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Dayton, Ohio - An Intimate History
Chapter Twenty-One






The doctors of Dayton! What a fine group they have been and still are!  In my girlhood I used to know them all, as, in the inevitable horse and buggy, they drive on their patient-seeing rounds through the muddy streets of Dayton or out in the country roads. Now I know so few.

My acquaintance with the profession was a vicarious one, through my father, Dr. J. C. Reeve, who had his office in the ‘sixties on the southwest corner of Fourth and Ludlow, and in the ‘seventies on the southwest corner of Third and Wilkinson. His home in the former locality was an old-fashioned brick house with none of the ancient and mistaken ideas of building left out. The house fronted on Fourth Street, and the office on Ludlow, between them a large yard occupying the vacant corner. Nothing more pleasant could be imagined than that yard shaded with cedars and maples, planted with roses and flowering shrubs, a long grape arbor running the length of the side porch effectually shutting out all the light a family of children needed to grow up on.

That a physician could live in such a house is an indication of the status of the profession and of domestic architecture in that day. No bathroom, no furnace, few and small windows and both dining room and kitchen on different levels from the sitting room; bedrooms all opening into each other, a cellar damp from frequent inundations of the Miami River. But every other doctor lived in that kind of a house; neither doctors, architects or housekeepers having waked up.

In the office on Ludlow Street in the early days congregated doctors intent on discussions, “cases,” or playing chess or merely exchanging stories and jokes. Among the older doctors at that time were Dr. Job Haines, then the dean of the Dayton profession, wearing a long blue coat and brass buttons; Dr. Steele, whose office was just a block north on the same corner; Dr. Hibbert Jewett and his son, Adams Jewett, both fine men, their characteristics repeated in the third Dr. Jewett, Henry  S. Jewett, who came along a generation later. At the Third Street office there were as occasional droppers-in  Dr. Thomas L. Neal, Dr. Jennings, Dr. Goodhue, Dr. Clark McDermont, Dr. Shriver, Dr. Pilate, Dr. W. J. Conklin, Dr. John Davis.

The doctors of that day, if we may accept the impressions of a little girl, affected certain mannerisms now happily laid aside. Dr. S. G. Armor, from whom my father bought the Fourth and Ludlow corner, had a large practice, a black beard and a profoundly professional manner. He began his examination of a patient by rubbing his hands together and exclaiming, “Well! well! well! and how are we today?” When a patient gave a discouraging report to the usual first question as to elimination (only the doctors were plainer spoken in those days) Dr. Armor always shook his head and purred sonorously, “Ah, torpid! torpid!” Another practitioner, a little hipped (we thought) on diet, used to condemn crackers because they were, he said, “highly farinaceous, highly farinaceous.” We have fallen on lowlier days when we say “too starchy,” but both the old and the modern doctors were right. However, we could hardly help overdoing the starchy foods through the long winters with no fresh fruits or vegetables, from September when corn and melons disappeared, to May when radishes and lettuce came in. The more I consider what the doctors of an earlier generation used to be up against, the more I am inclined to admire their capabilities.

Three times a week old Kitty stood at the hitching post in front of a certain house on West Second Street, where just that number of sick headaches appeared regularly for the mother of the family. It was the inevitable result of closed windows with cracks filled with lint for the winter, an “air-tight stove” drying out the atmosphere in every room; pork, fried potatoes, pie, coffee, made up the daily menu of every family. No use for my father to have ordered the windows opened wide, even if he had known enough, which he didn’t. He slept with closed windows himself and thrived on it up to past ninety. Such orders in the ‘sixties would not have been obeyed, so he just went on comfortably giving calomel.

The word “sanitation” had not been invented. The streets carried the same accumulations for years, first churned up as mud and dried out to be blown over the city as dust. Manure piles hatched out flies by the million, which were never gotten rid of, only scared away temporarily at meal time to go and settle somewhere else. If a baby broke out with measles the doctor said : ”Grease him and keep him warm. It’s just as well. It’s going round and he’d have caught it anyway.” In case of the more virulent diseases, scarlet fever or diphtheria, few precautions against contagion were taken beyond a card on the front door which the neighbors did not take seriously. In those pre-sewer days, household refuse was thrown on the back premises. Carpets having been tacked down all winter were in the spring hung on a line and pounded with a broom-stick until the dust was well distributed throughout the neighborhood.

