|Cortland Hospital at 35 Clayton Avenue.|
The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 5, 1892.
THE CORTLAND HOSPITAL.
Annual Report of Officers—A Good Showing for the First Year.
To the Members of the Cortland Hospital Association:
When the Hospital Committee of the King's Daughters entered upon the work of establishing a hospital in Cortland they did so with many misgivings. Obstacles presented themselves, that to their inexperience, seemed formidable, and had they judged of the sympathy of the public by the attendance at the meetings called in its behalf, they would have been utterly disheartened and would have abandoned the project at the very outset. But they had already applied a better and surer test in the form of subscription papers and had asked for signatures and the readiness with which these were given and the many appreciative and cheering words spoken encouraged them to persevere.
As it was not deemed desirable, even if it were practicable in a town like ours, that a hospital should be under the control of one society alone, the work of the committee was therefore on Feb. 23, 1891, transferred to the Cortland Hospital Association, which by its constitution should be open to "all persons desiring to join in its work." The Board of Managers selected to continue the work resolved to do this by the methods previously outlined by the committee, methods that seemed to them feasible and financially safe. If the experiment were to prove a failure they determined it should not be a costly one entailing a heavy burden of debt on the Association.
A rented house, plainly furnished, with help sufficient to care for it and the patients, has given all needed accommodation at comparatively small expense. Close economy has been practiced, expenses kept within the limits prescribed for them, bills paid monthly and the end of the year finds the hospital in fair working order, with a record of occupation—equivalent to two patients for the whole time—and funds more than sufficient to meet the expenses of the two months that remain of the year for which the house was hired.
The question that now confronts the managers is that of subsistence for the coming year. Preferring to base their claims upon work accomplished rather than upon promises, they have not yet availed themselves of the privileges usually accorded to hospital associations, those of asking from village corporation an appropriation and from the churches the collections of one Sunday each year. It is neither right nor just that the burden of the support of an institution of this character should be borne by a portion of our citizens. If it were distributed by tax upon the property of the village all would share in it and none feel it oppressive. If Binghamton appropriated from her treasury $3,000 annually for the support of her hospital, what ought and will Cortland appropriate for hers? This is a problem the managers hope, with the permission of the village fathers, to lay before the voters of the corporation for their solution at the next election and they confidently expect to receive a satisfactory answer.
If the work should be broadened to include the whole county it would remove one difficulty under which they now labor. They have not felt authorized to use for the benefit of patients coming from other towns, the fund supplied mainly through the generosity of our own citizens and they have therefore felt constrained to deny admission to non-resident patients who were unable to pay for their care. Until a more certain means of support is secured either through appropriation or endowment, the hospital will have to rely, as in the past year, upon the liberality of our citizens and its own earnings.
While the hospital scheme has apparently had the sympathy of a large majority of the people there has been a minority who have regarded it as visionary and impracticable, or a needless expenditure of labor and money. Others, while professing to believe in its necessity, have held aloof from its work and predicted failure because the methods employed did not meet their approval.
They have said: "You will not rouse much enthusiasm until you go to work to erect a building; then the people will give you thousands more freely than they now give you hundreds, and you will have something to show for it." If the primary object of a hospital be to furnish to the sick and injured of the town, clean, comfortable, well-lighted and well-ventilated rooms, good beds, food and medicine suited to their needs, good medical and surgical skill and nursing, all that can be and has been done in a rented house of plain and unpretending exterior, and without the financial risk involved in the purchase or erection of buildings. Our neighbor, the Binghamton Hospital, that last year gave shelter and care to 79 patients, is still occupying a rented house.
