Although the colonial population suffered occasional epidemics of smallpox and typhus, they were less devastating than those that struck in France. A medical corps consisting of a small group of doctors, surgeons and apothecaries looked after the health of Canadians. The Intendants played a vital role in establishing an efficient medical system and introducing public health regulations. There was particular concern for the medical care offered to soldiers, for example, and also related to the introduction of midwives, whose status was strictly controlled by the authorities. Generally speaking, people were born and died in their own homes. The sick were cared for in hospitals that resembled those in Europe: there was one ward for men and another for women, and a chapel whose altar had to be visible to all patients. The Hôtel-Dieu and general hospitals in Québec, Montréal and Trois-Rivières were founded and run by female religious communities; their doors were open not only to the sick, but also to poor people, beggars and the elderly, who were expected to help with the work. Most of the plant and mineral products used in the colony's pharmacopoeia came from France, although a number of indigenous plants and some Aboriginal practices were integrated over the years.

Medical Care
Plan, section and elevations of the hospital of Louisbourg, signed by Étienne Verrier, engineer, 1725
FR CAOM 3DFC 153B