Those were the days when a doctor made his own pills and plasters, now the products of scientific laboratories; when he took off his coat and operated in his shirt sleeves with instruments that had been cleaned at the kitchen sink. Now what boilings and sterilizings of everything in the remotest connection with an open wound! Those were the days when a doctor drove six miles up the Covington Pike and brought a baby to a farmer’s wife for five dollars. When he hitched up his horse in the buggy shafts and drove unheard of miles in stormy weather except a leather apron fastened to the dashboard, and which always leaked. There have been many books and papers written about the family doctor and his self-forgetful service to humanity, but not by any means enough. He did not look like a hero, climbing stiffly out of a buggy in raincoat and slouch hat after a drive of twenty miles, but his portrait would be more complete with a pair of wings sprouting from his shoulders.

Another striking contrast between doctors of that day and this is that medical custom and social habits give a certain amount of protection to his leisure. The doctors of the ‘seventies and ‘eighties were slaves to the public; forever at the beck and call of small unimportant demands. No office hours, all around the clock was office hours, no secretary to meet patients and make appointments; no possibility of theatres, concerts or other social pleasures. A sufferer who was too busy during the week to call on the doctor took Sunday morning to do it. I grew up with a firmly fixed adage in my mind: “Let the doctor alone on Sunday.” Night calls were inevitable. I have seen my father, after a long hard day, sitting with his head in his hands bowed before the open fire, looking up hopefully from time to time at the clock. When it struck nine he was reasonably sure no one would open his office door. I have seen him go upstairs to bed. Hardly had the light gone out and he comfortable settled than a sharp peremptory ring at the bell meant that he must rise, go to the barn, hitch up Kitty and drive to a distant country call. Oliver Wendell Holmes has preserved this situation in the amber of his clever verse:


                 Hour after hour the busy day has found

                 The  good physician on his lonely round.

Mansion and hovel, low and lofty door

He knows, his journeys every path explore

Where the cold blast has struck with deadly chill

The sturdy dweller on the storm-swept hill

And where the solemn whisper tells too plain

That all his science, all his art were vain.


How sweet his fireside when the day is done

And cares have vanished with the setting sun!

Evening at last its hour of respite brings

And on his couch his weary length he flings,

Soft be thy pillow, servant of mankind,

Lulled by an opiate art could never find!

Sweet be thy slumber – thou hast earned it well,

Pleasant thy dreams – Clang! Goes the midnight bell!


Darkness and storm, the home is far away

That waits his coming ere the break of day

The snow-clad pines their wintery plumage toss,

Doubtful the frozen streams his road must cross,

Deep lie the drifts, the slanted heaps have shut

The  hardy woodman in his mountain hut.


Why should thy softer frame the tempest brave?

Hast thou no life, no health to lose or save?

Look. Read the answer in his patient eyes,

For him no other voice when suffering cries.

Deaf to the gale which all around him blows,

A feeble whisper calls him and he goes.


Another pitiful handicap to the medical profession fifty years ago was the lack of trained nurses. The profession, as such, had not been born. In a maternity case the nearest neighbor took hold. It was hard on her, to leave her own household and still harder on the patient. But both had to stand it. There were, it is true, in every community a few women who answered calls, but they were mostly good-hearted creatures without a vestige of scientific knowledge. It seemed to be a generally accepted principle that when a woman was too old and feeble to do anything else it was time for her to take up nursing. Bitter memories arise in my own mind of snuff-taking, beer-guzzling old harridans, real “Sairey Gramps” before “Sariey’s day, who inhabited our home at stated intervals and left my mother in tears and with a new baby.

