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Q. And did you pursue your studies any farther at any other institution ?
A. I did.
Q. And you are at present the City Physician of Boston, are you not?
A. Well, that isn't the proper title.
A. I am examining physician of out-patients at the Massachusetts
Q. Are you at present ?
Q. Is there any other official position that you have held or hold at the present time ?
A. Nothing of any importance.
Ă. The Suffolk District Massachusetts Medical Society, the Boston
Q. How long have you been employed by the city, doctor?
Q. In 1891 did you make an examination of the condition of affairs at Rainsford Island ?
A. I did.
Q. And that was in response to a request of the Commissioners of
A. It was.
Q. Did you ever hear that it was in consequence of complaints made by Mrs. Lincoln at the Commissioners' office?
A. I did not.
Q. Well, under what circumstances did you go the Home for Paupers to make an examination ?
Å. I went down on the “ Bradlee" one afternoon, the afternoon trip, quarter past two, and I remained there three hours, I think.
Q. Was your visit arranged for at the islands ?
Ă. I don't see how it could have been, because I didn't know I was going until about half an hour before I started twenty minutes, perhaps.
Q. Then you didn't know you were going until twenty minutes before you started ?
A. I didn't that particular day.
A. No; twenty minutes, may have been half an hour, I don't know just the time that it was before I started, before I knew I was going. I didn't expect to go that day.
Q. How did you go down on the “ Bradlee"?
Q. Do you know how far in 1891 the telephone extended, if to any of the islands?
A. I am not positive. I know it wasn't at Gallop's Island at that time. Farther than that I am not positive.
Q. You don't know whether it went to Rainsford ?
Q. Now, did you make an examination of the beds in the institution for men ?
A. I did — took down some fifteen or twenty beds and was unable to find any vermin.
Q. Well, you said you were there about three hours ? 4. I should say it was about three hours.
Q. And after making your examination did you make a written report to the Commissioners ?
A. I did.
Q. Now, I would like to have you read that, doctor, if you will kindly, to the committee.
Mr. BRANDEIS. One moment. I want to ask whether that report was ever entered upon the files of the Commissioners or whether it was a private document of Dr. Jenks? Mr. REED. — I am sure I can't tell you. Mr. BRANDEIS. — Allow me to ask the witness a question.
Q. Dr. McCollom, you say you were requested to come by the Commissioners ? By which Commissioner were you requested to go down?
A. I don't remember at this time whether it was in the office of the Commissioners, don't remember who was there. I don't remember.
Q. You don't know who asked you?
Å. I know Dr. Jenks asked me, but who else was present there I don't know.
Q. You don't know whether anybody else was present ?
don't remember. Q. And when you say you handed that to the Commissioners, do you mean you handed it to Dr. Jenks?
A. 'I handed it to the secretary.
Q. Do you know anything about the report whether it was received by the Commission and placed on file in any way?
A. I know nothing about it further than that.
Q. That you went at Dr. Jenks' request, and handed the report to the Commissioners ?
Mr. REED. If there is any objection to the report I will get at it in another way. But I think perhaps it will save time to let the doctor read it.
Mr. RILEY. That is no part of the record, I understand.
Mr. PROCTOR. · Well, it is a memorandum he made and he can *read it.
Mr. REED. — It is perfectly immaterial to me whether he reads it or not.
Mr. PROCTOR. He can read it. That has been ruled on time and time again. Mr. RILEY.
No, no. Mr. PROCTOR. Yes, you have read a letter from the superintendent of the State Almshouse at Bridgewater into a question.
Mr. RILEY. You cannot get that in here.
Ald. LEE. I understand that it is facts we are getting, and that is what we want here. If he has a report he wrote himself let us have it, no matter whom it strikes.
Ald. Fottler in the chair.
Mr. RILEY. One moment, if you please. There is a little misapprehension here. The Alderman says, Let it be read, no matter whom it strikes." That is not the question – it is the question of the prevalence of a put up job.
Ald. LEE. When was this, 1891 ?
Mr. RILEY. This witness went down, I understand, at the suggestion of a member of the Commission. If the counsel will produce the records, I think the records will show that he wasn't sent down by any of the Commissioners. He made a private report to a member of the Commission.
