Jens Andreas Holmboe (1827-1876)

From 1858 to 1863, Holmboe was a physician at all three leprosy hospitals in Bergen.

Portrait J. A. Holmboe.

Holmboe was born in Bergen, passed the medical exam in 1853, and then worked as district medical officer in Hardanger for five years. 

In 1858, he began working as a physician at all three leprosy hospitals in Bergen. He was an assistant physician at Lungegård Hospital, which included supervision of St. Jørgen’s Hospital, and, at the same time, worked as a physician at Pleiestiftelsen Hospital. 

Holmboe found it challenging to work as a physician at Pleiestiftelsen, as it was not strictly a hospital but primarily intended as a care institution. The institution was administered by a superintendent, and Holmboe openly opposed many of the decisions made by ‘non-medical personnel’ about how it was run. He describes how doctors did not have the authority to decide much more than how patients were allocated different rooms, in consultation with the superintendent. Medical activities were confined to treating common illnesses, ‘illnesses that can afflict people with leprosy just like anyone else’. He concluded that he was ‘no more than a family doctor at the institution.’ It was not until 1895, long after Holmboe’s time, that doctors were also given responsibility for how institutions were run.

In 1863, Holmboe began working as a senior consultant at Bergen kommunale sykehus (local hospital for Bergen municipality), a position he held until his death in 1876.

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