One outstanding fact in considering the early Dayton doctors is that few of them in the beginning possessed a medical degree. Practitioners in the east had their degrees from Europe since there were few or no medical colleges in the United States. But those in the west learned their medicine from older doctors in whose offices they studied and when they accompanied in their patient-seeing rounds. The senior physicians acted as censors to judge on the qualifications of an applicant for a license to practice medicine within a certain district. Our local district was made up of the counties of Montgomery, Preble, Drake, Miami, Greene and Champaign. This informal procedure lasted as late as 1896, when the State Medical Practice Act began to be enforced. The requirements then became much more strict, a high school graduation and a diploma from a recognized medical college before being permitted to take the examination. Since 1916 the applicant, in addition to high school is required to have had two years of “pre-medic” collegiate work before enrollment in a medical college.

As early as 1816 the need of closer association among the physicians was recognized and a medical society was organized and met more or less regularly for thirty years. In 1849 when Dayton had grown to be a city of ten thousand population, there were forty-one physicians, one to two hundred and sixty-eight people. The society was then reorganized to take in outside practitioners, and became the Montgomery County Medical Society, which except during the four years of the Civil War has functioned regularly and effectively ever since. As stated in the constitution, the objects are the improvement of the members in scientific and professional knowledge, the promotion of personal character and fellowship and the elevation of standards of medical education.

A consideration of the medical profession is impossible without dealing with the Board of Health, the last logical outcome of the first. In 1868 the first Board of Health was established with Dr. Thomas L. Neal, who served for sixteen years, as health officer. The first obligation which met the members was the necessity for sewers. It was plain to the doctors, if to nobody else, that Dayton’s water supply was being contaminated by the proximity of wells and cesspools in an under strata of gravel. Sewers are expensive luxuries, and Dayton was small and poor. More than twenty years of agitation elapsed before our present system of sewers was accomplished. It will scarcely be believed that as a system of sewers was accomplished. It will scarcely be believed as late as 1913 there still remained fifteen thousand open vaults and cesspools in Dayton, each a potential threat of disease.

A pure water system is an imperative condition of every community, and in this as in all other health measures, the doctors have always been to the fore, battling against the mountainous odds of prejudice, ignorance and penury. The people who had been getting their drinking water from a pump in close proximity to a privy vault did not realize the danger, and objected to the extra taxes a system of water works would involve. To describe the long and discouraging struggle, involving the survey of wells, the bacteriological examination of water, the arguments for and against in the daily papers is too long a story to tell here. Suffice it to say that we now have the Holly system, which assures us pure water. The orders, “All wells for drinking purposes will be condemned and city water installed,” doubtless meant expense and trouble for many citizens which they could ill afford, but its ultimate result was a lowering of the death rate, and that is what the doctors seem to live for.

With all these things in view it has seemed wise, instead of listing the physicians by name, with limited biographical data for each (a long and possibly uninteresting story) to make this chapter a history of their accomplishments as a corporate unit. A doctor does not work for renown; he works for results with the statistics of health as his gospel. He does his little bit in preventive medicine; the rest all help. As the years grow the work widens and improves. Dayton shows the accomplishments in a lowered infant mortality rate and longer lives for the majority, whether they know about it or not. The doctors put forth their best efforts, not so much toward the curing of disease, which is where they make  their living,  as to the prevention of disease,  where they don’t make anything at all.

Therefore, the sewer system may be said to be in a way, a monument to the vigilance and public spirit of the medical men of Dayton. Similarly are the hospitals, which not only could not exist without the service of the profession, but are a direct result of the initiative and devoted service of the physicians.

No element in the preservation of public health is more basic than a pure milk supply. Until 1889 no notice was taken by public officials of the conditions operating in the production and distribution of milk. Indeed, it was only beginning to be suspected what horrors lie in the treatment of milk and the danger involved to the babies. Dirty stables, dirty cows, dirty hands to milk them, dirty cans and dirty premises were the rule forty years ago. The Medical Society of New Jersey began the agitation for pure milk, but it was a long time getting under way. The public would not believe in the danger, the babies had nothing to say because they couldn’t. Their only reaction to the situation was to die in large numbers, which they promptly and continually did.

