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Dr. Boch's appointment as head of the Hygiene Department must on its face command the approval of everyone. A young man, esteemed by his colleagues in the Medical School, he should bring with him the vitality, courage, and skill that circumstances demand. That the care of student health at Harvard requires these qualities is no deep, dark secret.
Evidence has not been lacking in the past of the casualness of examination or the inaccuracy of diagnosis. Both of these faults must be remedied. It can be done in one of two ways--by more stringent supervision or by new personnel. No criticism has been made of Dr. Harding. But neither the manner nor treatment of Dr. Hathaway or Dr. Means has been such as to inspire confidence.
The other element in the situation is Stillman Infirmary. It is outmoded in its facilities and inadequate to meet exigencies. If the need for new equipment is made known it will undoubtedly be forthcoming. But the question of meeting the extraordinary demands of contagious diseases and serious illness is another matter. The functions that a college infirmary should perform are still open to determination.
With the peak load of epidemics likely to rise to five times the normal capacity of the building, it would seem that the duty of Harvard to the student body ended when it provided medical offices and an infirmary as a clearing house. Physicians capable of swift, expert analysis at Holyoke House and ward facilities for non-major aliments such as colds, laryngitis, and the like would fulfill the college's responsibility. Contagious diseases, major operations--such as appendicitis--and infectious skin cases should be referred by the medical advisers to the proper Boston hospital.
These are the problems that face the new head. Improvement in quality is the imperative, and reduction in scope of activity of the Hygiene Department, the suggested lines of approach.
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