Mr. REED. Mr. Donohoe isn't a member of the Commission.
Mr. RILEY. You had better keep quiet a few minutes and you may learn something:
Mr. REED. I will keep quiet when I feel like it, and speak when I feel like it.
Mr. RILEY. Evidently you boys haven't been to school for some time.
Mr. REED. — I don't care to press this now, but I will put every word of that report in evidence before you.
Ald. LEE. I don't see any need of this dilly dallying between lawyers. Mr. Riley says this is a put up job, but here is a document which Dr. McCollom wrote himself and presented to the Commissioners. Mr. PROCTOR.
He did not. Ald. LEE.-- Well, presented it to the secretary. He is the chief clerk of the Board of Commissioners, and if there is any reason for us not having that let us have it. I don't see any harm from it, and we are only wasting time.
The CHAIR. The witness will proceed to read the report for the information of the committee.
Mr. RILEY. No, no.
Ald. LEE. May I'ask for a vote on that, if there is no objection. The Chair has so ruled and no objection has been made. I suppose this committee is conducting this investigation and not Mr. Riley, Mr. Proctor, or Mr. Brandeis.
Mr. RILEY. But here is a document that is in under oath, that is not official.
Mr. PROCTOR. And here is a man that is.
Mr. RILEY. - Well, I must say your manners are pretty bad, to put it mildly.
Mr. PROCTOR. You have said that a good many times, and I regard you as a very bad judge.
Mr. RILEY. And I look upon it as worse on account of your size. Now, here is a witness on the stand to testify under oath and you are now asking him to read documents he has not sworn to and which he, does not propose to swear to. That certainly is incompetent anywhere and under any circumstances. Let questions be put to this witness and let him answer them. We know for what purpose this document is proposed to be read and we know why the Commission as a Commission did not receive it.
The CHAIR.— It seems to the committee that if you desire to ask any questions on the cross-examination you can ask questions relative to that document.
Ald. LEE. - If Mr. Brandeis will let him.
The CHAIR. - I think he will. If the committee desires to get any information I think they can get it by hearing that document read.
Mr. RILEY. - But before it is read the record of the Commissioners should be looked at to see whether it was received or not. I understand that it was never received officially. The CHAIR.
Well, supposing the record is not here? Mr. RILEY. — Supposing this appear, than when it was presented its contents were so absurd and far away from the truth that the Commissioners would not receive it? Then do you mean to tell me that it is competent here?
Ald. LEE. — Do I understand Mr. Riles to say that Dr. McCollom would write a document, present it to the Commissioners as a city oficial, sent down to that place, and place anything in it but that which he had seen and which was the truth?
Mr. RILEY. – Oh, you cannot put it in that way.
Ald. LEE. Well, that is what he seems to assert here from his statements. I may be a little thick - it is a long time since I was at school.
Mr. RILEY.- No, you are not — you are a little thin. Don't misunderstand my position. When the document was presented, the Commissioners rejected it as untrue. Now, what man with common sense would think of admitting it here?
Ald. LEE. — Then we want to hear it, Jr. Chairman, there may be something in it that will throw some light on the matter.
Mr. RILEY. Get the records,
Ald. LEE. Take the document as it is. I make that motion - that Dr. MoCollom read that document.
Ald. LEE, - niotion was carried.
The CHAIR. - Now, doetor, proceel. We have wasted too much time already.
Ald. LEE. — You mean the doctor or Mr. Riley?
BOARD OF HEALTH, Boston, September 23, 1891.
