It is of curious interest, though not surprising, to find that in the midst of the organization of new hospitals and reorganization of old hospital foundations in the thirteenth century, attempts were made to correct abuses which still continue to be some of the thorny problems of hospital management. For instance, the danger was recognized of having the expenses of administration outrun those of the hospital proper, and of having the number of attendants, or at least of persons living upon the hospital revenues, greater than was absolutely needed for the care of patients. There are various Papal decrees and decisions of diocesan synods in this matter. Pope Honorius III., who occupied the Papal See from 1216 to 1227, and must be considered as a very worthy successor of the first great Pope of the century, Innocent III., in approving the union of two hospital foundations at Ghent, required that only a certain limited number of Brothers and Sisters for nursing purposes should be received, in order that the community expenses proper might not impair to too great a degree the resources of the hospital for its real purpose of taking care of patients. Previously, he had insisted by a decree that the number of Brothers and Sisters in the hospital community at Louvain should not exceed the proportion of more than one to nine of the patients. Synodal decrees in various bishoprics allowed only board and clothing, but nothing more, to attendants in hospitals. In the thirteenth century the personal satisfaction of accomplishing a charitable work in attendance upon the sick was expected to make up for any further remuneration.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)


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