From the doctors of New Jersey a new term came into the vocabulary of health prevention, “certified milk,” meaning milk that had been produced under law-regulated conditions. This subject began to be agitated in medical magazines, but very rarely in the public press. In the ‘nineties two young women physicians, Dr. Gertrude Felker and Dr. Everhard came from Boston fresh from experience in the Massachusetts General Hospital and from health work among the poor. The former read a paper before the Montgomery County Medical Society on the necessity of milk control. Dr. Light, having young children of his own, took it up. In 1907 a committee was formed consisting of Drs. A. L. Light, chairman, C. W. King, J. S. Beck, D. B. Conklin, A. H. Lane, George Goodhhue, H. O. Collins. After due examination the report given was that the dairies of Ohio, and Dayton in particular, were just as bad as those in New Jersey, and that “there was not a drop of milk in Dayton fit for the children to drink”

It is only fair to state that the dairymen themselves were waking up and a few declared themselves interested in constructing barns and dairies after the advice of the Department of Agriculture at Washington. Therefore, for their first allies against public ignorance and indifference the doctors had a few intelligent dairymen. “Certified Milk” became the slogan for both, which now means tuberculin-inspected cows, kept with as scrupulous care as a human baby, scrubbed before each milking, milked by electricity, housed in barns as clean as a parlor, situated with regard to perfect drainage, cared for by white-uniformed attendants, who are inspected as often as the cows, twice a year by the American Medical Milk Commission, Inc. (a nation-wide organization), and very often by the medical corps. The public may thus be assured that while they pay more for “certified” milk than for the old-time raw milk, they are thereby assured of as perfect freedom from contamination as human ingenuity can accomplish.

In a less understood but no less important matter have the doctors of Dayton interested themselves in a better building code for the city. At a meeting of the Montgomery County Medical Society as early as 1905 the matter came up for consideration, and a committee was appointed to bring the matter before the City Council. The population of Dayton at that time was 100,000, and growing constantly. The need for buildings resulted in the construction of many in which the needs of light, air and safety were disregarded. It was Mr. Kearns who introduced into the City Council the building code. “Necessity for building regulations in the City of Dayton,” backed by the Medical Society. Dr. Webster Smith served as the medical member on the committee.

The usual discouraging delays arising from public indifference and scarcity of funds occurred. Two things were necessary to bring the plan to fruition: the dreadful catastrophe of the Collinwood school fire in Cleveland, and the city manager plan of government in Dayton. The State building code was also a contributing help, and since 1916 we have had a satisfactory building code.

Of no accomplishment may the physicians of Dayton be more justly proud than the campaign against that fearful scourge of the human race – tuberculosis. Dr. J. S. Beck was one of the first movers in this enterprise. Through a committee appointed of both doctors in the Medical Society and laymen measures were taken with a double purpose, first educating the public on preventive means, and next of establishing a sanitarium for the nursing care of tuberculosis patients. Both are now in process of accomplishment; the Stillwater Sanitarium in a pleasant situation on the Covington Pike, has a medical director and a full time physician, a sufficient number of consulting physicians and a full corps of nurses. The tuberculosis clinic opened in 1921 is a clearing house for the sanitarium. Patients receive there examination and advice, if found advisable, and are sent to the sanitarium. The society publishes pamphlets for the instruction of parents on preventive measures, and others for distribution to factory workers, and from time to time issues newspaper publicity in behalf of disease prevention.

The latest example of preventive work sponsored by the medical profession under the Health Education Committee is the examination of supposedly well children. It began in 1914, and is intended to point out to parents certain conditions in their children which should be corrected. This measure, at first meeting with not a little opposition is now generally accepted as a wise means of ascertaining disease conditions before they become active.

The goal towards which the physicians are constantly working is a lowered death rate. In New Zealand in 1920 it was 50.4 per thousand; in Dayton in 1925 it was 51.7 per thousand. Total death rate in Rotterdam in 1926 was 8.3 per thousand: in Dayton it was 11.6. If the public were as careful as they should be and obeyed unquestionably the orders of the doctors we should have only the unpreventable cases of disease and death. Fifty per cent, we are told, could be eliminated if the public were alive to the facts. No stronger proof of this could be needed than an experience with an epidemic of smallpox which occurred about twenty years ago, and can be verified by consulting the figures still on record in the health archives.

