Pearson’s Medical Officer Duties

Posted: May 8, 2008 in Dr. Alfred W. Pearson: Jack The Ripper
At this time, I will clarify Dr. Alfred William Pearson’s duties as a Medical Officer of the Number 3 Stourbridge Union, Kingswinford District.

The District Medical Officer

Unions were generally too big an area for a single medical practitioner to cover alone and were usually divided into several districts, each of which was allocated to a District Medical Officer. District Medical Officers were generally employed on an annual contract which, as well as attendance on the sick, usually included the supply of any necessary medicines. For example, in 1835, the Guardians’ minutes of Abingdon Union recorded that James Hester was appointed at £110 per annum "to include all cases of casual poor, accidents, surgery and midwifery, and to supply medicines, ointments, bandages and leeches".

A District Medical Officer’s main duties were:

  • To attend duly and punctually upon all poor persons requiring medical attendance within the District of the Union assigned to him, and supply the requisite medicines to such persons according to a written or printed order of the Guardians, or of a Relieving Officer of the Union, or of an Overseer.
  • To make a return to the Guardians at each meeting of the date of every attendance, and the other particulars required.

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