Dispensaries and Similar Medical Units
Numerous requests have come for information concerning the organization, financing, and conduct of dispensaries in connection with our churches and evangelistic efforts. As they have been developed chiefly in the West thus far, we present herewith reports from some who are conducting such efforts in that section.—Editors.
Procedure in Establishin Units
By O. W. Dolph
Medical missionary work, we are told, "should be a part of the work of every church in our land." We are also informed that "we have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work." A study of Matthew 4:23 and 9:35, and the reading of the instruction given in the Spirit of prophecy will stir our congregations to activity in medical missionary work. Not only will our doctors and nurses and all who are interested in medical work cheerfully respond, but our laity will come forward with financial and other aid.
Before presenting such a project to the church, however, the accord of the church board should be assured, and doctors in the congregation consulted. The services of graduate nurses should likewise be solicited to teach home nursing classes, which are organized at the same time the medical units are launched. When the plan is presented to the church on Sabbath morning, the call for funds is made, and enrollments are taken for the home nursing classes. Volunteers for solicitation of money, equipment, etc., are called for, and field days arranged.
Plans for the unit should be drawn up to conform to the wishes of the congregation and the available free services of mechanics. Merchants are then solicited for materials and supplies,
:and their contributions are cheerfully given when plans are shown and explanation is made to them that our work will be for the sick and needy poor in the immediate neighborhood.
The cost of establishing and equipping a unit will vary in accordance with its location and the size desired. A bathtub, toilet, and sink are the principal plumbing fixtures needed. A water heater is also necessary. These articles can be found in second-hand stores, where the prices will vary and where the purchasing ability of the buyer will govern. Some electric fixtures may be needed, as well as other incidentals. The labor can usually be procured free from members of the church. Many of the articles needed may be obtained by solicitation if members of the church will do the soliciting.
The cost will also be governed to some extent by the ability of the person placed in charge of the building and equipping of the unit. I believe that under ordinary circumstances, with the co-operation of the church, a very acceptable little unit could be installed for $100. This would include the articles mentioned above, as well as two treatment tables, the necessary partitions, lumber, paint, etc.
At no time in our experience here has it been necessary for the conference to advance any money. Each unit has financed itself as we have gone along with the work. In one instance a brother who was contributing his services, ran out of paint, and just about the time he was using the last, a church member came along and gave him some money to buy more. Many such experiences occurred.
In the home nursing classes many were enrolled who were not Seventh-day Adventists, and as a result of their contact with our work a number were baptized and joined our church. The units were used as class and demonstration rooms for these home nursing classes, and the members became interested and enthusiastic about the work. Then when they completed the course, they would contribute their services to care for the patients. We found it well to organize new classes as soon as the others were completed. This provided the units with workers.
Those who had taken the home nursing course were encouraged to visit their neighbors and help the sick. Doctors were asked to give certain hours at the units for free consultations; then the neighborhood workers could send in patients. The doctors' services soon became known, however, and they never lacked for patronage. Patients became acquainted with the methods of operation and made small contributions, which were sufficient to cover the bills for light, water, gas, etc. In this way the medical missionary unit was not a financial burden to the church.
Many children, including some from our own church, were found to have infected tonsils, adenoids, etc., but the parents were too poor to pay for an operation. Our doctors and nurses were organized for a Clinic Day, and at the time appointed as many as fifteen or sixteen children would be operated on in one of the units. During the year 1929, when this work was being kept to the fore in the California Conference, 242 such operations were performed. Parents, when able, were asked to pay up to $5 per child, and this covered the expense of ether, laundry, etc.
During the years 1928 and 1929 in the California Conference an average of 1,000 treatments a month were reported on the home missionary report cards; 437 students completed the course in home hygiene and care of the sick and received General Conference certificates; and twenty-four surgical clinics were held, at which 330 operations were performed.
When our Harvest Ingathering campaign began, the churches that were active in medical missionary work took a jump of over 100 per cent in their returns. Merchants contributed more readily to a cause that was doing such a good work. Other departments of home missionary work received a stimulus as the spirit of the Great Physician was present.
Clinic in Church BasementBy S.T. Borg
Several years before I came to this field, the Arizona Conference, and the Phoenix church in particular, had felt that there was a real opening for constructive work through medical missionary lines, which would place our work in a favorable light before the public. In harmony with this conviction, when the new church was built, two years ago, a certain section in the basement was so arranged that it could at any time be used for a clinic or dispensary.
When the Arizona and Southeastern California Conferences were united, a small amount of money was made available by the Arizona Conference committee to equip the rooms in the church for medical work. Only such equipment as was essential for examination, simple treatments, and minor surgery was provided, and since then the doctor has supplied other necessary equipment, so we have been able to do any work that comes within the scope of a clinic.
The clinic is conducted by the church, but were it not for our local doctor and our graduate nurses, we would, of course, be unable to carry on the work. Shortly before the clinic was opened, one of our doctors settled in Phoenix and opened an office. About the same time one of our church members was graduated from the Loma Linda nurses' course and came home. Having a real missionary spirit, they both volunteered their services free for the two hours twice a week that the clinic is open. There are times when our regular nurse is on special cases and cannot come; at such times other nurses are called.
