November 29, 1907


City Physician Sanders Said to Be
Contemplating Removal of Wom-
en Who Are Thought to Have
Talked "Too Freely."

For some time the rumor has been circulating that on the first of the month the nurses now on duty at the emergency hospital in the city hall will be replaced by male attendants. When Dr. St. Elmo Sanders was asked about the matter he said:

"Yes, I have hard the rumor, and it has been suggested to me that I make the change. I am not saying that such a change will be made, but I will admit that it has been under consideration."

Under the old police surgeon system, where all injured persons were treated in a little room in the areaway in the rear of police headquarters, the main objection to the system was that there were no provisions for the care of injured women. In many instances women, unaccompanied, sustained injuries and were taken to the police surgeon's room in an ambulance. It was often necessary that the surgeon have assistance in preparing his patent to be taken to the general hospital or home. No women nurses being about, this assistance had to come from police, jailers, or bystanders -- all men. The windows to the operating room were uncontained. Oftentimes a woman had to be left in pain and suffering until a female relative, or friend, could be called to be present at what treatment had to be given before the injured woman's removal to a hospital or home.

Since the establishment of the emergency hospital, on January 7 last after the police board did away with its surgeons, the one great pride that the public has had in the institution has been the fact that trained nurses were always on duty. In the miniature hospital is a complete operating room. To one side of that is a female ward with three snowy beds and on the other a male ward with nine beds just as white.

Now when a person is taken there injured, and it is the opinion of the surgeon that he or she not be moved for a time until the shock of the injury is over, proper care can be taken of the victim . Twice during last week it became necessary to take women to the emergency hospital in an ambulance. Madam Anna Etienne, suffocated by smoke in a fire at the Missouri building, was cared for and tenderly placed in bed by the nurses. She died the following day. The other woman, who was struck by a street car, had to be disrobed and placed in bed for the night. Who is to care for women patients in case the trained nurses are removed Dr. Saunders did not say.

It was a great surprise to hear even a rumor afloat about the removal of the female nurses and many wondered why the move, if such is to be the case, was to be. The only reason given, and that, too, is based entirely on rumor, is that it was believed that the nurses at the emergency, who all live at the general hospital, have disclosed information about doings at the general hospital. It was said that they heard a great deal of gossip out at the hospital and then gossiped again when they reached the city hall, and in that way a great many "tips" were given the press. So far as can be learned, however, not a nurse has been guilty of "telling tales out of school," even though they have been accused of it. Dr. Sanders said he would know by December 1 if the change to male attendants was to be made.