The Hooper's bed

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 16 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1426
  1. Claudio Crisci, chief consultant (claudio.crisci{at}
  1. “Clinic Center,” Private Hospital for Rehabilitation, Naples, Italy

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    A water flotation mattress was used at the St George Hospital to prevent pressure sores, as described by Professor Ch. Sarazin of the Medical School of Strasbourg in his pamphlet Essai sur les Hopitaux de Londres (Essay on the London Hospitals) published in 1866. Professor Sarazin gives credit for this invention to William Hooper of London, an ingenious artisan who probably made the mattress at the suggestion of Caesar Hawkins of the St George Hospital, who first described the device, remarkably similar to those we still use today, in a letter to the Lancet.

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