Archive for March 9th, 2011


Afflicted Persons Allowed Freedom

   Posted by: admin    in Medical matters, People

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 9, 1904

Afflicted Persons Allowed Freedom

Smallpox Case at Merchants Hotel Leads to Discovery of Startling Facts.

Family Suffers From Disease

But Until Tuesday Not Reported – Meanwhile Guests Come and Go.

If the statement made by the health authorities is true a number of cases of smallpox have existed in the city for several weeks and until Tuesday no effort has been made to report the disease to the proper officers, nor was there quarantine established, the afflicted premises being accessible to many persons during the time the sickness existed.

Tuesday a case of smallpox was reported at the Merchant’s hotel between Seventh and Eighth streets on First avenue north. The place was quarantined and now it is said that an investigation had led to the discovery that the disease has existing in the hotel for some time. M. L. Sperry, the proprietor, his wife and several of the children have had the disease, according to the report, and the children have been attending school.

It is also claimed that a teacher in the school attended by the children has been a sufferer from the disease. The malady has existed in a light form and as the several members of the family have suffered from it they have been kept in their rooms, but no medical attendance has been engaged.

A few days ago, Harry Kettering, a man of all work who has been employed at the hotel for his board, who was taken sick and showed symptoms of the disease. He was sent to a physician by the proprietor and returned to the hotel saying that the doctor pronounced him to be suffering from smallpox. His case continued to grow worse and he was again sent to the physician. the latter reports that his visit Tuesday was the first and then it only took him a short time to discover that he was afflicted with smallpox.

The health authorities were immediately notified by the physician and the hotel placed under quarantine. This morning City Physician C.H. Churchill visited the hotel and was told by the proprietor that himself and family had suffered what seemed to be the same disease but that they recovered and medical attention was not necessary.

There were a number of quests at the hotel Tuesday and those who did not leave will probably have to remain in quarantine until released by the proper authorities. The particular danger that has existed has been the coming and going of guests at the hotel while the disease has been prevalent.

Kettering is now kept in a room at the hotel. This morning a man named Dean applied for the privilege of removing the patient to his home, where he said he would care for him. Kettering, it seems, had been at the Dean home since he has been suffering from smallpox and even if he is not removed there the house will probably be quarantined.

Providing is it learned where inmates of the hotel have been during the past week or so, several more quarantines may be established.

(Editor’s note: An update on this story is located here: West Fort Dodge Protests.)

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Crawled into Furnace in Search of Warmth

   Posted by: admin    in Hospital, People

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 9, 1903

Crawled into Furnace in Search of Warmth

None but a Webster City Man Could Think of Such a Unique Performance as This.

Webster City, March 9 – A fellow by the name of Murphy, an employe (sic) at the new Mercy Hospital building recently crawled into the hospital furnace to get warm while drunk and narrowly escaped serious injuries.

Murphy had been working thru the day with the regular hospital gang. At the close of the day’s work he filled up with liquor and instead of returning to his boarding place, went back to the hospital building. The furnace had been firedĀ  up during the day but had been allowed to go down at night. The room and become chilly and Murphy was cold. Looking about in a drunken stupor for a warm place he came to the furnace. He opened the door of the fire box and crawled in. The fire had died down and Murphy lay on the smouldering (sic) ashes some time before he was badly enough burned to realize that his position was dangerous. He succeeded in making his exit and was found next morning by his companions when they went to work. He was lying in a corner covered from head to foot with ashes and his clothing partly burned off him. The whole of one side of his body is quite badly burned but the fellow sustained no serious injuries.

(Editor’s note: I think the drophead about only a Webster City man could think of something like this is indicative of a rivalry between Fort Dodge and Webster City. No current disrespect is intended.)

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