At the time, polio was a very scary disease for children and their families. Many questions were left unanswered because of the mystery of the disease. The author of this article was a mother whose child was at the emergency hospital suffering from polio.
Near-Miracles at Polio Hospital, Where Everyone Works in Sacrificial Way
By Helen Ross
Editor’s Note- The writer, who is the Newton correspondent of The Record, is the mother of a child that is being treated in the Emergency hospital.
Newton, July 19- There are no words that can adequately express the near miracles that have been performed at the Lake Hickory Emergency hospital for treatment and care of those suffering from infantile paralysis. Neither are there words that will give due credit to the personnel of the hospital for their untiring work and cheerful and loving attendance to their patients.
There’s a spirit about the place that is not found in ordinary hospitals. Every person, the doctors, nurses, the office and the kitchen forces, and the volunteer workers all seem to be driven by an inner force that compels them to go as long as 12 and 14 hours at a stretch in an effort to give the polio victims everything that is humanly possible for them to have in the way of even the smallest comfort. Not only are those directly associated with the hospital giving invaluable aid, but also citizens of the area are sending toys, comic books, picture and color books, and food of every description for use there.
It is an awe-inspiring sight to watch the efficiency of the place; to see the whole-hearted cooperation among the members of the medical staff and the business end of the hospital. All are concerned with the one primary goal of getting those one hundred or more patients well, or as near well as possible – and getting them once more back to their homes. It is enough to soften the heart of the most hardened and unconcerned person in this world to see the cheerfulness of the doctors and nurses in dealing with their patients, and the grateful response those patients show. It is enough to make the complainer and unbeliever in humanity experience a complete right-about-face, to watch the patience and good spirits of those afflicted with the disease.
There are women, volunteer workers, and men, too, who do not wash their dishes or sweep their floors at home, working at those same menial tasks as if there were a God-given privilege as indeed it is. One such worker was heard to say, “that once you go out there, you’ve got to go again and again or never be able to face yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience.”
If there were no other compensation for the doctors and nurses than the awed gratitude of parents of those who are receiving treatment at the hospital, that would likely be enough. As long as they live, these men and women of the medical world will be remembered and loved by the families and the patients for the things that they have accomplished in the way of lives saved and the comforts they have given to the victims of this disease. No anxious parents are brushed aside with only a brusque word or two as to their child’s condition for no matter how busy they might be, some doctor or nurse is always willing to stop and talk to mothers and fathers, telling them as much as they know themselves about any particular patient…
Citation: Ross, H. “Near Miracles at Polio Hospital, Where Everyone Works in Sacrificial Way.” Hickory Record. July 19, 1944. https://hickoryrecord.com/miracle-of-hickory-gallery/collection_ff940d70-9833-11e9-80f3-973d2b2c9398.html#36. Accessed 22 August 2023.
- Although the disease was life-threatening, the author writes this article in a very positive tone. Even as a mother whose child was suffering from polio, why do you think the author wrote in this manner?
- This newspaper was the local paper that most townspeople read. What message is the author giving the readers when she includes the quote, “Once you go out there, you’ve got to go again and again or never be able to face yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience”?
- Reread the paragraph under the heading, Double Compensation. How do you think the author was treated, as a mother of a patient, by the doctors and staff in the hospital?
Sacrificial: describes things that involve a sacrifice—something important or precious that is given up for the sake of gaining something or allowing something to happen that is considered more important
Personnel: employees that work at a certain place
Invaluable: something so valuable it can’t be measured
Right-about-face: total change in opinion
Conscience: inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.
Compensation: something received, usually payment, for a completed job or task
Brusque: abrupt; blunt; rough