London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Erith 1919

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Erith]

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It consists of an administration block, two wards
for Scarlet Fever, 14 beds in each, a block for
Diphtheria with two wards of 6 beds each, and two
small one-bed wards for observation purposes. There
is also a block of two wards (4 beds in each) which can
be utilized for other diseases or for observation purposes.
These are all brick built.
There are also a Porter's Lodge, a laundry and drying
room, ambulance sheds, steam disinfector and
One ambulance is kept and a van (zinc lined) for the
removal of infected bedding. No horses are kept at the
Sanatorium, but are hired from a local contractor as
The provision of a motor ambulance is desirable.
The staff at the Sanatorium consists of a Matron,
1 Sister and 4 Nurses, with the necessary domestic staff;
a laundress, and porter who resides in the porter's lodge.
There has been some difficulty recently in obtaining
narses, the isolated situation of the buildings being a
great drawback from this point of view though very
desirable from the point of view of infection.
On January 1st, 1919, there was only 1 patient in
hospital suffering from Scarlet Fever. During the year
there were admitted 66 cases of Scarlet Fever, '29
Diphtheria, 1 Measles, and 1 Fnteric Fever, and there
were discharged 49 cases of Scarlet Fever, 23
Diphtheria, 1 Measles, and 1 Enteric Fever. Four cases
of Diphtheria died, as did one case which had been
admitted as Scarlet Fever, but in this case the cause of
death was Septic Pneumonia and Septicaemia due to an
injury to the scalp received accidentally before admission.
This case was possibly not Scarlet Fever at all, and the
rash which occurred may have been a septic rash due to
the injury. Death took place too soon to admit of a
definite decision on this point.
No patient who has had Diphtheria is discharged
from hospital until a bacteriological examination of a