Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The workhouse
  Medical help for very poor people  
  In Victorian times many poor people could not get medical help because they could not afford doctor’s fees. The Machynlleth Union employed doctors as medical officers who would treat the sick paupers in their area.
Treatment was primitive compared to today’s medical care but the doctors did do their best for their patients.
  Entry from Union records.

The first part of this extract from the records of the MachynllethDrawing of a leech Poor Law Union reads:
"...ought to pay Jane Brees for attending to apply leeches to this pauper..."

Leeches are blood-sucking worms. At one time doctors regularly put leeches on the bodies of their patients to drink their blood. It was believed to be effective against fevers.
Specially bred medical leeches are still occasionally used today for some treatments. Yuk !

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