A Mc Kinley Memorial
To the Editor of the M N:
During the past week some lay and some medical journals announced
that it was intended to erect in Washington a McKinley Hospital
in honor of our late beloved president.
Beautiful as this idea may be, I believe
that a little memorial hospital, located in Washington, is not a
great enough tribute to a nation’s president such as was William
McKinley. Furthermore, while I would not wish to say that there
is no room for a hospital for the treatment of general diseases
in Washington, I know that there is no urgent need for it. On the
other hand, I know, and all physicians and charity workers of our
large Eastern and Western cities will bear me out when I say that
there is a crying and urgent need of a sanatorium, or rather several
sanatoria where the many little scrofulous and tuberculous children
of poor parents could receive treatment, care and the necessary
education. France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and the Scandinavian
countries all have numerous seaside sanatoria where the little sufferers
afflicted with the above-mentioned diseases are taken care of. The
seacoast climates, combined with proper sanatorium treatment, seem
to produce really wonderful results in scrofulous and tuberculous
children. The reports of some of the European seaside sanatoria
show an average of 75 per cent. of cures.
We in America have, with the exception
of one or two small children’s hospitals and a few floating hospitals
during the summer months, no such institutions. In a little address
delivered at the recent Congress on Tuberculosis in London, I said
that in our eagerness to take care of the consumptive adult we should
not forget the little sufferers afflicted with the same or other
tuberculous diseases. To treat the scrofulous or tuberculous child
(scrofulosis being only a milder form of tuberculosis), or to prevent
a child with a hereditary tendency from developing consumption or
any other form of tuberculous disease, means the saving of a life
and perhaps the preservation of a very useful future citizen.
To realize the urgent need of a seaside
sanatoria for children one must have visited the crowded tenement
districts of our great cities and seen the large number of scrofulous
and tuberculous children there and the many who bear on their pale
little faces the stamp of candidates for consumption (pulmonary
There are already laws in some States
prohibiting the tuberculous child from attending public school;
but as far as I know none of these States have provided other places
where children suffering, it is true, from a chronic communicable
but also curable disease can receive the education to which they
are entitled, much less where they could have a chance of being
cured of their affliction. The results obtained in some of our American
sanatoria for the treatment of tuberculous adults are as good as
any of those obtained in European institutions. The preventive measures
inaugurated by our New York Board of Health have not only served
as models for other American cities but have been imitated by many
European municipalities and found to be the most practical and efficacious.
We have already a number of sanatoria for the treatment of the consumptive
poor adults, though by no means enough. However, in nearly every
State of the Union the question of providing institutions for adult
tuberculous patients with little or no means is now being agitated.
Only for the countless little ones suffering from the same or other
tuberculous diseases there is nothing done.
Our good McKinley had two children,
and these he lost. He dearly loved little children and the creation
of a sanatorium for the treatment and prevention of a disease with
which so many American children are afflicted would surely be a
fitting memorial to this great man and lover of children. “McKinley
Sanatorium for the Treatment and Prevention of Tuberculous Diseases
in Children” should be the name of such an institution.
The meaning of the name William McKinley,
written on the portals of these houses of hope for many a suffering
mother’s heart, will be made clear to these little inmates by their
teachers and friends.
The word McKinley will embody to these
little sufferers all that is needed to make them good patients,
obedient pupils, noble men and women, true American citizens. McKinley’s
fortitude during the last days of his life must teach them what
all patients need: Trust in God, confidence in their physician,
patience. His words of forgiveness to the very man who slew him
must show these little children the sublimity and nobleness of his
character. McKinley’s life as a man, citizen, patriot, and president
embodies all that is truly American. A better example to teach our
children the meaning of true manhood and true patriotism we can
Let all American men and women who
can afford it contribute through their children or through their
children friends toward the realization of this McKinley sanatorium.
In letting the children of parents
of means who are happy and will bring their mites toward a movement
of this kind a lesson of charity and patriotism may be taught to
them as well. There will be found in every community responsible
and patriotic citizens to take this matter in hand and bring it
to a successful issue. Let each State contribute enough to have
its own pavilion in which to place its children. Let the Atlantic
and Pacific coast be lined with such institutions, one or two 
pavilions for each State according to its needs. Let good schools
be attached to each sanatorium so that the intellectual development
of the children may not suffer.
There exists in the North Sea (German
Ocean), on the island called Norderney, a beautiful flourishing
sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculous children. Its name is
“Kaiser Friedrich Hospiz” and it was erected in memory of that unfortunate
emperor Frederick the Third, whom the German people so fondly called
“Frederick the Noble.” In the fortitude of this beloved sovereign,
in his patience, in his martyrdom, in his love for the people, in
his ideas and ideals of what should constitute a free and just nation,
there is a great similarity to our beloved McKinley.
We too may call our martyred ruler
“the Noble,” and to his memory erect a memorial of practical utility.
Let us build an institution where the lives of American children
can be saved, to be sent forth in health and vigor to their respective
communities, and to help finish the work for which McKinley lived
and died: to make the American nation the greatest, the noblest,
the foremost of the world.
S. A. Knopf, M.D.
New York, October