Makrizy, an Arabic historian, who wrote in the year 1421, tells us of the first hospital and lunatic wards with which Egypt was endowed. It appears that in 1278, a.d., a mamaluke called Kalaoon was attacked by a violent colic at Damascus, and, being cured by medicines from the hospital there, he vowed in gratitude that he would build a similar hospital should he ever come to the throne of Egypt. The following year he commenced a reign of eleven years, during which he seized Tripoli, recaptured Damascus, and governed his subjects at home by alternate acts of cruelty and beneficence. In one of his fits of anger he is said to have delivered up Cairo to sword and plunder for three days. He bartered one of his buildings for an old palace, turned the latter into a hospital, and built close by a school, and a mosque for his own burial place. His architect worked with such energy that the whole was completed in less than twelve months; but his excessive zeal made him unpopular with the ecclesiastics of the day. This is not to be wondered at, for he compelled all the artisans to work exclusively for him; he looted the citadel of Roda of granite and marble columns, and he used to stand on the scaffolds himself, and, by the aid of mamalukes in the streets, compelled passers by of every rank to carry stones for the building, so that no one would come that way if he could help it! Kalaoon endowed the hospital with money for wards and out-patients, and desired that all should make use of it—rich and poor, great and small, bond and free. His arrangements included doctors with fixed salaries, male and female nurses, beds and bedclothes, special wards for fevers, ophthalmia, wounds, diarrhoea, obstetrics, and phthisis, kitchen, wine, dispensary and medicines, and even a medical lecture-room. Fifty readers of the Koran were provided for the mosque-tomb, to lecture to thirty students of theology belonging to all the four sects, also a library with six eunuch attendants, and a school for orphan children.
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