The story comes from Hanmer in Flintshire in the seventeenth century and concerns Elinor Evans who was a maidservant. She had injured her ankle and a surgeon named William Jones was called. She had financial assistance from her friends and neighbours to pay for treatment. It cost 30 shillings. You can judge for yourself whether she got value for money.
Sadly it did not go well. Once he had the money he neglected his duties.
In a short tyme (her) legg and bonn did putrifye and petrishe.
Now personally I would regard this as bad news. Elinor did too.
She called him back and gave him more money, this time to perform an amputation. For those of you who know Flaubert’s Madame Bovary there are certain echoes here. But it gets worse. He now decided to devote more time to her than he had originally, for he
did so perswade and entise (her) to yeald and consent to his leud and fleshly desire that he begat her with child.
Perhaps in those pre-anaesthetic days it was the only way he had to take her mind off things. Perhaps his only hope of success in establishing adult relationships came with a woman who might struggle to run away, but perhaps I am being unkind.
Jones had been bound over to appear at Denbigh Great Sessions, since he was being pursued for maintenance and he had gone into hiding. Sadly I don’t know any more than this, but it certainly adds a little something to the traditional doctor/patient relationship.
But if Elinor had had access to those amputation tools the story might have ended very differently