Exactly Year Ago When Institution Began Its Service
picture to be added later
Capt. Claude W. Carr Official U.S.N. Photo
A veteran of thirty years of Naval service, Captain Claude W. Carr, (MC) USN, is Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Hospital at Sampson
15,000 Patients in First Year of Operation
Sampson, N.Y. February 28 - Yesterday was the first birthday of the great U.S. Naval Hospital at Sampson, which adjoins the largest Naval Training Station in the East. Just a year ago, establishment ceremonies attended by local luminaries and officers and men of the Navy were held, formally placing in operation this modern institution for the care of the sick and wounded of the sea-going branches of the nation's armed forces.
In the year which has passed, the hospital and its staff have done a big job and done it well. More than 15,000 BlueJackets and marines have been admitted as patients - many of them combat casualties requiring months of care and treatment.
Though its fifteen hundred beds give it a capacity as large as that of any hospital, civilian or service, in west-central New York, such a figure is inadequate as a means of conveying its real size and importance. A survey of its facilities makes it evident that the American serviceman is getting the best in medical care that science can offer. These services typify the elaborate pains taken by our military authorities to see that men temporarily out of action are adequately cared for physically, mentally and spiritually - that, in a word, morale does not suffer as a result of inactivity and a pause for repairs.
It is only natural that the rising tempo of American participation in the actual fighting of the war should result in increased interest in the medical treatment given the wounded and future combat men. The hospital at Sampson is one of the largest the Navy has for the care of its own. One of many hospitals built for servicemen since the beginning of the war, it occupies 453 acres of rolling land on the eastern shore of beautiful Seneca Lake - at the extreme southern tip of the 2,500 acres jointly occupied by Training Station and Hospital.
For the most part, the Hospital serves the Training Station at present. Recruits and personnel of the Station who are seriously sick go there. Hundreds of minor operations of a "corrective" nature - for hernia, removal of cysts, varicose veins, and the like - are performed to put men in top physical condition., But it also has received hundreds of wounded from all areas of the globe where the Navy has been in action - which is to say the South Pacific, Africa, Sicily, the Aleutians and other parts of the seven seas. Combat casualties who come to Sampson are residents of this general area. They come here from other Navy hospitals for further treatment. Some arrive after having had convalescent leave at home and receive little more at Sampson than rest and a thorough check to see that they are ready to return to active duty. But the battle-damaged stay on until everything has been done which medical science has to offer for the repair of bone and tissue.
At the time of the establishment ceremonies a year ago, only 22 of the 44 ward units of the Hospital were open. Just a small part of the present station had been assembled, and many of the activities now in full operation were not even on paper. Under the able direction of Captain Claude W. Carr, (MC) USN, Medical officer in command, and with the assistance of Captain Harry A. Badt, USN Commandant of the Training Station and Hospital, staff and facilities have been rounded out. It is today a scene of efficient activity, with all of the many operation meshed into a pattern making for the welfare of the patients. The present staff included 40 medical officers and interns, with Captain Courney G. Clegg, (MC), USN, just returned from two years of duty at sea, as Executive Officer. That number will be increased to between 60 and 65. There are now six other Hospital Corps officers engaged exclusively in administrative work and four dental officers.
The majority of the medical and dental officers were commissioned in the Navy directly from civilian life after the beginning of the war, and many of them were drawn from the large hospitals of this immediate area - Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Elmira.
Navy nurses on duty number 184, with commissions ranging from ensign to lieutenant senior grade. Their expert services are supplemented by those of 77 WAVES, with one WAVE officer. The authorized complement of Hospital Corpsmen is 447 - a number which diminishes as WAVE replacements come in. There are also 169 civilian employees working in the commissary department, offices and in maintenance.
Of semi-permanent construction, the Hospital was built in approximately five months at a cost of roughly $6,000,000. It follows plans drawn up by the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, with unit wards on the ground level connected by heated corridors. The wards are spaced so as to allow a maximum of air and sunshine and other details similarly represent the most advanced ideas in hospital construction. In the opinion of Captain Carr, the location is ideal to the purpose, with relatively low humidity, good air and attractive surroundings.