If the two years’ campaign of work planned by the Managers demonstrate clearly that a hospital is needed they feel confident that the citizens, will in good time, provide it with a suitable and permanent home. If, on the contrary, it should be ascertained that the need was not sufficient to justify the outlay of money and labor, or if at any time funds for its support are not forthcoming, they can discharge the employes, give up the house at the end of the year, dispose of its furnishings and retire from the field in good order. This cautious policy has received the indorsement of many of our most successful business men. There has also been a tendency with some to compare our cottage hospital with the well-endowed well-equipped and long established institutions of larger towns. These people forget, if they ever knew, that most, of these had as humble a beginning as our own, and years passed before they attained to the satisfaction and dignity of real-estate ownership.
Among the discouragements that have come none has been so great as the loss, through illness or removal from town, of valued members of the board, chief among them being that of our Pres. Mrs. J. H. Hoose. To her enthusiastic labor and executive ability the hospital owe much and the messages that come to us from her far Western home testify to her unabated interest in its welfare.
A very pleasant feature of the work has been the many tokens of sympathetic interest that has come from all classes of citizens, not only from our own, but of neighboring towns. The hearts of the managers have been deeply touched by these, some of them, the gifts of people who had little to spare, but who seemed eager to do something for the hospital. To all who have assisted in this undertaking the Managers desire to express gratitude and especially to the physicians who have given aid and who have responded promptly and cheerfully to every call made upon their professional services.
JULIA E. HYATT,
Pres., Hospital Association.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
To the President and Members of the Cortland Hospital Association:
We of the Advisory Committee board of managers of your hospital at the close of the first year of its life and work, find that it is not necessary for us to make anything more than a very brief report of our work. And this is because the ladies of that board have "managed" everything connected with the working, the business affairs and pecuniary interests of the hospital with what seemed to us such good judgment, economy and discretion that they have left us nothing to do except to give our approval to their action.
In every instance in which our individual of collective advice has been asked we have readily and heartily approved of just what the board of managers had already planned or thought of as wisest and host under the circumstances. The managers were both wise and fortunate in securing the house that they did for the hospital. They were wise in making the choice and fortunate in being able to secure a house so well adapted to the purpose and so favorably located as it is. At the appointed time and on the invitation of the secretary of the board, the chairman and Maj. A. Sager of the advisory committee, and several of the ladles at the hospital, went through the building from the cellar to the upper story. To say that we were highly pleased with the adaption of the house to the purposes of a hospital, and with the neatness and order in which it had been prepared and kept, is to state our impressions mildly. Our only regret is that there was not more of the committee with us to partake of the pleasure of seeing what a good work had been done here, or what a good beginning had really been made in a great work of Christian charity and benevolence, which is much needed in our town and which, we trust will be not only sustained, but carried forward more vigorously year by year, as its value and importance becomes more and more known to the people.
Your treasurer has submitted the accounts of the year to be examined by the advisory committee and have been so examined by Messrs. Walrad and Wickwire of that committee and have been found correct. The detailed statement of the treasurer's account will be submitted to you.
And briefly in conclusion we wish to say that we believe the Hospital Association and the whole community of the village of Cortland owe the ladies of the board of managers a large debt of gratitude for the patient, wise, prudent and economical manner in which that have conducted the affairs of this hospital and for the self sacrificing labors and gifts which they have bestowed upon, and devoted to its interests.
Sickness comes alike to all, to the poor as well as to the rich, to those away from home and friends as well as to those safely sheltered at their own firesides.
Ought not prosperous Cortland to do something towards providing a home for the unfortunate sick in her midst, was a question repeatedly asked during the past four or five years.
Among the many laborers in our numerous manufactories, the students in our Normal School, and the many transient residents in our town, there were frequent instances of sickness or severe accidents in which the sufferer had no home and no place where he could be properly cared for without great expense to himself or being a heavy burden upon those who kindly took him into their homes. All who had given the matter any thought had long felt the want of a hospital in which to care for cases of this kind.
Many saw the need but who should take the first step towards starting such an institution. To the King's Daughters belongs the credit of doing this. Soon after their organization three years ago, they interested themselves in the enterprise and $25 was laid aside from the treasury of the society as a nucleus to a hospital fund. Later they held a fair, and the fund was increased to $800.
