The phenomenon is hospital consolidation, and historical period drama “Downton Abbey” tackled it with the same gusto with which it took on the deterioration of class hierarchies, the emergence of the women’s liberation movement and many other social issues over six critically acclaimed TV seasons.
At the beginning of the 20th century, hospitals in both England and America were much different places than they are today. They offered basic nursing services to keep patients as comfortable as possible and not much more. These institutions were most typically standalone facilities largely underwritten by local philanthropists.
During this period, modern medicine began to take hold. Sophisticated organizations, often associated with universities and generally in urban areas, began to adopt new ‘technologies’ like operating rooms, pathology, electrocardiograms, X-rays and others. These advances changed the nature of hospitals and healthcare. Hospitals shifted from warehouses for recovery, and often decline, to early examples of what hospitals became in the