I "met" Dr. Connolly on the phone a few years ago after I started a Yahoo Chat Room ([...] ). Through that medium I found Dr. Connolly. She was researching for this book at that time and interviewed me. I think my input was only a couple of pages, but that isn't the point. The point is that this book brought closure to my time at the Preventorium like nothing else has. My journey began many years ago in therapy where I learned an awful lot about me and why I am who I am. All that money and time, however, never revealed bits and pieces of me like this book does.
Just be warned that most of us DON'T REMEMBER until we are forced to remember and there is a very good reason for that. It took a lot of therapy before I was able to let myself remember. I discovered a world that most children thankfully never know, albeit a world that, in my case, if I had not known I likely would not be here to talk about it. I am not saying don't dig, I am only saying to be as prepared as you can be to learn what you will. Even though the child was you, you WILL feel an unbelievable compassion for that child. You may, like me, find out that you are who you are because of that child.
Most of the people who lived the preventorium life are gone. There are only a few of us left in this world. I invite you, NO, I encourage you to read Dr. Connolly's book. I also encourage you to come to my Yahoo Chat Room and meet those of us I have managed to find. It started out as only for the children of the Magee Mississippi Preventorium, but I have found others as well as far away as Yoder Health Camp in California.
Trust me, this book is something you cannot afford to miss.
Cynthia Connolly's Saving Sickly Children tells the heretofore untold, and mostly forgotten, story of a vanished public health institution, the "children's preventorium." In the early to mid 20th centur, when tuberculosis remained a major killer, one response was sanatoriums, for seriously sick adults -- to treat them and to isolate them from the healthy. Preventoriums were established for children exposed to the disease not sick. The idea was to take them away from the dangers of their homes and bolster their resistance to TB through diet, sunlight, exercise, rest, and plenty of fresh air, day and night, winter and summer. About four dozen preventoria came into being, starting around 1909.
Though established with the best of intentions, the scientific and epidemiological bases for preventoria were always shaky and by the early 1930s no sound bases for their existence could be proven. By the early 1940s, with the introduction of drug treatment for TB, they were obsolete. Nevertheless they persisted into the 1950s, in some cases, and even beyond.
Prof. Connolly has delved deep into the literature and tells the story with convincing comprehension of the data and sympathy for the public health professionals who did the best they could with the knowledge and attitudes of the time -- they may not have helped, but they probably did not do much harm either.
I would recommend this historical masterpiece to any nurse or physician pursuing a career in public health, pediatrics, or healthcare policy. It really brings to life the TB epidemic, medicine, and the impact of socio-economics, morality, politics, and class on the delivery of healthcare in America during the early 20th century. Interestingly, there were vast similarities and differences between 20th century medicine and nursing practice and modern-day practice; which makes this body of work a treasure for contemporary healthcare practitioners.
Thorough research of the children who spent months of their early life in a preventorium. Some revelations that the adults of today who spent months or a year in such confinement will surprise them. They didn't know this was an experiment to lower illnesses, not only TB, but also any illness due to poor eating, living habits.