A child in a certain schoolroom was discovered to be flushed with fever and was sent home. Another child and then another displayed the same symptoms; in short the doctors found they had a well-defined epidemic of smallpox on their hands. Forty, in all, contracted the disease. Investigation elicited the fact that only ten per cent of the children in that school had been vaccinated; that further every vaccinated child in that deadly schoolroom had escaped contagion, even the one occupying the same seat with the first victim, while every unvaccinated child without exception came down with the disease. A chart of the area affected, still to be consulted, shows the absolute preventive effects of vaccination. Public opinion in some quarters opposes compulsory vaccination as an interference with the liberty of the individual. In this case the fanatic effort to preserve personal liberty resulted in the freedom of forty children to suffer pain and fever from a loathsome disease with disfiguring results; liberty of the well children to be deprived of school privileges while the building was empty and fumigated; the parents had liberty to destroy every article of clothing and furniture and bedding in those forty homes where the patients had been nursed; liberty on the part of the teachers to lose their pay until health conditions were restored; liberty on the part of the tax-paying public for loss of public funds through the School Board for repairs and renovation. All  because of the unwillingness of the public to take the advice of the physicians on medical matters. It would seem that liberty may be purchased at too high a price.

School inspection proved most unpopular when it was first instituted. Parents were heard to say that it was none of the city’s business what condition their children were in. They resented both the questions and the examinations. At one time this inspection resulted in the finding of eighteen cases of diphtheria and as many of scarlet fever in one locality in one month. From such a focus Dayton would speedily have become a pesthouse. Severe quarantine and regulation confined the contagion to its original locality and saved hundreds of lives.

A large wall map hanging in the Division of Health carries pins indicating sporadic cases of contagious disease. With the first registered outbreak the inspectors, doctors and nurses appear like a defensive army. The premises are cleaned, disinfected and isolated, and the patient treated and quarantined. Thus with argus-eyed and never-ceasing activity the health of the city is protected.

It has never, it seems, been sufficiently recorded, the debt that the city owes to the medical profession after the flood of 1913. When that sudden and terrifying disaster enveloped our community, the people were temporarily paralyzed. It was the doctors who answered most quickly to the call for redemptive efforts. Those in the center of the town had lost every instrument, bandage and medicine bottle they possessed, but their own arms and legs still functioned, and with these they hastened to do what they could.

The War Department at Washington had loaned Major Thomas L. Rhoads, himself a physician, as special representative of President Wilson and chief sanitary officer, and he came to the aid of the stricken city. Dr. Wm. A. Ewing was the local physician who acted with Major Rhoads; together they divided the city into sixteen districts, a doctor in charge of each district with other willing helpers as aids. Dr. George Goodhue was head of one district; Drs. Josh. Kramer, E. M. Huston, F. R. Henry, L. G. Bowers, A. H. Dunham, C. C. Davisson, Charles Ginn, A. L. Light, D. B. Conklin, Dr. Prathers, others. Their work was to inspect premises and houses, get helpers together and instruct the people what was to be done. A stupendous task it was which faced them. In some cases the storm sewers had invaded the sanitary sewers and the contents poured into homes, covering everything with a loathsome muck. Even before the city was controlled by militia and Dr. Ewing working in the central part of town, the doctors on the west side, whose office supplies had been carried away by the flood, had commandeered the Fourth Presbyterian Church as an emergency hospital, giving what relief they could to drowned-out families.

Governor Cox had appointed General Geo. H. Wood, of the State Militia, as commander-in-chief of the stricken city, and his authority supported the medical clan in all that was imperative. It was he who issued the curfew law and enforced it, a necessary regulation when houses stood with wide open doors and the city lights went out. The worn-out citizens were glad to go safely to bed knowing there would be no robbery while the military were in control.

