Leprosy

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Submitted By ihatescience
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Who treated the lepers? Where were they treated?
Although, there were educated doctors in the Medæval Times, it is important to note that doctors were usually not the arbiters of the disease. In fact, often priests or other clergy [see the Bible and Leprosy section] and sometimes, even the paupers diagnosed this disease. It is also interesting to note that the title “Leprosy” was often misused and employed to describe a range of other disfiguring illnesses.

When diagnosed, (although they were likely not to admit it!) many doctors didn’t know how to treat leprosy so the cure was often isolation. The lepers were banished to Leper Hospitals and Leper Colonies.

Leper Hospitals were the commonplace lepers were sent to help stem the spread of the disease. Leprosy was prevalent in Norway in the Medæval Times and, there are many records of Leper Hospitals and the disease still strewn over the country.

Although Leper Hospitals were putrid places, Leper Hospitals also often housed the poor and sick – those desperate or hungry enough to risk infection because they were surprisingly wealthy places. Due to the communities’ fear of lepers and the disease, people not only paid taxes to the hospitals but also donated, paid tolls and left endowments to the hospitals. (Endowments accounted for much of the average hospital’s wealth!) Depending on the hospital and financial status of the leper, lepers could be asked to pay admission fees, too!

A leper colony was a place that the lepers could live in groups of their own “kind”. Other names for leper colonies: leprosarium; lazar house. An afflicted person (a leper, obviously!) could be made comfortable without the possibility of spreading the contagion but thus isolating them from public exposure.

Often, leprosy meant separation from the family, friends and spouses of the leper. Some European countries allowed the…...

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