Maribor General Hospital from its foundation until World War II
The author describes the history of Maribor General Hospital from its foundation in 1799 until the beginning of World War II. In 1799 the magistrate of the town of Maribor issued a memorandum regarding the establishment of a town hospital in the renovated building of the town hospice, providing space for 24 patients. The work of the hospital was carried out in the former hospice building until 1855. In the period between its establishment and eventual relocation 26 beds were added. The last two decades of the hospital's operation at the original location were marked by the assiduous work of the town's physicist, Dr. Anton Kuker. In the first half of the 19th century, the population of Maribor grew rapidly as a consequence of the construction of the Southern Railway. The town authorities therefore purchased the Prosenjak family villa in the Magdalena suburbs and relocated the hospital to it in 1855, providing 28 rooms for 110 patients. For a whole century, the care of patients was taken over by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. The hospital was soon admitting over 1000 patients a year, the most common complaints being pulmonary catarrh, gastritis and fever. In 1872, when the Master of Surgery Feliks Ferk joined the hospital, the internal "medical" and the "external" surgical departments were formed. Although medical studies were not easily accessible, there were a number of Slovene physicians working in the hospital and the town in that period. In the last decades of the 19th century, the hospital was often renovated and enlarged. The infrastructure (telephone, water supply system, heating, lighting) had also been modernized before World War I. In 1914, the first X-ray apparatus was purchased. Between the wars, the hospital's development was boosted by recruitment of the Slovene physicians Ivan Matko, Mirko Černič, Janko Dernovšek and Hugon Robič. The initial external and medical departments split into several departments: internal medicine, surgery, dermatovenereology, gynecology and obstetrics, infectious diseases, X-ray institute, autopsy department, and pulmonary department. A department of otology and ophthalmology was also founded. After the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Maribor Hospital was no longer overshadowed by the formerly dominant regional hospital in Graz in present-day Austria. A greater number of patients entailed more rapid professional development. At the beginning of World War II, the hospital comprised six departments, two institutes and a dispensary, and had an elaborate administrative structure with numerous support services.