her husband Percival, an Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary.

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Authors & Contributors
Nelson, E. Charles
Schlumbohm, Jürgen
Wright, Margaret R.
Henderson, Metta Lou
Rosof, Patricia J. F.
Boschma, Geertje
Archives of Natural History
Medical History
Pharmacy in History
Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Journal of the Early Republic
A. & A. Farmar
Manchester University Press
The Wellcome Trust Center for the History of Medicine at University College London
London Publishing Partnership
University of Toronto
Women in medicine
Medicine and gender
Hospitals and clinics
Medical education and teaching
Sabin, Florence Rena
Cameron, Charles Alexander
Winterhaler, Elisabeth
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
United States
Dublin (Ireland)
Boston (Massachusetts, U.S.)
Natural History Society of Dublin
Universität Göttingen
Royal College of Surgeons, London

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