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  • Rhode Island Hospital 150th Anniversary

    Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO, Lifespan and Rhode Island Hospital, invites you to learn about our 150 years of healing, growth and discovery.

    On September 7, a special WaterFire was held to honor Rhode Island Hospital’s 150th anniversary. The event was co-sponsored by Rhode Island Hospital, the Rhode Island Hospital Guild and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. This video was shot by Richard Bolig.

    150 Years Ago...

    One hundred and fifty years ago, no one knew what caused disease or how it spread. Many physicians bled patients for both physical and mental ailments to restore the balance of “humors” in the body. Surgery was a brutal affair—performed without gloves and in an environment that was anything but sterile.

    Then in 1864, Louis Pasteur discovered that disease was spread by microorganisms—not by unbalanced humors; and in 1867, British surgeon Joseph Lister published Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, which argued that when surgeons washed their hands before surgery and sterilized surgical instruments, fewer patients died of infection. These discoveries transformed medicine.

    One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1863, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted the charter that authorized the building of a new hospital to care for the citizens of the state. The fund to establish a hospital in Rhode Island was initiated with a substantial bequest by Moses Brown Ives, and contributions flowed in from Rhode Islanders from all walks of life. The founders of Rhode Island Hospital had no way of knowing that their hospital would be opening its doors at the cusp of a world-wide revolution in the healing arts.




    150 Years of
    Medical History


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    Rhode Island Hospital’s
    First 150 Years