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Stillman Infirmary's busiest month, is March, but it has already passed the all-time record set last year by treating 1,340 cases since September. Andrew W. Contratto, assistant medical advisor, blamed most of the increase in sickness to the recent epidemic of flu, which accounted for about 300 cases.
As in the past, the majority of this year's cases are respiratory ailments, and come from the extraordinary neglect which students seem to show toward colds. Contratto stated, "If every one who caught a cold were to take a day off at once, and really try to cure himself, he would lose less time than if he tried to stay in classes and got worse, for the average stay in Stillman is 4 or 5 days."
One of the biggest sources of annoyance to the Hygiene Department seems to be the large number of students who call up from their rooms, say that they feel too sick to go down to 15 Holyoke St., and ask for a doctor to come around to see them.
Granted that there are some cases where the student is really too sick to go to the doctor, usually the patient is only making extra work for the medical staff, Contratto pointed out. Travelling around, a doctor can only see a small fraction of the patients he can care for if they all come to him.
Other grievances are the food and medical service for men who are confined to their rooms when Stillman is overflowing. The Hygiene Department has found that the invalid at home takes a great deal longer to recuperate than the one who is treated in the infirmary.
Contratto is enthusiastic about the University's health program, and feels that Harvard students get more care per dollar under the present system than members of any other college. In spite of the annual groans which accompany the payment of the $20 medical fee, he maintains that although the student does not use up all of his deposit, he gains in the long run, since the cost of a private physician would be considerably higher. If he is one of the few who contract serious diseases, he will certainly benefit.
A sizeable point of the appropriation for medical necessities goes to physical exams, and as each of the 2000 yearly exams costs $5, the Hygiene Department is deprived of a large part of the money which it collects.
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