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

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Wandsworth 1921

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Wandsworth, Metropolitan Borough]

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Report of the Medical Officer of Health.
Hospitals and other Institutions for Expectant and Nursing
Mothers, and Young Children, as In-patients.
The Streatham Babies' Hospital is the only institution of
the kind in the Borough, and infants from any part of the
Borough are admitted. The accommodation consists of 20 cots,
including two isolation cots. The staff consists of a visiting
Medical Officer, matron, sister, two staff nurses (day and night)
and three probationers. There is also one domestic servant.
The minimum charge is 10s. 6d. per week. No child is
admitted free except in cases of extreme poverty.
Seventy-five infants passed through the hospital during the
year, the average stay being 57 days.
The complaints from which they suffered were marasmus
(24), debility, malnutrition, rickets, gastritis, infantile paralysis,
hydrocephalus, cephalhœmatoma, constipation, enteritis, diarrhœa
and vomiting, colitis, bronchitis, empyema, pneumonia and
30 cases were discharged in good health, 23 had improved,
and in one case there was no improvement.
11 babies died, four from marasmus, one from marasmus
and chronic enteritis, one from pneumonia and marasmus, one
from pneumonia and empyema, and four from acute enteritis.
15 of the 75 cases belonged to the Borough (Clapham nine,
Putney one, Balham eight, Streatham 23, Tooting two, and
Wandsworth two). Of these eight died, the causes of death
being, enteritis two, diarrhœa and vomiting one, and marasmus
There are four institutions in the Borough for the reception
of expectant unmarried mothers, all in connection with rescue
work. The mothers are received a few months prior to confinement,
and are expected to remain, in one instance at least six
months after; in the other two the average stay is three months
after confinement. In one home the mothers, if able, do the
domestic work of the house, and are therefore with their babies