The soldiers stood guard and the doctors worked and made everybody else work throughout those dark, cold, wet weeks. Cellars gave up rubbish they had hidden for decades; alleys that never had a cleaning had it then; the private homes went under the strokes of spades and  brooms; the streets were heaped with refuse and then cleared of it. When the work was over it was so well done that there was not only no epidemic as is usual in such conditions, but what was still more remarkable, no unusual amount of sickness.

The members of the Montgomery County Medical Society must be given credit for a generous support of all public welfare interests. They have done their share in the success of state and national medical associations, serving on many committees and, as officers, giving of their time and scientific knowledge freely and without stint.

Dr. Reeve was one of the organizers and first vice-president of the American Gynecological Society, and was president of the Ohio State Society. Dr. George B. Evans was president of the National Proctological Society, and for one term vice-president of the American Medical Association. Drs. Everhard and Felker were for two years chairman and secretary, respectively, of the Committee on Public Health Education of the American Medical Association. It was under this committee that the first organized education of the public in the prevention of disease was established. Dr. Eleanora Everhard worked effectively in the Red Cross during the Dayton Flood. Dr. Gertrude Felker was also bacteriologist on the first milk commission established in Dayton. Dr. H. C. Haning is a representative of the State Medical Society to the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association.

Dr. E. R. Arn is president of the National Society for the Study of Goitre. The elder Dr. Conklin was unremitting in public service on various boards and committees, and did a tremendous amount of work both in professional and non-professional channels. The brass tablet to his memory in the Public Library gives proof of his beneficent contributions through a series of years to that institution.

The final proof of the efficacy of the medical profession in the community lies in the import of a few figures. Since 1911 when regular statistics began to be kept, we find death rates from scarlet fever, diphtheria and tuberculosis steadily decreasing. In twenty years the infant death rate in Dayton has been actually cut in half. This means that babies born in Dayton today have more than twice as good a chance to live than they had twenty years ago. The death rate for the whole population has decreased from 13.77 per 1,000 population in 1911 to 10.9 in 1930. In 1902 there were forty deaths from typhoid fever out of the then population of 94,000; in 1930 there was one death out of a population of 200,763.

Credit for slicing down the infant death rate to among the lowest in the United States belongs to the city health department and allied nursing and health groups of the city and the pre-natal clinics of the hospitals which have cooperated in educating mothers in the care of their babies.

The Sister got up from her knees where she had been, not praying but scrubbing, and answered the call. It was a policeman with a wagon at the curb, on the bare boards of which lay a man, groaning and bloody.

“He was hurt at the railroad yards,” said the officer. “There was no place to take him, and we heard there was a hospital started down here and so we brought him to you.”

The Sister looked desperately at the bare disorderly rooms of the tenement recently rented by the Order of the Poor of St. Francis, at the half-cleaned walls and floors, the six iron beds not yet in place, and the shelves as yet empty of medical and surgical supplies. She looked at the poor sufferer and with the trained sympathetic spirit of her order she said: “Bring him in. We’ll do the best we can for him.”

That, in 1878, was the beginning of the great hospital which now, after more than a half century of public service, stretches its 675 feet frontage on Hopeland Street; with its 408 beds, forty nursing sisters, its eleven clinics, expertly equipped, and its roster of thousands of patients ministered to all through the years without regard to religious affiliation.

Little by little it has grown to its recent size supported by voluntary contributions. Formerly it was a constant sight in the city to se the Sisters going from house to house and from store to store, soliciting help for the hospital. Devoted to the care of the indigent sick they had no other object in life nor have they now. No disease so loathsome that they will not care for it. They know no rest nor leisure, they receive no remuneration, they own no personal belongings. They have laid aside family ties, worldly pleasures, and personal satisfactions. For them the only interest in life is filling the twenty-four hours of every day with service.

