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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Gesnerus
Volume (Issue) 69(1)
Page(s) 95 - 109
Title of proceedings Gesnerus


This article deals with medical certificates issued by the physician César Adolph Bloesch (1804-1863) from Biel/Bienne. It aims at examining this service as a part of the medical market in the early 19th century. Firstly, it focuses on four administrative procedures which show how the standardized medical certificate was established at the time. Secondly, it examines how expert testimony in general and medical testimony in particular depended on public and private demand. Finally this study argues that by attesting health or illness, physicians could gain their patient’s confidence and increase their own social capital. For patients a medical certificate could imply release from moral judgement.