The Hospital has four major and six minor operating rooms, kept busy much of the time. Ultra-modern features include four isolation wards, in which each bed is surrounded by glass partitions which prevent spread of air-born infections without giving patients the feeling of confinement.
Two of the forty-four wards are set aside for the dependents of service men. Here wives and children of enlisted men and officers receive at minimum cost to themselves medical care of the best in private rooms.
Every modern device for the emergency treatment and cure of the sick and injured is at hand, with trained personnel to operate it. For example, there are four respirators or "iron lungs" and eight oxygen tents. The Hospital maintains its own blood bank, adequate for all its needs, which is supplied in the main by the civilian employees. Captain Carr pointed out that it has made it possible to give a transfusion within half an hour after a patient was admitted - the case diagnosed, blood typed and all other details of preparing the patient complete in that short interval. The Hospital has the latest in X-Ray equipment and physiotherapy and orthopedic wards offer a wide variety of therapeutic aids for treatment of special cases.
It may help to suggest that this is more than a hospital in the usual civilian sense, to point out that there are living accommodations for a small community, embracing religious and entertainment activities on a generous scale for patients and personnel. Naturally the emphasis is all on the patient, but there is a well-rounded recreational and home life made possible for corpsmen, WAVES, officers and nurses.
For the benefit of patients and personnel, a recreational wing houses a liberally stocked library. Ship's Service (canteen), pool room, an auditorium seating 500, tailor shop, barber shop, beauty parlor, cobbler shop, a large sun room, Red Cross office and other conveniences and comforts.
In the wards themselves, each bed is equipped with a set of earphones so that patients may listen to radio programs and like entertainment without disturbing their neighbors. The Welfare and Recreation Department, headed by Lieut. (jg) Ralph W. Cheney, supplies a wide range of entertainment both in the wards and centrally. Movies or some other form of entertainment are shown in the auditorium five evenings a week. A "Happy Hour," using talent from among patients and personnel, is held once every three weeks and a USO show is brought to the auditorium once a month. Besides, programs by celebrated artists are arranged from time to time. Recent affairs of this nature have brought Jose Iturbi, famous pianist, and the appearance of such well-known artists as the Ink Spots, Golden Gate Quartette, and Borrah Minnevitch and His Harmonica Rascals.
Both Catholic and Protestant religious services are held in the auditorium for patients and personnel on Sunday, and a Catholic mass is held every afternoon in the large solarium of the recreational wing. Patients may go to confession at any time. A Catholic and Protestant chaplain give their full time to the Hospital.
Four days a week a program of request recordings replaces, for an hour, the radio programs piped into the wards to the earphones at the patients' beds. Two WAVE pharmacist's mates, Dona Gantt and Gwen Allis, attached to the Welfare and Recreation office, have charge of this. They dedicate numbers to individual patients and in general make it an hour of informal "fun." On Tuesday the chaplains take over and a half-hour religious program is put on the broadcast channels, with talks by visiting ministers, meditations, and religious music. Saturday afternoon it is the turn of the librarian, Miss Josephine Gilmore. For an hour she reviews books and plays and presents symphony recordings.
Books from the library are available in the wards, as are magazines and other periodicals. And of course such standard recreational tools as chess, checkers and cards are circulated. Each ward has its own solarium at the end, where the ambulatory of "up" patients can gather for such mild sports and just plain talk.
The year which has passed since establishment ceremonies were held has been a busy one and has brought any changes. Of the officers now attached to the Hospital only four were members of the small group which made the preliminary preparations while construction was under way. They were at that time attached to the Training Station, under Capt. Badt. Captain Carr was one of them. The others are Lieut. Harry N. Trotter, (HC) USN, in charge of property and accounting; Lieut (jg) Rowland R. Hazelwood, (HC) USN, Personnel Officer, and Ensign Russell A. Fleming, (HC) USN, Commissary Officer. Much of the credit for smooth functioning of organization is due them.
As the war progresses and the emphasis on recruiting is replaced by the care of men from the battle areas, combat casualties will be the major concern of the Hospital. Depending on the length and extent of our participation in the fighting - which no one can doubt will be considerable - the resources of this great war-time institution will more and more be taken over by the task of restoring to health and activity men who have stopped enemy steel. And there is every reason to believe that it will do that job just as well as it is doing the present one.