June 3, 1908


Little Patients Look Forward to the
Day With Impatience -- A
Gleam in Their Mel-
ancholy Lives.

"Wait till our new playroom's done." That is what the little boys and girls, inmates of the Mercy Hospital, Fifth street and Highland avenue, are saying. Everything now centers about that large new playroom which is almost completed, and every morning and afternoon the nurses have to take the children back into the new building and let them feast their eyes on the room which is to mean so much fun to them.

Some of the little patients in the hospital have been there for seven months, and in some cases there are not many signs of improvement. Their lives are not full of pleasure, and it is seldom that visitors who take more than a patronizing interest in them are seen. The little fellows feel that they are being made spectacles of and they can see the pity in their visitors' eyes. That is not what they want; they want comradeship. Their games are few, and in bad weather they must stay indoors. For this reason they look forward to the large playroom with such promise of rainy day pleasure.

At present there are eleven patients in the hospital, ranging from 10 days to 8 years in age. The older children are unusually bright and quick to learn, and in the most instances they desire to keep up their school work while in the hospital. Slates and school books have been provided for that purpose and the nurses take turns in teaching them. Few of the children, except the infants, are confined in beds, and so they find ample time to play at their games.

Running games are on the "blacklist" among them for one of their number is a cripple and cannot move without the aid of crutches. The children themselves have passed the rule that no game which calls for running or jumping shall be played, and so most of the time is spent in telling stories and piecing card maps.

"You see Joey, he's got hip d'sease, and it ain't fair to him if we play tag cause he'd have to sit and look," said one little girl in telling about their games.

But the nurses take the most interest in the infants. Maybe it is because every unnamed infant which is brought to the hospital is named for one of the nurses. There are Anne, Ruth, Carmen and Marjorie. Then the male infants are named for the doctors or particular friends of the nurses, such as Ralph and Billy. Billy is the pet of the hospital. He belongs to a mother and father who wish he did not belong to them, and consequently they are never seen about the hospital. Billy is 2 years old and is almost blind, totally in one eye. He can not talk, but his actions are so pathetic, say the nurses, that "you just can't help loving him." And so Billy gets the cream.

Miss Virginia Porter, superintendent of the hospital, says that older children are all well behaved and that they grow fond of the hospital and nurses. Even though they come of parents who do not love them, for the most part, Miss Porter tries to teach them that they should love their home and their parents above all else. The children all show the effect of this teaching, for when one little girl in the hospital was asked if she would rather stay in the hospital or go home, her little face grew long and she said: "I'd rather go home, I guess, for Mrs. Porter says that homes are the best places in the world."