Quotes ~ Dr J. Whitridge Williams’s “pitch” for lying-in hospitals & elective hospitalzation healthy well-off white women to create revenue stream for hospitals

by faithgibson on April 30, 2023

Dr JWW’s “pitch” in his own words 1914 book:

“To meet their needs [childbearing women], it would be necessary to have a small lying-in hospital located in every town of three or four thousand inhabitants. At first thought, this seems an ideal impossible of realization. But if we consider the matter with attention, without for a moment overlooking the practicalities, we shall see, I think, that such a project by no means presents insuperable difficulties.”

original heading: “OBJECTIONS FROM WOMEN”:

“Of course there will be difficulties in the way of carrying out such a scheme, with its implied sojourn in a hospital for the great majority of women during their accouchement.

The chief objections will come from the women themselves. Indeed, this is about the only opposition that need be considered. Woman is the ruler in Americaand what she wishes is never denied her. So it remains only to gain the consent of women to put the project for the wide extension of a lying-in service ….

… the farm wife must be educated before she could be made to see the desirability of this arrangement. The first thought of the average wife is that she cannot possibly be spared from home and that the idea of going to the hospital is not even to be considered.

But as soon as the advantages offered by the hospital – painless childbirth, safety to the offspring, and rapid and permanent recovery – come to be generally known the feasibility of the project will quickly be demonstrated.

What a boon it will be, then, to the six million farm wives of America, when facilities have been provided, and customs have been established, making it certain that she may have the comforts of a lying-in hospital, with adequate medical attendance, to solace her in what would otherwise be the dangerous ordeal of motherhood.”

When Dr. Williams was soliciting active support from husbands and public official or making a pitch for capital endowments from philanthropists — Dr. JWW’s emphasized the benefits of his new system of lying-in hospitals to men and other segments of society.

“the male population of the community will also benefit directly from … lying-in hospitals, because it will be possible to establish in connection with these hospitals, wards or departments of general surgery, for the treatment of various diseases, in many places where it would be impossible to maintain such a hospital service independently, because of insufficient patronage

The patronage of a lying-in hospital is an assured element, assuming good proportions even in districts relatively sparsely settled.”

As for the cost of all this, JWW remarked:

“There will arise the inevitable question of the monetary cost, and … how such institutions are to be financed. …. once public interest is aroused, the matter of monetary cost will prevent no serious obstacles.”