Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dr. Register on the Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Hoke County, 1916

From The Commonwealth, Scotland Neck, N.C., Nov. 24, 1916
Dr. Register Visits State Sanitarium…Praises Efficiency of Staff and Faulty…White Plague Being Conquered

The great work being accomplished by the various State institutions in combatting tuberculosis, or the white plague, as it is commonly known, is attracting world wide attention, and in this state, where the local conditions at Sanitarium, N.C., are so much in favor of successful treatment, should be a matter of pride to citizens of the Old North State.

We are indebted to Dr. Register for a letter on the subject which coming from a man on high in the medical fraternity carries with it great weight and is really an address to the people of this section of the state. His letter is as follows.

The Editor, The Commonwealth, Scotland Neck, N.C.

Dear Sir:
A few weeks ago it was my great pleasure to visit our State tuberculosis Sanitorium at Sanatorium, N.C. As many people in the State know little or nothing of this institution I would deem it a privilege to tell you readers something of my visit and some of the interesting and important facts which I learned.

Arriving at Sanatorium about 10 a.m., I was cordially received by Dr. McBrayer, the Superintendent of the institution, and his two efficient co-workers, Doctors McCain and Thompson. McBrayer is a man large in body and in mind and is eminently fitted for the very important work which is being done in this institution. Under his wise and efficient administration truly notable things are being accomplished in the battle with the great white plague.

In the Sanatorium I had the pleasure of meeting the nurses and patients, and also some former patients who had returned for examination. It was interesting and gratifying to note that all of those former patients have continued to improve after leaving the Sanatorium, thus illustrating the permanent value of the treatment they had received.

Tuberculosis has long been recognized as one of our most dreaded diseases, taking an enormous toll of human life, and being considered both unavoidable and insurable But in this institution the disease is being treated with courage and success, in the light of the best modern science and medical practice. Patients are being taught how to care for themselves and for others. The sanatorium is a great educational centre, whose inmates are being trained for effective war on the plague. It is like a missionary station in a heathen country. It helps not only those who are so fortunate as to go there, but others to whom are carried the glad tidings that consumption is both avoidable and curable.

The great white plague is no respecter of persons. “The sickness that wasteth a noonday” is liable to enter any home, from the highest to the most humble. All our people have a vital interest in this institution that is rendering such good service in fighting a common enemy. It deserves our united and liberal support, and its capacity should be doubled at once.

The Sanatorium is situated in Hoke county in the sandhills, among the long leaf pine. It is high and dry. From the top of the building one can see 40 miles in any direction. The soil is so porous that just after a hard rain one can go and walk about without getting his feet wet. The days and nights are equable. All in all the situation and climate are ideal for an institution of this kind.

The medical profession has been somewhat backward in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. But there is a great awakening in this matter. More than half the cases that are sent to the Sanatorium are incipient, which means with proper treatment they will get well. Every case of tuberculosis allowed to run to an advanced stage means a losing fight for the patient, but also that this person becomes a new center of infection for the spread of the disease. Success in the fight with this terrible plague must be one by preventive measures, to avoid the development of new cases, and by prompt treatment of every case in its early stages. Especial responsibility rests upon the medical profession and upon the heads of institutions to be alert in the diagnosis of tuberculosis and to provide promptly for the isolation and treatment of all cases in their incipiency. Institutions where large numbers of people are kept together as fertile breeding places for the development and spread of the disease. Neglect in such institutions may more than counterbalance the good work being done in our State Sanatorium.

I am under special obligations for the gracious hospitality shown me by Dr. McBrayer’s wife and daughter. These charming ladies know how to make even a stranger feel perfectly at home. At their table I enjoyed two delightful meals. And at the close of my visit they took me in their car for a drive through the country to Aberdeen.
            --F.M. Register, M.D., Tillery, N.C.

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