single disease hospital

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single disease hospital

single disease hospital image from New Medical Terms

single disease hospital (tuberculosis sanatorium)


A popular term for a health facility serving patients with a specific disease which has no effective cure.

Over the centuries, single disease hospitals–SDHs have been built for leprosy, tuberculosis*, and mental illness–peak period 1880–1950. As effective therapy becomes available, SDHs lose their raison d’etre and close their doors. Early in the AIDS epidemic, 4% of US hospitals provided care for 32% of AIDS patients, raising the question of whether “AIDS-only” hospitals would serve a purpose, an argument which became moot as effective outpatient treatment came online. Historically, patients in SDHs received sub-optimal care; often the only change in their status was death.

The pros and cons of SDHs are explored in the reference by DJ Rothman, Esq

References Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 1993; Vol 21, Issue 3-4, pages 296–302.
NEJM 1990; 323:764

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