Holyoke Tuberculosis Campaign

Dr. Carl A. Allen,
Leader in the Holyoke Crusade against Tuberculosis, Widely Sought Authority in the General Campaign Against the White Plague

Miss Edwina Chase

      In the world-wide crusade against tuberculosis Holyoke has taken a very leading part in the past half dozen years. So well organized and so persistent has been there work that the death rate per thousand has been cut down more than one-third in five years.
      The fight against tuberculosis was made a public movement in early 1907, when, under the leadership of Dr. Carl A. Allen, the Holyoke association for the Prevention and Relief of Tuberculosis was formed. The object of the association was the immediate relief of those suffering from the disease, and an educational program that would prevent the disease from spreading. A free public clinic was opened and maintained through several seasons, and for four years a Day Camp was maintained from May to November on the hills to the west of the city. The camp had a most important effect upon the crusade against the White Plague. Although it cared for many patients, and cured a few, its most important effect was educational. It focused the public attention so that all the city understood that out-of-door living, with good food, are the preventatives as well as the remedies for tuberculosis. The white tents under the birch trees made a most powerful object lesson for the thousands who passed the camp during the four summers that it did its great work. The public invariably responded most cordially to all appeals for assistance, and so deep was the general interest in the program to rid the city of so costly and misery-causing a disease that Holyoke, towards the end of Mayor Avery's last term of office, was the first city to be in a position to accept the offer of the state of Massachusetts, which agreed to reimburse all cities that would maintain tuberculosis sanatoria by the payment of five dollars per week for each needy patient so cared for.
      Thus early in 1912 Holyoke was able to dedicate the first municipal sanatorium outside of Boston, and one of the finest institutions et established. The location chosen is most ideal, on a hill close to the city, looking down upon its life, yet elevated and remote from the disturbances, with the trolley cars passing its doors.
      The design of the building is perfect for its purpose. It stands four square to the winds, with all the sunshine and all the breezes playing about it many-windowed wards and wide porches. The sanatorium, with a capacity for twenty-eight patients, ,now has twenty. It management is so generally fine that it has been pronounced by a state examiner as the best in Massachusetts.
      Miss Edwina Chase, a graduate of the Holyoke City Hospital, is the superintending nurse.
      While the city sanatorium has taken from the shoulders of the Holyoke Tuberculosis Association the need of a Day Camp, the association maintains a nurse in the field, whose duty it is to visit home in which tuberculosis has appeared and to care for such cases as do not, for some reason, go to the hospital. An educational campaign is kept up, each grade in the public schools having the history of tuberculosis and the means for its prevention presented to them.
      One result of the tuberculosis campaign has been a revised building law, by which no more dark rooms can be built in the city.

Holyoke Tuberculosis Hospital
Holyoke Tuberculosis Hospital

      In 1906, the year before the tuberculosis campaign was inaugurated in Holyoke, the deaths from that disease numbered one hundred and twenty-one. In 1911, with a rapidly increasing population, the deaths from tuberculosis in all its forms numbered seventy-eight, a reduction of forty-two after five years' work. To judge from Holyoke's record it does not seem too much to hope that modern civilization, with wise building laws, wise and properly enforced health regulations, and a very general education of the public against the disease will wipe out tuberculosis. Holyoke is doing her large share in the movement. This has been recognized far afield. The Holyoke methods have been adopted all through the country for their practical value, and Dr. Carl Allen's work has attracted wide attention all through the state and indeed, from all corners of the country his advice is being constantly sought. The Holyoke Tuberculosis Association as had no other president. Its other officers are: First vice-president. Mrs. M.M.S. Moriarty; second vice-resident, J.L. Bliss, M.D.; clerk, Miss Mary C. Sheehan; assistant clerk, Miss Jennie E. Scollay; treasurer, Ashton E. Hemphill.
      There is a board of control of 20, representing several leading nationalities that make up the city's population.

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