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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The Mayor takes great personal pride in the hospital. He has an office there, and, when he is in Jersey City at all, he spends as much time in the Medical Center as in any other place. Politicians seeking to consult him are more apt to find him in that office or strolling about in the wards or corridors than at the City Hall. He gets personally acquainted with as many of the patients as possible, and does not hesitate from any sense of false modesty to point out to them who built the magnificent hospital for their care. He does not forget people he meets there – nor do they forget him.

He regards Jersey City hospitals as peculiarly his own. Appearing before the Mackay Committee in 1921:

The Mayor admitted that during the influenza epidemic two nurses had been sent from the City Hospital to take care of his son. He said, however, that he believed this was compensated for by his own presence at the hospital through the day and night. He said he assisted in carrying patients into the institution and directing its work. If he had not had the nurses at his son's bedside, he said, he would have been forced to stay with the boy instead of lending his services to the public. (Newark Evening News, April 29, 1921.)
His honor, it appears, is worth more than two nurses at the hospital; but not at home.

This was not the last time for Frank, Junior, to receive special, extra-mural attention. In March, 1934, when he was twenty-seven and a student at Washington and Lee, he turned his automobile over on the road between Buena Vista and Lexington, Virginia; he suffered a fractured pelvis and serious internal injuries. The Mayor and Mrs. Hague at the time were aboard the Carinthia on a West Indies cruise. Deputy Mayor John Malone, however, knew just what to do; he took Doctor Edgar Burke, chief surgeon at the Medical Center, and set out at once for Lexington. Fortunately for the judiciary of New Jersey, the young man recovered.

It might be supposed that the Hudson County Medical Society would have something to say about this incident, and would have more to say about the operation of political medicine in Jersey City. Most doctors who wish to practice in Jersey City, however, make no public complaints. They will tell an inquirer any number of stories about the operation of the machine and the hospital and then refuse to allow their testimony to be used. One third of the doctors in the county, according to one physician's count, are paid in whole or in part by the Center, and the remainder wish to be able to take patients there without friction, without trouble, as they say. The Medical Society has its offices in the Center, where its activities are under the Mayor's benevolent but watchful eye. Its officers are always and only men who have his confidence; and to see that no others might be elected he has often sent city detectives, known to the physicians, to the annual meetings at which the doctors elect the officers.


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