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NINETEENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
STATE OF IOWA,
APPOINTED TO VISIT THE
HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
F. M. MILLS, STATE PRINTER.
To the Nineteenth General Assembly of the State of Iowa:
YOUR joint committee charged with the duty of visiting and inquiring into the management of the Iowa Hospital for the Insane at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, beg leave to report that they have performed their duty in accordance with the concurrent resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Your committee would report that on the 31st day of January, 1882, they met at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and effected an organization by electing Senator J. C. Shrader chairman, and A. V. Stout, clerk, and then adjourned to meet at the hospital on the same day, where they proceeded to the work assigned them.
Your committee were charged with the following duties :
To examine and include in their report:
First. Whether the appropriations made by the last General Assembly have been wisely and economically expended.
Second. Whether they have been expended for the objects appropriated.
Third. Whether chapter 67, of the acts of the Seventeenth General Assembly has been complied with, in not contracting indebtedness in excess of appropriations.
Fourth. Whether there has been any diversion of any money from the specific purpose for which it was drawn from the State treasury. Fifth. Said committee shall also report the names and number of persons employed by the institution, for what purpose employed, and at what salary. Also, whether any of the employes receive, or have received anything in addition to the salary, in the way of board, rooms, lights, fuel, or clothing, or anything else at the expense of the State.
Sixth. Said committee shall specially examine and report as to the sufficiency of the means of fire escape, in case of fire; and, also, as to the protection against fire.
Your committee would most respectfully submit the following report of their visit and examination:
We began by visiting the hospital in the official capacity as a visiting committee. We examined the books, records and vouchers connected with the financial management of the hospital, and gave the hospital building and grounds a thorough inspection. The hospital building is an imposing structure, but a careful inspection will disclose the imperfect foundation upon which it rests; the sub-basement walls of the main building have been partially replaced during the last biennial period by a new foundation, under the supervision of the Superintendent, and your committee find the work done in a good, substantial and workman-like manner. The five thousand dollars appropriated by the Eighteenth General Assembly for completing the sub-basement walls has been wisely expended, but the work is not completed, and your committee would recommend a further appropriation for the completion of the same.
The offices of the Superintendent, Steward, physicians and assistant physicians and apothecary store-rooms are located on the first floor of the hospital. The wards for the patients are in the east and west wings of the main building. The laundry, store-room and bakery are situated in the rear center building. The laundry is provided with all the necessary machinery, such as washing machines, wringers, and boilers necessary for the hospital. Above the wash-room is located the ironing-room, in which is the mangler, which does the greater part of the ironing by steam power. The bakery is provided with a rotary oven, and the necessary machinery for making crackers. The engineroom is located in rear of the rear center building. There are five large boilers located here, of an improved pattern, and they are competent to perform the duties required of them.
Your committee also visited the minor buildings connected with the hospital, such as barn, ice-house, smoke-house, carpenter and blacksmith shops. The barn and wagon-house we find sufficient for the wants of the hospital, there being barn-room enough for the stock upon the hospital farm. The ice-house of the hospital we found in good condition and well stored with ice obtained from the reservoir upon the hospital grounds. We find that the money appropriated for the erection of a building to be used for the storage of fresh and salt meats, and for use as a smoke-house, has been wisely and judiciously expended, and now a good.and substantial brick building has replaced
the old, decayed frame building formerly used for this purpose. The carpenter shop is all that is required, and your committee are of the opinion that the sum asked for the purpose of building an addition to the carpenter shop, for the storage of lumber, is not absolutely necesessary. The money appropriated by the last General Assembly for the purpose of erecting a blacksmith shop, was deemed insufficient by the Trustees, and, consequently, no part thereof has been used for the purpose designated. Your committee are of the opinion that from the amount of material already on hand, that the sum appropriated is amply sufficient. The water supply is amply sufficient for the number of patients at present confined there. The reservoirs and filtering houses through which the water is supplied have been placed in good repair from the appropriations granted.
We found a very efficient corps of medical assistants, who are attentive to the wants of the patients. The Superintendent, Dr. Ranney, at the time of our visit, was upon his death-bed, and could afford us no information as to the needs of the institution. Dr. Ranney died the evening of the day we made our visit to the institution. His place will be difficult to fill, as he had made this his life's work. A man of rare executive ability, and most excellent judgment, he was peculiarly fitted for the responsible duties of the position. In his death the institution has lost a valuable officer, brave and fearless in the discharge of his duty, a loss to the profession which he honored, and to the State which he so well and faithfully served. His long experience in the duties and labors attending the institution had given him such perfect knowledge of all the details and wants of not only the institution, but of the patients under his supervision.
The capacity of the hospital is but for three hundred patients, whereas there are now five hundred and forty-five confined therein. This is altogether too crowded a condition for either the health or comfort of the patients, and should be remedied. We found the patients well cared for, the wards clean, well warmed, and a part well ventilated. We find, upon examination, that the ventilation of some of the rooms is very deficient: the registers were improperly placed, so that the warm, pure air is carried off, while the impure atmosphere remains in the rooms; this defect has been remedied in some respects in a part of the building, and we would recommend an appropriation of a sufficient sum to complete the needed changes in this department. The bedding and clothing of the patients we found to be clean and in good condi