The New Hospital is established by Nicholas Bulstrode (who finances and manages it) and Tertius Lydgate (who serves as the medical director) as a way to raise the standard of medical care in Middlemarch. They plan to conduct research there and even hope to open an affiliated medical school one day. The New Hospital is thus designed to be a cutting-edge institution in the midst of a largely backwards, provincial area that tends to be resistant to technological progress and reform. The resistance of the local people makes it difficult for the New Hospital to flourish; none of the Middlemarch doctors will work there, and Lydgate thus has to employ people from outside the area. Ultimately the financial scandal that drives both Bulstrode and Lydgate from Middlemarch dooms the hospital to failure, and after this point it is attached to the Old Infirmary. Even without the scandal, however, it is unclear whether the New Hospital would have been able to survive. It symbolizes the difficulty of progress in an area where most people are skeptical of reform. While Bulstrode, Lydgate, and Dorothea have great hopes for the hospital, most of the characters are still too attached to the old way of doing things to see the advantages a new institution could bring.
New Hospital Quotes in Middlemarch
‘The standard of that profession is low in Middlemarch, my dear sir,’ said the banker. ‘I mean in knowledge and skill; not in social status, for our medical men are most of them connected with respectable townspeople here. My own imperfect health has induced me to give some attention to those palliative resources which the divine mercy has placed within our reach. I have consulted eminent men in the metropolis, and I am painfully aware of the backwardness under which medical treatment labours in our provincial districts.’
The immediate motive to the opposition, however, is the fact that Bulstrode has put the medical direction into my hands. Of course I am glad of that. It gives me an opportunity of doing some good work - and I am aware that I have to justify his choice of me. But the consequence is, that the whole profession in Middlemarch have set themselves tooth and nail against the Hospital, and not only refuse to co-operate themselves, but try to blacken the whole affair and hinder subscriptions.