When a patient comes for admittance, the assistant takes a complete record or social history of the case. A careful check is made as to whether he is able to pay, and whether he is under the care of another physician. Other questions elicit information as to whether he is eligible. We make it quite plain that patients are supposed to pay 25 cents for each call, but that if they do not have the money they will not be turned away. For minor surgery we ask them to pay $5, with the understanding that they will receive help regardless of ability to pay. While in many instances we do not collect, yet so far we have been able to pay the running expenses and have a slight surplus from what has been taken in from patients. I do not have before me a complete record of the number of patients treated during the five and a half months the clinic has been open, but I judge that it is well over 300. Twenty-five of the cases were tonsillectomies.
Our plan is to follow up each case with instruction regarding our message. Just now an evangelistic effort is being conducted in Phoenix, and it is gratifying to see people at the meetings who received their first contact with our work through the clinic.*
The social service side is the one that takes much careful planning to make the work a success. In our church we have a responsive Dorcas Society, and many cases that come to the clinic have also received clothing and food. Local merchants have been greatly impressed; and while we were just starting this line of work during the Harvest Ingathering campaign of 1932, yet it was instrumental in placing our work favorably before the business men, and we received many large contributions which otherwise could not have been expected.
*A neat two-page folder, size 31/2 x '61/2 inches, was used to advertise the clinic. On the cover appear the words, "Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Clinic," in large type; in the lefthand corner, the time of the clinic : "Mondays & Thursdays, 1 to 3 P. M. ;" in the righthand corner, the street address and telephone number. The inside pages contain an illustration of the church building and an inside view of the clinic, accompanied by the following text:
"The Welfare Clinic is conducted in the basement of this building. Four rooms have been fitted up for the purpose, with more space available. While in a church building, the clinic is operated as strictly nonsectarian.
"A competent physician and nurse, who donate their time, are in charge. Many eases of minor surgery are performed. None but those coming under the scope of Social Service patients are admitted. Patients must pay a small amount to cover expenses."
On the fourth page are given suitable quotations from "Ministry of Healing."
Southern California Units
By G. A. Roberts
In Santa Monica we have a similar home, in which live a matron and four nurses. They are meeting all their expenses, and are spending about half their time in regular medical missionary work. Five new Sabbath keepers have been reported here.
In addition to this we established in the Olympic Tabernacle in Los Angeles, a dietetic kitchen, the conference meeting the expense of the carpenter -work and the White Memorial Hospital furnishing an electric refrigerator, electric range, cooking utensils, and materials to conduct the classes. The classes were well attended throughout the entire period of instruction, and many people became interested in the truth. The conference also built, on the other side of the tabernacle, quarters for home hygiene and nursing classes; and the White Memorial Hospital furnished all equipment, tables, beds, mattresses, sheets and pillows, linen of all kinds, bandages, medicines, fomentation tank, etc., also doctors and graduate nurses to conduct the home nursing classes. The classes were well attended, and added materially to the success of the meeting.
In the tabernacle in Atwater, Los Angeles, the same thing was done, the Glendale Sanitarium furnishing all equipment, and instructors for both types of work. The classes were attended by from fifty to seventy-five regularly throughout the course.
At the new tabernacle in South Gate, just south of Los Angeles, the Glendale Sanitarium is furnishing doctors, nurses, dietitians, equipment, and supplies for the same type of work. In addition to this, the Glendale Sanitarium is now assisting in a series of health lectures and dietetic and home nursing class instruction in Santa Monica. The Southern California Gas and Electric Company has furnished a beautiful kitchen free.
The Southern California Conference is also furnishing' an evangelist and a Bible worker for service in connection with the White Memorial Hospital. The salary of these workers is to be paid by the conference, and their expenses by the White Memorial Hospital. They are to be directed in their work by the hospital. Their work is to lead medical students and nurses in training, also graduates nurses, into direct field evangelism, so that these young doctors and nurses will have evangelistic experience and a new vision of medical missionary work.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Shiloh Health Clinic, Chicago
BY O. A. Troy
The Shiloh Health and Educational Clinic, which has been open to the public since April, 1932, has given emergency service to over 1,000 needing medical and dental help. The clinic is open to the general public, and is nonsectarian in its ministry to the needy. The physicians and dentists give their services for this project -in order that suffering may be relieved.
The work of this clinic is supervised by the Chicago Board of Health, but no financial aid has been given by the city or thus far by any charitable organization. The only financial support received is from well-wishers and members of the Shiloh (colored) Seventh-day Adventist church, whose membership numbers 450.
Our staff is made up of physicians who are members of the staff of the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital. The clinic is well equipped to meet the needs of the sick. Besides the medical and dental departments, we are equipped to give hydrotherapy and electrotherapy, also Swedish and German massage, in the treament rooms as prescribed by the physicians.
The dental department is open from 9 to 12 A.M.. Mondays and Thursdays; infant welfare clinic at the same hours on Wednesday each week; and the medical department is open during the same period, Mondays to Fridays, inclusive.
Classes in home hygiene and care of the sick are conducted by the clinic staff of instructors, which includes a physician, a dentist, and three graduate, registered nurses. One hundred have already received their certificates from this particular course. Courses of instruction are under the direction of the medical department of the General Conference. To those who make application, additional training is given in German and Swedish massage and manual Swedish movements. A new class is organized about every sixty days. The students are taught not only how to take care of the sick, but are also given instruction in the prevention of sickness.