Moorish hospital Batavia

From: Iris Bruijn, Ships’surgeons of the Dutch East India Company (Leiden, 2009)117 :The last hospital to be built during the Company period was the Moorish Hospital, which was erected in 1751 as a reception centre for Muslim sailors. In the Moorish Hospital , as it came to be called (het Moorse Ziekenhuis), Muslim physicians treated the patients. These patients were admitted only after having passed a medical examination by the chief surgeon of the Castle; the diagnoses by ship’s surgeons on the ships were not always accepted. Based on the chief surgeon’s examination, the genuinely ill were referred to the superintendant of the Moorish Hospital. Those Muslim servants who were employed ashore were first examined by the oppermeester in the area where they worked. Admissions were entitled to normal provisions (food, clothing and medication) but had their salary withheld during their hospital stays. Ward rounds were to be made twice daily by the superintendent of the hospital, a senior surgeon, assisted by two ondermeesters, and a Muslim physician who was assisted by two other Muslim physicians of lesser rank. The accountant and the commissioner of the hospital were Europeans; the cook and the orderlies were chosen from among the convalescents. In 1752, the position of the Muslim practitioner was abolished on the pretext that the Muslim sailors on board preferred European surgeons and medicines.. In 1753, some Muslim patients were also sent to the Chinese hospital. The commensurate reduction in expenses was partly used to increase the remuneration paid to the superintendent. The Moorish hospital closed down in 1785 by Governor-General W.A. Alting (24 May 1785), due to the high maintenance costs and to the fact that too few pateints sought to be admitted there. Patients were henceforth sent to the Buitenhospitaal.

See Schoute, Occidental therapeutics in the NEI, 69: Theobject of this hospital was to obtain better control over the native sailors who reported sick on arrival at Batavia. When arriving, they used to mix up with the population as quickly as possible and were then difficult to find back, having quitted the Company’s service, often assuming other names or seeking employment elsewhere.The Moorish hospital could hardly be called beautiful, being little more than a brick shed in the neighbourhood of the Castle. From the fairly detailed instructions of this establishment it appeared that at the beginning treatment of interior diseases was entrusted to native surgeons, i.e. surgeons from the native population educated at the Binnenhospitaal,while treatment of external diseases, mostly wounds and ulcers, was entrusted to European surgeons, it being understood that if the paatient was inclined to submit to European attendance, his request should be granted and even encouraged. Admission of native surgeons was given up a year later, however, as it had appeared that sailors on board the vessels had become sufficiently familiar with European medicine. The advantage which thisMoorish hospital in reality furnished, was difficult to ascertain; at all events it was abolished again in 1785, the numbers of sailors of native descent having decreased to such an extent that the number of patients at that hospital became insignificant.

See also: S. Zondervan, Patients of the Colonial State, the rise of a hospital system in the Netherlands  Indies, 1890-1940 (Vianen, 2016), 42.

See J.A. van der Chijs, Plakaatboek 1602-1811 (Batavia 1900) Reglement voor het Moorsche hospitaal bij de fortres Jakatra (1751, J. Mossel) 114-118.

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