Spokane and the Nation: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919

Headline: “Flu Hospital Cared for 617”

Source: Spokesman-Review, January 13, 1919, page 6

Subject: Flu hospital closes

Synopsis: The emergency influenza hospital at the Lion Hotel is closing its doors after 89 days of treating patients. Their record for numbers of patients at one time was 140 and 617 patients overall received care. The superintendent of the hospital, Ethel Butts, worked for the entire 89 days, and was not paid for her work.

Notable Quotation:

• “There were 68 deaths during that time, approximately 10 percent of those cared for.  This is declared a good record considering the character of the disease treated and the fact that many of the patients [with] the disease was far advanced before they were taken to the hospital.”

“Flu Hospital Cared for 617”

Institution Reports 68 Deaths, 10 Percent of Those Admitted.

Closes Doors Today

Record During 89 Days of Its Existence Is Declared Good

            After an existence of 89 days, during which 617 patients have been cared for, the “influenza hospital,” S112 1-2 Lincoln street, closes its doors today.  The 12 remaining patients, well on the road to recovery, are to be sent to other hospitals or discharged.  The hospital was opened October 17 and operated jointly by the city, county and Red Cross.

            There were 68 deaths during that time, approximately 10 percent of those cared for.  This is declared a good record considering the character of the disease treated and the fact that with many of the patients the disease was far advanced before they were taken to the hospital.

Had 140 Patients at One Time.

            During the first epidemic the number of patients in the hospital at one time reached as high as 140, and during the second as high as 132.  The average number of days patients were treated was nine.  To take care of these there were 18 nurses on day duty and 14 on night duty.  With the number of patients dropping off, the staff of nurses dwindled to five on days and three nights. Just two of the original staff of nurses remained to the end.  They are Mrs. Edith Friarwood and Miss Karine Pearson, both of whom were stricken with the disease almost at the outset, but returned to work days before their own condition justified it, the officials said yesterday.  Another nurse who started from the first and is out now from ill health is Miss Sarah Kohlstad.

Worked Without Recompense.

            Miss Ethel H. Butts, representing the Red Cross, has been the superintendent during most of its life, doing the work without recompense.  Her assistant in charge at the hospital, who is now closing it up, is Mrs. Nellie M. Bussel.

            Tomorrow what cleaning there is remaining to be done will be taken care of and the entire place fumigated, the property being turned over to the lesses [leases, sic] on Wednesday.