Ann P. Emerson


Established by royal decree of the king of Spain in 1776, the Regulations for Royal Hospitals provided guidelines for hospital care in royal Spanish hospitals. This included the one in St. Augustine, Florida, during the Second Spanish Period (1783-1821). Other Spanish hospitals at this time were located in Mobile and New Orleans. The set of regulations is among the earliest written documents specifying the role and responsibilities of medical personnel, treatment of patients, content of regular and special diets, and preparation of food for patients. Earlier, in 1570, Phillip II of Spain had established a law to provide his subjects with physicians, and laws passed in 1621 and 1648 declared that physicians must have a degree and a license. The 1776 regulations specify standard diets to be provided to the patient.