The Layman's View of Hospital Work, September 17, 1907 (excerpt)



Settlement Worker Says Poor Are Overlooked in Hospitals.

Chicago, Sept. 18. -- Miss Jane Addams yesterday afternoon gave a talk at the American Hospital association convention in the Palmer house that caused considerable comment.

She spoke by special invitation, on "The Layman's View of Hospital Work," and her ideas were plainly stated. Dr. H. B. Howard, superintendent of the Massachusetts General hospital, made the principal reply to Miss Addams. In rejoinder, she stated she had investigated her subject.

"There is an inclination in some quarters to overlook the individuality. The same treatment is not always accorded charity patients that is given those with money. It is different with the hospitals of France. There everyone is placed upon the same plane.

"In America, contagious causes are rushed away and isolated, and relatives are unable to see the sufferers. In France, they are placed in wards partitioned off with glass, and the patients can be visited and hold conversation with those dear to them.

"Again, it is common in this country to rush a charity patient out as soon as he is able to leave his bed. In Germany, it is almost compulsory for the hospital to keep convalescent patients until they are able to go back to work."

When she finished Dr. Howard arose and with some trace of indignation said if Miss Addams had investigated the cases cited she would have seen there was no reason to argue charity patients didn't receive enough consideration.

Dr. Howard stated the glass idea was all right except for the cost. Miss Addams said she knew certain people left hospitals with hallucinations, but the cases she referred to had been carefully investigated. Another physician stated the hospital which showed a preference for well to do patients needed a new superintendent.

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