Pills and Patients

Local druggists do a booming business selling bay-fever remedies and cold pills to anyone who looks even slightly pale. And when the pallor becomes more permanent the University offers the ill student the services of its Hygiene Department. Plans are now under way for a new health center to correct inadequacies in the present program. Because the sick will have to continue using the distant facilities at Stillman Infirmary, the possibility of future sweeping changes should not rule out practical reforms that are needed 'now.

Under the existing program a student has the attention of a doctor each morning. When the physician has finished his rounds the patient is left to the care of a squad of nurses who follow the doctor's instructions to the letter, but do no more. Regardless of how efficient this system may be, it has several disadvantages. A student who develops a sudden ache usually finds it impossible to get an unprescribed aspirin or other treatment. Since the doctor will not return until the following day, there is the added danger that a turn for the worse detectable only by a physician could go unnoticed.

These difficulties could be avoided by having a doctor from the near-by Mt. Auburn Hospital or the Hygiene Building make an afternoon visit to Stillman. Also there would be the additional reassurance that only a doctor can give, which is often so helpful for recovery.

Further improvement is needed in the present method of paying for visits from stand-by doctors. When a student becomes ill in the evenings or on weekends he must go directly to Stillman and pay for the doctor's special call out of his own pocket. Those who support this system argue that it is not done for the extra money, but to encourage students to report their illnesses during the business hours of the Hygiene Department. But illness follows no schedule, and such penalties are unfair. By leaving the decision of when to call a physician in the hands of the head nurse, any charges for imagined ills could be largely eliminated. Stillman is far from a model infirmary, but adoption of these improvements now would help fill the gap until a new health center is built.