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Turning Back The Pages

Born to suffer and die young

Dr. Abraham Jacobi, a German-born physician of prominence who became America’s first pediatrician, whose summer residence is in Bolton Landing, says that 25 percent of the children born to the rich in New York city die before the age of five years because their mothers did not attend properly to their nourishment when they were infants. The children needed their mother’s milk and did not get it because physicians, anxious to please their rich patients, told them they need not stay away from bridge parties and matinees to nurse their babies because (non-pasteurized) cow’s milk would do just as well.

Fifty-per cent of the children in the tenements die in infancy because they are born into conditions of disease, malnutrition and neglect. Dr. Jacobi says, “Our hospitals, insane asylums and penitentiaries are filled with the result of children brought into the world to swell families already too large for their means of support. In many cases the homes are too small and disease results from lack of ventilation and general uncleanness where the mother is too ignorant and slovenly to give the proper care to her child. A puny, ill-nourished body goes hand in hand with a puny, ill-nourished brain which leads to crime, disease and insanity.

Mothers, who now know no better, need to be taught how to keep their surroundings clean and wholesome. They need to realize that it is not right to feed their infants cold milk and to sew the baby’s clothes on them for the winter and to let them wallow in their own filth and suffer from rash and infected sores.

Fifty years ago statistics show that conditions were even worse and out of every 100 children born in the tenements 46 died before the age of five years. Now the mortality is only 29 out of 100 which is a big improvement.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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