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Infirmary Building - Piedmont Sanatorium (Burkeville, VA)

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"Though less encumbered by the sentiments of the antebellum South (expressed by a prominent Richmond physician in 1850 when he observed that 'the African consititution sinks before the heavy blows of the 'heroic school'), the medical profession nonetheless provided separate facilities and personnel for the treatment of black Virginians during the first half of the twentieth century. Physicians and nurses, alarmed by such pressing health concerns as the rise of tuberculosis across the Old Dominion, developed screening and treatment programs tailored to the legal strictures of segregation. Piedmont Sanatorium, founded with state support in 1919, embodied their best efforts providing affordable patient care as well as training for the growing numbers of black professionals in the health services." -- from the UVa Health Sciences Library Exhibit - African Americans in the Health Care Profession. A letter dated Feb. 11, 1919, about the Piedmont Sanitorium from the Commonwealth of Virginia's State Board of Health, addressed to doctors, reads: "Dear Doctor: Piedmont Sanitorium, the State Institution for the treatment of tuberculosis among the colored people of Virginia, was opened April 22, 1918, with a capacity for eighty patients. The Sanatorium is one mile east of Burkeville, a junction of the Norfolk & Western and Southern Railroads, and is easily accessible to all parts of the state. The charges are $2.50 per week, or $10.00 per month, payable after four weeks in advance. This rate includes board, medical attention and laundry. The main aim of the Sanatorium is to treat as many people as possible, so that they may return to their homes and educate those with whom they come in contact as to the safegaurds against tuberculosis and the method of curing the disease. To this end, preference in choosing cases for treatment at the sanatorium would naturally go to people in the early stages of the disease. Several advanced cases returned to their homes unimproved or dead will make it impossible for the institution to have a treatable case sent on. We need one or more early cases from your locality in order to give the people there concrete evidence in our argument that tuberculosis can be cured. For application blanks and further information, write to Dr. H. G. Carter, Supt., Piedmont Sanatorium, Burkeville, Va. Very truly yours, [Emerson G.] Williams." From a Release by the Hampton Institute Press Service: "Virginia Cares for Colored Consumptives.... Richmond, VA., Mar. [1919?] -- Miss Agnes D. Randolph, Executive Secretary of the Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis Association, 1110 Capitol Street, makes the following announcement concerning the care of colored consumptive at the Piedmont Sanatorium, which was opened in April, 1918, for the proper care of suffering colored men and women of the Old Dominion. Miss Randolph says: 'The State opened its first hospital for colored patients suffering from tuberculosis or consumption, with forty beds, and, within four months, has added forty more. 'There are vacant beds at the hospital today, although there are thousands of patients whose health might be restored by proper treatment. This means that the old false ideas about tuberculosis still hold. 'There are two reasons why there should never be a vacant bed in the hospital at Piedmont so long as there is a consumptive without hospital experience in his own home in Virginia: first, tuberculosis is curable; second, tuberculosis is preventable. 'Tuberculosis is curable.... 'For hundreds of years people believed that tuberculosis was incurable; that is, if you had it, you must die. 'Fifty years ago, a doctor named Trudeau had the disease and went into the mountains of New York expecting to die. He lived quietly, most of the time out of doors, and, to his surprise, improved. In two or three years one of his friends sent him a consumptive to treat and he also improved. More and more people came. In this way was started in America the treatment of tuberculosis which cures the disease. Hundreds of hospitals have been built since that time and tens of thousands of sick people have been treated and sent back to work. Dr. Trudea and the doctors working since his time have found that the way to treat tuberculosis is by providing rest, fresh air, and good food. 'This sounds easy, but, if you try it at hom, just as soon as you begin to feel better you want to get up and go visiting, or do a little work, and you undo all of the good you had done. In a hospital a doctor and nurse see that you rest and take the cure.' The charge at the Piedmont Sanatorium is $2.50 a week, or $10.00 a month. Miss Agnes D. Randolph, 1110 Capitol Street, Richmond, or Dr. H. G. Carter, Burkeville, Va., will gladly furnish additional information." From a letter to Dr. D. B. Cole, Richmond, Va., dated January 6, 1920: 'Dear Dr. Cole: 'The National Association appropriated to Peidmont Sanatorium from March 1, 1919 to March 1, 1920 the sum of $2,500 to establish occupational therapy. A part of this sum was also to be expended for a post-graduate course for the colored doctors of the State. This work, although started late, is fairly well under progress, but has not progressed to the point that we can ask t he Legislature of 1920 to continue same. We ask that the National Association continue this fund during 1920 and 1921, especially in regard to the post graduate work for colored doctors. Untold good can be done in developing this line of work. There are in the State about eighty colored physicians, practically 50% of whom could be persuaded to take a short post-graduate course at Peidmont. 'This work will be discontinued March 1, 1920 unless supported by the National Association, certainly until 1921, and it is our urgent request that you bring this matter to the attention of the National Association at an appropriate time. 'Yours truly, H. G. Carter, Superintendent.' Cf. prints 20167.
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University of Virginia Visual History Collection
Historical Collections & Services, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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