A part of the Sisters’ duties,  that of soliciting alms, has been wisely taken from their shoulders in late years by the Community Chest. The public has been educated to give, not so much as a charity as a positive duty not to be evaded. Previous to 1878 when the hospital was started there was no place for a desperately sick patient to be taken. Dr. Reeve, who was the foremost promoter of hospital facilities in Dayton and the chief of staff for years at St. Elizabeth’s was sometimes moved to tears at the wretched plight of patients he was trying to care for. A molder, scalded at his job, with no better place in which to be cared for than the one the one room in which his wife was doing the washing; a man with a broken leg in bed with a small restless child! For years Dr. Reeve begged and pleaded with the church people of Dayton to rise above this condition and build a hospital. It was the Catholic Sisters who answered  his call, and it must never be forgotten. No rewards have they but to be remembered. It is all they ask.

From that small day of beginnings to the present, St. Elizabeth Hospital has constantly enlarged its facilities. One hundred and eighty-seven patients were admitted the first year and eleven hundred in the first four years of its existence. Naturally there was need for increased space and facilities. So the new hospital was built in 1882, with two hundred and sixty beds. In 1929 there were 7,063 patients cared for at the expenditure of 114,503 nursing days, in addition to the 8,688 patients receiving free treatment in the free hospital clinics.

In the first years of its existence the following physicians gave gratuitous services: Drs. J. C. Reeve, J. D. Daugherty, H. S. Jewett, John Davis, Eugene Pilate, Thomas L. Neal, and W. J. Conklin. Since then their name is legion: Drs. G. A. Hochwalt, F. C. Gray, Curtiss Ginn, N. C. Hochwalt, C. P. Grover, W. G. Clagett, O. B. Kneisley, C. C. McLean, W. H. Delscamp, and others.

Together with all public institutions St. Elizabeth Hospital suffered from a lack of comprehension of modern needs and requirements, not only on the part of the public, but of the administration. The laws of the State require that every first class hospital maintain a School of Nursing and a Nurses Home. In the early days there was no State law, and the good Sisters held their work sufficient if according to the rules of their order they cared for the indigent sick. Dr. Reeve in the beginning always hoped and pleaded for a school of nursing, but it was Dr. Gray, years later, laid the matter before the head of the order of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis in such a way as to convince her of the advisability of the plan. The same could be said of the department of obstetrics, also one of Dr. Reeve’s strong objectives of his day, and of Dr. Gray’s efforts in later years. Both these important departments have been brought to a fine condition of scientific completeness.

In 1916 the St. Ann Maternity Hospital, with a capacity of twenty beds was established. Its existence was justified by the treatment of one hundred and forty-five patients the first year. Recent extensions and improvements provide for a large increase of patients – 1,141 mothers in 1929. It is the charity work that finds its most beautiful expression in the maternity work of St. Ann’s. In the time of greatest need poor women receive there not only medical and surgical aid, but that quick and lovely sympathy which the Sisters know so well how to give. The statistics show that while in 1929,  8,720 nursing days were given to the care of private patients, 3,710 nursing days were given to the care of public patients. Dr. W. G. Clagett is in charge of this department, assisted by Dr. Jerold K. Hoerner. Every facility to safeguard the well-being of mother and child is afforded.


Pre-Natal Clinic – Since 1927 the lowered infant mortality rate in Dayton is due, with other influences, to the pre-natal clinic. Expectant mothers are instructed on diet, elimination, rest and clothing, and after confinement are visited in the homes and taught in the care of the baby. Three hundred women were thus benefited during one year, the department being under the supervision of Dr. Jerold K. Hoerner.


The School of Nursing – The teaching of nursing is a correlation of theory and practice. St. Elizabeth has recently completed the modern building which houses the school and provides a well rounded curriculum approved by the State of Ohio. The practical work includes experience in all departments, surgery, diet kitchen, obstetrics, the children’s department, and diet and nutrition.


Dermatological Department – one of the most important departments of the hospital is the dermatological division, founded in 1927 for the study and treatment of all types of skin diseases. Because the skin eruption is often merely a symptom of internal disorder this department cooperates with all other units of the hospital and its physicians are constantly called into consultation in the diagnosis and treatment of other diseases. This department is now under the supervision of Dr. Rudolph Ruedemann, and in one year it received two hundred and forty-five patients and administered three hundred and sixty-one treatments without charge.


