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IOWA HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE,
AT } To His Excellency, BUREN R. SHERMAN, Governor of the State of
Iowa: SIR-I have the honor herewith to transmit to you, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Iowa Hospital for the Insane at Mount Pleasant, their twelfth biennial report, together with the report of the Superintendent, and statistical and other exhibits, showing the operations of the period, and the present condition of the Institution. I have the honor to be very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
J. H. KULP, Secretary.
To His Excellency, BUREN R. SHERMAN, Governor of the State of
Iowa: The Trustees respectfully submit their twelfth biennial report, accompanied by the report of the Superintendent and the exhibits of the Steward and Treasurer.
All the regular meetings of the Board required by law have been held during this period, and monthly visits by one or two Trustees each intervening month, between the regular quarterly meetings of the Board.
The improvements and repairs have been made under the supervision of the Superintendent, with the advice and counsel of the Board of Trustees. The work is well and substantially done, and has the approval of the Trustees.
Some changes in the present law would simplify its working, and be in the line of true economy; among which we suggest that the Hospital be relieved from the burden of paying the State Visiting Committee. If paid as the matter now stands, it must be out of the current expense funds. This is not a legitimate charge to that fund, and fails to represent truthfulness.
Again, section 1,419 of the Code provides for the removal of patients who have no legal settlement in the State, if the Trustees see fit and proper. This class of patients is constantly increasing, like tramps drifting in from distant States and Canada. There being no provision made for the payment of the expense of removal, this has become a serious burden upon the State. One of these might cost from one to four thousand dollars to keep through life. Less than one year's expense would remove the most distant.
The removal of patients from the Hospital by the board of county
commissioners of insanity, before recovery, seems fraught with danger, destroying the chance of final recovery, by sending them back to their former condition when first placed in the Hospital, when a month or two longer stay bid fair to restore them to family and friends in comfortable health. Should there be two authorities on this point, the county commissioners and Hospital Superintendent? If not, which is best qualified to come to a correct judgment in the case? We suggest that the law be so modified that when a difference of opinion occurs between the commissioners of insanity of any county and the Superintendent of the Hospital, in regard to the propriety of discharging any patient, the matter be referred to the Board of Trustees for final settlement.
The quarterly meetings of the Board of Trustees, if changed from the first Wednesday of the month to the second, would lessen the labor of making returns and give a few days in which to close up accounts.
We refer your Excellency to the accompanying report of the Medical Superintendent, as containing what we deem necessary in the way of appropriations for repairs and permanent improvements during this biennial period, premising in the language of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, assembled at Toronto, Canada, in 1871, “that no expense that is required to provide just as many of these hospitals as may be necessary to give the most enlightened care to all their insane, can properly be regarded as either unwise, inexpedient, or beyond the means of any one of the United States or British Provinces."
We recommend building an addition to each wing of the Hospital, which will provide room for three hundred more patients at a per capita cost of less than one half the cost paid in either of the Hospitals for insane of the State, or that can be provided by the building of any new hospital, because we have the motive power ready to attach, and all needed hospital physicians, and would incur no additional expense except for food, clothing, and necessary attendants. These wings would be made of brick, painted stone color to correspond with the present building, and would add three wards to each wing, making twelve in each wing. This number is regarded as most desirable for the best and most perfect classification of patients, and hence increases their chances of recovery. Our estimates are made, and will not exceed the cost per capita of five hundred dollars. The
sum asked is one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Should this be appropriated, it will secure the completion of these wings for patients within the incoming biennial period.
The lamented Dr. Ranney died the last of January, 1882; was buried in the cemetery in sight of his place of toil and labor for years, and rests unconscious of all criticism as the prairie breezes that blow over his tomb.
Dr. H. M. Bassett kindly assumed the duties of Superintendent until the Trustees could secure a successor. This was done in July, and on the 16th of October following, Dr. H. A. Gilman, long and favorably known as First Assistant Superintendent of the Hospital for Insane at Jacksonville, Illinois, commenced his service as Superintendent.
Mrs. Ranney remained after the death of her husband about ten months in her position of Matron, exerting all her power and energy to perfect the work carried on for years by her beloved husband. successor of Mrs. Ranney, Mrs. F. V. Cole was duly appointed Matron, and is regarded as rendering valuable service.
Mr. E. N. Nelson succeeds Mr. J. W. Henderson as Steward; assumes all the duties of the position, employing no clerk for the past nine months, thus saving the State this expense, and by his energy and straightforward business course is winning the confidence and respect of the business community.
In closing this report the Board desires to bear testimony to the able, vigilant and untiring manner in which the resident officers are discharging their respective duties, and the general morale and good condition of the Hospital.