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Newspaper Page Text
"ABANDON HOPE-ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE"
NEW SIGN FOR COUNTY HOSPITAL
"Abandon hope all ye who enter
here," the inscription which Dante,
the poet, put over the gates of Hell,
might be appropriate over the County
Hospital, according to the facts
brought out in an interview with Dr.
Benjamin H. Breakstone, chairman
of "The Abuse of Medical Charities' "
committee of the Chicago Medical
"There are 70 visiting physicians
who give their services voluntarily to
the County Hospital for the prestige
it gives them and for the chance they
have to experiment on the poor, who
practically are mere clinic subjects as
soon as they enter the hospital," Dr.
"These physicians are privileged to
come and go as they please. Often
patients die beforsthey axe operated
on. A patient is brougnt to tne nos
pital at the last moment, the crucial
moment. He will be prepared for an
operation and given no food, prepara
tory to administering the anesthetic
then what happens?
"The surgeon is busy elsewhere
he may be attending a private patient.
He cannot bother with the charity
patient that day. So the charity pa
tient is prepared for the next day in
the same way. And the physician
may be too busy the next day, so the
operation will not be performed then.
"Perhaps the following day the pa
tient may be third or fourth on the
doctor's list, and a telephone call may
come from a pay patient which takes
the doctor away once again the pa-
tient is left unattended.
"The mental anguish is awful.
Sometimes the patient will come in
with a ruptured appendix. An imme
diate operation is the only hope if he
is to live.- There is no surgeon to
operate. What is the answer?
"The present system was devised
as a political scheme. The 70 visit
ing and 30 consulting physicians give
their sp-called services for tne pres
tige and advertising they get out of
it. There isn't a really big physician
on the list. 0
"Twenty paid doctors could do the
work very well that now is being
done very poorly."
"When these patients die for lack
of medical attention or as a result of
the guesswprk of the staff of 'char
ity' doctors, what is done about it?"
the reporter asked.
"Nothing," the doctor answered.
"Under the present system, if a doc
tor makes a mistake through care
lessness dr malpractice, he cannot be
held responsible. If he were paid a
salary, his livelihood would depend '
upon his using care. Mistakes would
not occur so frequently."
"Is the county able to pay physi- '
cians?" the reporter asked. i
The hospital is being managed
very inefficiently at the present time,"
the doctor replied. "It spends about
$150,000 too much annually. It
hasn't made a single contribution to
medical science in the last 15 years,
though it is the largest hospital in
the country. The Journal of the
American Medical Association recent
ly characterized it as 'the worst med
ical institution in America.
"With the money that is being
wasted in inefficient management
they could pay physicians of different
nationalities, efficient men, and thus
rJn awav with thp fniAnswnrlr nf tho
'visiting' physicians. IB
Three doctors appointed to inves
tigate conditions at the County Tu
berculosis Hospital advised that a
paid staff should be put in instead of
the voluntary on,e... If this is true of
the tuberculosis hospital, why should
it not be true- of the County Hospital?"
Maiden What's this "trough of
the sea" we read about? Carney
Oh. I euess that is what the ocean
greyhounds drink out of.