Urological Department – This department treats all diseases pertaining to the genito-urinary tract with the exception of venereal diseases. It gives a thorough examination, using the most up-to-date methods and equipment with an array of special instruments and the Young type of table which eliminates the necessity of moving the patient when X-ray pictures are to be made. Dr. Charles D. Padan reports that since 1925 there have been 2,029 treatments, the majority of the cases representing charity patients.


X-Ray Department – St. Elizabeth Hospital was one of the first institutions to recognize the importance of  X–ray, the first machine for the use of the staff having been introduced in 1898 through the generosity of Dr. J. C. Reeve. Established in 1907 it has been in operation every since, with repeated improvements and alterations. Dr. W. H. Delscamp, one of the earliest students of X-ray, and now a conceded expert in this particular field, is the present head of the department.


Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Department – For forty-five years this department has achieved widespread recognition for its skillful technique and the success of its corrective methods. During the past six years more than twenty thousand treatments have been given. Dr. Duff W. Greene, one of the most eminent aurists and oculists of the day, was the first head of the department, assisted a few years later by Dr. Horace Bonner. This was in 1885. Dr. J. W. Millette, his successor, has just retired full of honor after twenty-five years’ service in the same post. Dr. Roy S. Binkley and Dr. Frederick J. Driscoll are the present incumbents.


Surgical Department – The number of surgical operations has shown substantial increase each year since the opening of the institution in 1878. In the modernly arranged and equipped surgical suite is a daily theatre of widely differing operations. In 1929,  2,656 operations were performed in general surgery in addition to 1,516 patients who received 3,006 treatments in the out-patient department. The record for the current year is 1,585 operations in general surgery and 3,181 treatments in the out-patient department.


Medical Department – Aided by the most exact instruments at the command of medical science St. Elizabeth Hospital is noted for its dependable conclusions and intelligent treatment of all diseases. At its service are the X-ray, metabolism tests, blood chemistry, and a modern laboratory for the study of all ailments. Unlimited types of cases handled, and the well-rounded experience of each member of the organization in the diagnosis and treatment of such diseases as cancer, paralysis, Bright’s disease, arterio-sclerosis, tuberculosis, assure the sufferer of the best that human science can afford, even in the days when there was no other provision for their care in Dayton. The hospital has given marked attention to contagious diseases such as erysipelas, diphtheria, measles and scarlet fever.


Pediatric Department - For the study and correction of children’s diseases has made rapid advance during the last few years. Dr. Sterling Ashmun presides over three divisions, one being for children under twelve years, another  the isolation department where all the contagious diseases (except smallpox and diphtheria) are given care and prophylaxis, and the third which handles a great number of children at its morning clinics. A staff of four physicians, a registered interne and nurses are in constant attendance. The record for 1930 was 1,407 patients and 1,693 treatments. The most conspicuous piece of work done is that of infant feeding, with the assistance of visiting workers is extended into the homes.


Dental Clinic – An average of 1,800 persons, the majority being out-patients, are cared for annually in the Dental Clinic at St. Elizabeth Hospital. In 1914 funds for the establishment of the clinic were subscribed by a number of civic-spirited citizens, by whose generosity the department was equipped with a complete modern outfit of dental instruments and furniture, the Sisters in charge, and one student nurse. An  average of one hundred and fifty patients, mostly charity cases are received every month.


Anaesthetic Department – Under the administration of Dr. John K. Larkin and two experienced specialists gives the highest scientific service in the administering of anaesthetics. The department owes its inception to Dr. Reeve, who was one of the foremost anaesthetists in the country.


Pathological Laboratory – Another of the trails blazed by St. Elizabeth Hospital was founded in 1891, among the first in the State of Ohio. Dr. D. A. Scheibenzuber was the first chief, taking charge shortly after his return from long study under distinguished pathologists in Vienna. Dr. Foy C. Payne is the present chief, and has a staff of full-time technicians. Fifteen  thousand examinations is the record of this department for one year.


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