The Bubonic Plague: And a Degree of Recognition
In 1894, Hong Kong was struck by the bubonic plague, killing thousands of people. Long-neglected problems of hygiene in the overcrowded Tai Ping Shan area were finally addressed. All houses in the area had to be razed and new houses built in conformity with sanitary regulations on newly laid out streets. Dr. Cantlie later wrote: “For work in the plague hospital under the control of the Alice Memorial Hospital … the students really and spontaneously volunteered for duty in the wars. With the terrors of the disease before them, when many of their friends and relations were dead or dying of the disease ... these students took up their duties in the wards as clerks, dressers, and even nurses in wards in which every patient attacked died.” In the plague’s aftermath, contributions by the medical students were recognized and, gradually, the government’s attitude towards them and the college changed.