To the Commissioners of Public Institutions :
GENTLEMEN: In compliance with your request I have made a careful investigation of the Home for Paupers on Rainsford and Long Islands. In the institution for men the beds were found to be clean and comfortable; the bed clothing sufficient; the number of persons in each dormitory, although greater than is desirable, was 'not excessive. The ventilation was good; there was none of that peculiar odor frequently noticeable in institutions of this kind. The clothing of the men was clean, particularly the shirts. Careful investigation of the water-closets revealed the fact that they were properly flushed; that the seats were clean; that there was no perceptible odor from them. examination of the kitchen and the dining-room indicated that the food was properly prepared and served. As to the quality of the food I can state from personal experience that it was good, much better than the majority of the inmates received when in homes of their own. In the dispensary there was a well-selected, carefully arranged, and complete assortment of drugs, comprising all the latest remedies, showing the presence of a careful, painstaking, and scientific medical officer. In the hospital for men the patients were in clean beds; their appearance indicated that they received every possible attention from physician and nurse. One case, in particular, attracted my attention as being an exponent of the management of the hospital. It was that of a poor cripple, who had very little use of his arms and legs. This patient was clean; his bed was clean; there was no odor from him. No more positive proof of careful nursing could be desired.
The number of cubic feet of air space allotted to each person, in the dormitories for men, ranges from five to seven hundred.
In the ward for women, in this institution, there was the same careful attention to the wants of the patients as was noticed in the men's wards. No hospital odor could be detected in this ward, althought here was a faint smell of carbolic acid. Some eight beds, taken at random, were carefully examined, and in no instance was there any indication of vermin or of uncleanli
The smoking-room was visited. In this place were found fifteen or twenty men smoking and playing various games. Although there was a strong odor of tobacco smoke, there was no indication of uncleanliness. An examination of the diet list shows that the food is abundant and that it is sufficiently varied. It consists of bread and butter, coffee or tea, or shel's for breakfast and supper; of meat or fish, or baked beans and potatoes with rice and molasses for dinner. The extra diet list for the hospital consists of eggs, milk, beef-tea, chicken broth, gruel, fruit, and crackers.
One of the most positive indications of the injurious effects of neglect or of overcrowding is the existence of a great number of cases of acute dis
An examination of the report of the medical officer at Long Island for the years of 1889 and 1890 shows that in 1889 out of 771 admissions only five patients died from acute diseases; the other deaths having been caused by heart disease, consumption, old age, and apoplexy. For the year 1890, with 370 admissions, there were only six deaths from acute disease. There can be no more convincing argument than this against the statement that the patients are crowded to any great extent, underfed, or neglected in any way.
Rainsford Island was next visited. The hospital on this island is a very old building, and therefore does not have a very attractive appearance. It is somewhat crowded. The number of cubic feet of air space allotted to each patient is about 700. In this hospital there was the same cleanliness, the same careful attention to the comfort of the patients noticed in the other hospital. The lying-in room, although small, answers its purpose fairly well. If the air of a ward is impure, if proper attention is not paid to cleanliness, lying-in women are the first to suffer. In 1889 there were eighteen confinements; in 1890 there were thirteen in this hospital. There were no deaths and no puerperal complications. Comment is unnecessary; the figures speak for themselves.
In the institution proper there was not the slightest indication of neglect on the part of the attendants in regard to the food, clothing, bed, and personal cleanliness of the inmates. The physical condition of the children in any institution is one of the very best indications of careful management. The children inspected were clean and well-nourished; infinitely cleaner and better nourished than children in the same walk of life at home. The eyes of these children were examined; in no instance was there any evidence of conjunctivitis either past or present. As this is such a common disease in eleemosynary institutions its absence was particularly noticeable. An examination of the report of the medical officer on this island shows that out of 559 admissions to the hospital in 1889 there were only seven deaths from acute diseases; in 1890 with 393 admissions there were nine. important fact in indicating the sanitary condition of this institution, is, that of the seventy children under two years of age treated since January 1, 1891, only one died from gastro-intestinal catarrh. As most of the children were “bottle-fed” the unprecedented low death rate from this disease speaks for itself.
In conclusion let me say that although the institution on Long Island is somewhat crowded; that although there are none of the modern appliances for ventilation in the buildings; that although the number of paid nurses is too small, the administration reflects the greatest credit on the executive and medical officers.
In the hospital for women on Rainsford Island, notwithstanding that the building is more than fifty years old, and that it is somewhat crowded, there is no indication of suffering on this account. The low death rate is the most convincing argument in support of the above statement.
The remarks regarding the institution on Long Island apply with equal force to the institution on this island.
Respectfully submitted, (Signed)
JOHN H. McCOLLOM, Physician to Board of Health.