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1921: Jersey City Under Commission Government
A Book of Achievement

This Web version:

Centralizing Health Activities

EW citizens have any idea of the magnitude of the work performed by the City Commissioners. To them the Department of Public Affairs is the Department of Public Affairs and the Department of Revenue and Finance is the Department of Revenue and Finance, and it is only when something unusual occurs that they realize that such departments function at all.
A striking example of the intelligent and efficient manner in which one of these departments functions under Commission Government is shown in the way the city's health is taken care of under the management of Mayor Frank Hague. Realizing the importance of public health as a valuable asset to a community, he decided to centralize all the medical activities of the city, and a Medical Department was organized as a unit of the Department of Public Affairs.

Dr. John Nevin was appointed Medical Director, with supervision over the Jersey City Hospital, Child Hygiene Division, Hospital for Contagious Diseases, and the Board of Health.

The results show that the creation of such a department, with one responsible head, was justified, and that in doing this the Mayor anticipated what was subsequently recommended editorially by the journal of the American Medical Association as an ideal plan.

The work in the Medical Department has been so systematized that the preventive and curative units of public health work are co-ordinated, which is now recognized as the most modern conception of how this work should be done. A community health center has been established, with the Jersey City Hospital as the focus, and from this institution radiate all the medical functions. This affords facilities for diagnosis, opportunity for special work, the study of disease and its prevention, and a supervision over other Departments by undivided responsibility, which did not heretofore exist.

City Hospital.

The Jersey City Hospital started by former Mayor Mark M. Fagan has been enlarged under Commission Government until it is now the finest institution of its kind in the State, and there are but few its equal in the United States. It has a bed capacity of one bed to every five hundred of population, and is recognized by all hospital authorities as a Grade A institution. By providing sufficient hospital beds and proper nursing, those who could not otherwise obtain these facilities are not only restored to health, but are educated by scientific methods in personal hygiene and correct living. Every life saved has. an economic value to the community and every sick person restored to health means greater efficiency and is a financial asset.

During the epidemic of 1918 about two thousand cases were treated at the Jersey City Hospital, with a mortality lower than any hospital of its type, and not one case was refused admission to the hospital because of lack of bed space, or the bed itself.

Mayor Frank Hague has taken an intense personal interest in the City Hospital. At times he is there a good part of each day, and it is due to his efforts and the cooperation of all in charge that it has attained its present efficiency. With the new equipment already installed and in process of installation, and because of the intelligent attitude of the administration, the citizens of the City are assured of as good treatment, together with kindly, humane and scientific care, as can be secured anywhere in the United States.

Elimination of Politics.

What has made this possible is the complete elimination of politics in its administration. Staff appointments are made solely on merit, ability and professional standing. Careful selection is made of internes, nurses and employes. It is no longer possible for dealers to supply inferior materials, either in foodstuffs or medical and surgical supplies. Each department has been placed under a competent head, and the chief of each department is held to a strict accountability for the proper functioning of that department. There are no employes who have no definite work or who are not regularly and steadily at work, and the slightest infraction of rules or neglect of duty towards patients meets with instant dismissal. It is recognized by all employes of the hospital that the primary object of the Jersey City Hospital is the care of the sick.

There is a nursing staff of about ninety nurses. During their course in the Training School it is impressed upon them that their attitude towards patients must he kindly and courteous, and those who have had to avail themselves of the Jersey City Hospital facilities are most enthusiastic in their praise of the fine type of young women who constitute the nursing staff.

Physicians and Surgeons

There are forty-seven physicians and surgeons on the Visiting Staff of the Hospital, composed of some of the most prominent men in this community. The Interne Staff, increased to meet the growing needs of the Institution, now numbers twelve, and are on call at all times to meet any emergency. The ambulance service is exceptional, and consists of six ambulances. The necessity for this number has been demonstrated many times.

In accordance with modern methods in Hospital management, with reference to pneumonia and tubercular diseases, roof wards have been constructed so that these cases may be segregated and eliminated from the general wards.

The Jersey City Hospital was selected by the Federal Government for a venereal disease clinic during the period of the war. This clinic has functioned very successfully, and is being continued as a special department, 415 cases having been admitted to the wards and clinics during the year 1920, and 2,029 treatments having been given. This indicates the necessity for such a clinic as part of the Hospital service.

Maternity Service.

The Maternity service of the Jersey City Hospital is very complete and the results shown in this department are notable. Under the chief of the service a prenatal clinic has also been established. This clinic has proven of great benefit to the prospective mother.
A feature of the Hospital construction is the balconies, which were originally intended as fire escapes. They have been constructed in such a way that they can be utilized for sleeping porches or for ambulatory patients, and it is estimated that in the event of an epidemic such as occurred in 1918 they could accommodate about three hundred and fifty patients.

The Jersey City Hospital Training School for Nurses has been brought up to a high standard of efficiency. Its reputation is established by the fact that pupil nurses are enrolled from many of the large cities of the United States and Canada.

The Nurses' Home is the finest in the country and can accommodate about one hundred and thirty nurses. The home is completely equipped with every modern convenience. The X-Ray and Pathological Departments have the most modern equipment, and are in charge of men who are recognized as authorities in their special work.

The new out-patient department is so arranged that the patients availing themselves of its facilities are handled without any confusion. The clinics represented in this department are fully equipped for the complete and efficient treatment of patients who properly belong in these clinics. The drug department, which adjoins the clinics, has been brought up to a high modern standard.

The great majority of the people of Jersey City are not aware of the volume of work done at the Jersey City Hospital during the course of a year. It will interest many to know that during the past year 39,861 patients were treated in all departments, 1,090 major operations were performed, 1,243 minor operations were performed, 5,373 persons were treated in the emergency room, which is open day and night, and 5,268 ambulance calls were responded to.

There is no phase of medical activity that is not completely looked after by the Medical Department of Jersey City, through the Board of Health, Child Hygiene, Division Hospital for Contagious Diseases, and the Jersey City Hospital. Every safguard is afforded not only to prevent disease, but to preserve health, and because of the efforts of Mayor Hague, with the enthusiastic support of his fellow Commissioners, Jersey City is now far ahead of most cities of this country in the completeness of the system.

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