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Salpetriere Hospital. Engraving of Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, France. Founded in 1656, the hospital was initially known as the Hospice de la Viellese. The French king gave the grounds of a small arsenal as a site; the arsenal had made saltpetre and the hospital gained its present name. The hospital originally treated women and children, particularly criminals and prostitutes, housing 8000 patients in squalid conditions. Conditions improved in 1800 and the mortality rate dropped by 75%. Jean-Martin Charcot worked there and through him it became renowned for neurology and psychiatric care. It is now a major teaching hospital for many branches of medicine and surgery.
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