No laws governed the practice of medicine in the early days in New France. Letters patent from the King, and even degrees, were easily obtained by those who would practice as physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, midwives, and bonesetters. Many of the more qualified persons were connected with the religious orders or with the military.1(p14) In 1658, Jean Madry, "a practising physician of the Corporation of Barber Surgeons of Paris," returned to Quebec, carrying with him a King's commission authorizing him to institute a school of barber surgeons. He did not start such a school, and no law existed that physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, or midwives were required to attend any school. However, Madry did train apprentices.2(p225),3(p16)
Abuses of laissez-faire systems develop inevitably. When they did in New France, the Intendant Bigot responded in 1750 with a bill (L'Acte Medicale du Canada) which Heagerty considers the code of the medical profession
Paterson GR. Canadian Pharmacy in Preconfederation Medical Legislation. JAMA. 1967;200(10):849–852. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120230101014
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