Friday, July 29, 2016

Barlow Sanitarium

My third cousin twice removed, Florence C. (Garrison) English, descended from Rev. James Mitchell (1747-1841), as do I. The reverend was my four times great grandfather. Florence was born on 17 May 1917 in Warren County, Kentucky, to Frank Young Garrison and Lelah (or Lelia) Collins. Florence died on 27 April 1997. When the 1940 census was enumerated, she was a patient at the Barlow Sanitarium in Los Angeles. It was a tuberculosis hospital.

Barlow Sanitarium campus circa 1907; courtesy of the Barlow Foundation

Barlow Sanitarium was founded by Dr. Walter Jarvis Barlow, a doctor from New York, who was forced to move west in search of a warm, sunny, dry climate after contracting tuberculosis in 1895. It was built on a 25-acre property next door to Elysian Park on Chavez Ravine Road. He founded the facility two years before the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was created. By 1944 effective treatments for tuberculosis had been developed, which was lucky for Florence Garrison as she went on to live for over 50 beyond her stay at the sanitarium.

During Dr. Barlow's lifetime the patients's care was governed by strict guidelines. One such document read as follows:

"Patients must not expectorate anywhere except in cups provided for that purpose. Cloths are to be used as handkerchiefs and burned morning and evening. Patients must not discuss their ailments or make unnecessary noise. Patients must not put anything hot on glass tables. Lights out by 9 p.m. Cold plunge every morning; hot baths Tuesday and Saturday. Patients are forbidden to throw water or refuse of any kind on the ground. When doctors think them able, every patient must do some work about the Sanatorium or go away. Patients disobeying these rules will be dismissed."

Barlow Respiratory Hospital; courtesy Wikipedia

Barlow still exists today on its 25-acre campus as the Barlow Respiratory Hospital.

Tuberculosis: Greatest Killer in History

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