In January 1891, Mrs. J. H. Hoose was made chairman of the King's Daughters Hospital committee, and she with other ladies of this committee made a partial canvass of the village to learn more fully the feeling of the public about opening a Hospital, and if this met with approval, to solicit funds for running it during that year.
Such was the encouragement received that a public meeting was held in the interest of the enterprise February 13, 1891, and February 23rd the Cortland Hospital Association was formed, constitution and by-laws adopted, Board of Managers and an Advisory Board elected. This Board of Managers consists of twenty-one ladles representing each of the churches in town, and several members who are not connected with any church. The Advisory Board consists of nine gentlemen similarly selected.
Mrs. J. H. Hoose was duly elected president, and Mrs. F. O. Hyatt vice-president of the Board and of the Association. Other officers were elected, committees appointed and the Association was in working order.
After carefully looking about among houses for rental, it was decided that of Mrs. [Mary] Cummings, on Clayton street, was the most advantageous and came the nearest to meeting our requirements. This was accordingly rented for one year with the privilege of five.
The house was to be ready for reception of patients the first Monday in April. This meant careful planning and much hard work for the president and per helpers, but it was accomplished. Gifts of needed furniture, beds, bedding. and many household supplies, came in freely from friends interested in the undertaking, so the outlay of money at the beginning was not so great as had been thought would be necessary.
April 3rd, three days before the hospital was fully ready for occupancy, the first patient was admitted. He was a young man attending the Normal, who was suffering from an acute attack of rheumatism. It had been impossible for him to have any care at his boarding place, and his physician afterwards said, that without the constant attention and the careful nursing he received at the hospital, he could hardly have hoped to save his life. Thus early the Board of Managers felt it was being proven their work was not done in vain.
Since the opening ten months ago, the number of patients received in the hospital has been 15—3 men and 12 women. The aggregate number of days they have received care has been . The longest time spent by one patient in the house has been 25 weeks; the shortest, 6 days. Nine have been paying patients, 6 have not been able to make any remuneration for the care received, though two of this number hope to play something in the future. There is now one patient in the house, and during the ten months it has been empty but 15 days.
One death has occurred, and of the others all have been cured or greatly [improved] in health when dismissed.
The fist of June Miss Hall was engaged as nurse, and she still holds this position, having given perfect satisfaction to both managers and patient.
The estimated value of hospital furnishings is between $400 and $500, and on these there is an insurance of $300.
The amount of money pledged at the beginning was $1,270.27. Of this amount the King's Daughters gave $300, the Cortland Wagon Co. and employees over $300. Vice President Edgell, of the E., C. & N. R. R., kindly remembered us with a check for $50, and Hon J. J. Belden, of Syracuse, with a like sum. Of the whole amount $1,103.27 has been collected.
The people of Cortland and neighboring towns have shown their practical interest in, and sympathy for, the work during the year by many kindly contributions to our needs. Each month there have been generous supplies of fruit, vegetables and household supplies and furnishings of various kinds. Prominent among the donations were those of a Howe ventilating stove from the moulders of the Howe stove works, and a collection of eleven valuable etchings from C. Klackner, an art publisher of New York. Ladies of Truxton, Cuyler and vicinity sent us two comfortables, and an old lady 85 years old, residing in Freetown, gave two comfortables which were entirely her own work.
It was with deep regret that, in September, we accepted the resignation of the President, Mrs. J. H. Hoose. Mrs. F. O. Hyatt was elected to fill this vacancy, and has most faithfully and efficiently carried on the work.
In losing Mrs. Hoose every member of the association felt they had met an irreparable loss. Her unselfish and tireless devotion to the work, her rare tact and business management, her perseverance which overcame all obstacles, were of untold help in establishing this hospital. We feel that it is due very largely to her that the Cortland Hospital is today a REALITY, instead of merely a hope of the future.
MRS. A. E. BUCK, Secy.
Feb. 1, 1891.