Elizabeth Koester will present, “From Marketplace to Monopoly: The Role of the Legal System in Advancing the Interests of Physicians in Early Twentieth Century Ontario”
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Elizabeth Koester is PhD Candidate at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation research examines the law and eugenics in Ontario from 1900 to 1939 and draws on her recent studies in the history of science and medicine, as well as on her background of almost fifteen years practising law in Toronto.
Abstract: At the beginning of the twentieth century, healing in Ontario was provided to the public by a variety of practitioners, ranging from homeopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors and Christian Scientists to physicians educated at the University of Toronto, which was considered to have one of the best medical faculties in North America. Yet today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, healing is primarily in the hands of the medical profession. History teaches us that this development was neither preordained nor inevitable: by examining the records and report of the 1915 Royal Commission into Medical Education in Ontario as well as some intriguing court cases from this period about the legal meaning of “the practice of medicine,” (some of which involved private detectives, electric knobs and back rubs!) we see some of the ways in which the medical profession at the time attempted to make use of the law in its efforts to establish its own professional authority and dominance over the variety of other healers.