In sickness and in wealth : American hospitals in the by Rosemary Stevens

By Rosemary Stevens

American hospitals are designated: a mixture of private and non-private associations which are instantaneously charities and companies, social welfare associations and icons of U.S. technological know-how, wealth, and technical success. In disease and in Wealth is helping us comprehend this large and sometimes contradictory "industry" and indicates that all through this century the voluntary not-for-profit hospitals were profit-maximizing organizations, even if they've got considered themselves as charities serving the neighborhood. even though our hospitals have supplied the main complex therapy for acutely unwell and curable sufferers, they've been less winning in assembly the desires of the chronically sick and the socially deprived. That, Stevens concludes, is the following pressing job of social policy.

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Boston City Hospital was a case in point. 26 Even in Boston there were class differences between the clientele in the different types of hospitals, charitable and governmental. The largest almshouse hospitals, with their locked wards and punishment cells—sometimes present well into the twentieth century—their syphilis, alcoholic, and tuberculosis wards, their unmarried pregnant mothers and mentally disturbed old people, and their repressive rules and regulations were multipurpose medical and welfare institutions.

It was taken for granted that local government hospitals in major cities should support the role of the charitable (and incidentally the proprietary) hospitals by taking patients these hospitals were not prepared to admit. Implicit in the model of medical care of the poor were thus two very different kinds of institutions and two philosophies. Charitable and religious institutions provided services to the socially worthy (both paying and impoverished) and were oriented to diagnosis and cure. Government hospitals provided shelter and basic services as a backup system, on grounds of necessity and public order.

Bernard Hospital, conducted by the Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph, or the 200-bed St. Elizabeth's Hospital, run by another Roman Catholic order, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Others reflected national origins, such as the 60-bed German American Hospital, the 50-bed Norwegian Tabitha Hospital, and the 40-bed Swedish Covenant Hospital; and some were expressions of the activities of nonsectarian private groups. " Clubwomen, clergymen, bankers, and business leaders came together to establish hospitals as part of their commitment to ideals of JudeoChristian obligation, to class and group solidarity, and to civic duty, that is, as a positive act of charity.

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