Middle Ages Technologies

Muslim Hospitals

by Chelsea Wills

Before the Islamic world had a well-organized government the world had seen no hospitals to heal the sick. The practice of medicine was mostly performed by priests. Medical treatment was only available in places like Persia and Egypt and the lack of communication between physicians hampered future advancements. There weren’t a lot of places that practiced medicine because think how hard it would be to practice medicine without a well organized government.

When the government became more organized, medical advances started to become easier and hospitals started becoming more and more popular around the Islamic world. Large libraries were attached to the hospitals with up to date books. One of the books they might have had was “The Canon Of Medicine” which was written by Ibn Sina. They also might have had many books from Al Kindi.

Since Baghdad was the new capital the caliphs strongly encouraged all physicians to translate all medical knowledge they had into Arabic so that they could build hospitals there. Having lots of contact with other countries made it easier to share new ideas and methods about medicine. In Baghdad medical schools taught anatomy by dissecting the apes, studying skeletons, and studying didactics. Other schools taught by lectures and illustrations. The Abbasid Khalifa Harun al-Rashid oversaw the building of a large hospital in Baghdad in 805. Al-Rashid lived from 786 to 809. The Abbasid states supported the building of many hospitals across the Islamic world in most major cities during the late 8 th and 9 th centuries. All major Muslim cities possessed one or more large hospital institutions.

Hospitals were divided into two main departments, inpatient and outpatient. If you were an inpatient then you would be admitted to the facility and your belongings would be stored away until the day you were allowed to be discharged. If you were an outpatient then you wouldn’t be admitted to the facility. You would only go to visit the doctor for a check up.

Doctors and nurses had to be well trained. Doctors/nurses that were new to the medical field spent most of their time in the library studying. Male doctors/nurses could only take care of male patients. Female doctors/nurses could only take care of female patients.The physicians who worked in the hospitals were given very large salaries and properties. The government told the physicians that it’s important to keep the hospitals clean because if they didn’t then disease would spread throughout it.


While the interns performeded physical examinations on the patients, they had to report on six major factors: the patient’s actions, location of the pain, any swelling of the body, the feel of the skin, any yellowness in the whites of the eyes, and whether the patient could bend his/her back.

One very famous doctor was Al Razi. He lived from 841-926 AD. Throughout his time he did many different things from advising his medical students to pay close attention to symptoms of disease given in text and compare it with the symptoms of the patient, to being the first to use animal guts for sutures and to make casts for fractured/broken bones.

If you were a patient in the hospital you would notice that there are separate wards for male and female. You would also notice that there are separate wards for different kinds of diseases. All the physicians were instructed to keep medical records on all patients. Keeping medical records on all patients was a great achievement in the medical field. All patients that came to hospitals were cared for, no matter what sex, religion, race, and no matter whether rich or poor. Another important thing is that insane patients were cared for too.

If you were sick in the hospital then one treatment the physicians might try before using drugs is feeding you food with proper nutrition and lots of exercise. If that didn’t work then they would try drugs. First they would try a simple drug like honey, seeds, herbs, or just anything else that was natural. If a simple drug didn’t work then you would be given a safe combination of drugs. The physicians were aware of reactions between certain drugs. If drugs didn’t work then you would undergo surgery. If surgery was successful then would be fine. If it wasn’t then chances are you would die.

So with all these advancements the Muslims had they were able to help people live longer. Thanks to the well organized governement more hospitals started appearing around the Muslim world. Remember without the government, medical advances during this time period would probably not have happened because they sponsored education, hygiene, regulations, and building.