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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

A Venereal Disease Rapid Treatment Center (USPHS, 1944)

A Venereal Disease Rapid Treatment Center (USPHS, 1944)


[Music] [Narrator:] Bird’s-eye view of a typical rapid treatment center in a southern state, located in a former CCC camp, as are many of these hospitals. Newly infected women are treated with a new intensive therapy for syphilis and gonorrhea. The fact that these centers are not jails
based on human restraints, but really hospitals is reflected in the faces of these girls: young, old, city girls, farm girls, good, bad, average girls. [Music] But, there are other places where infected
women are taken. This is a jail, a small country jail. And then the city prison in which such
women are detained is even more squalid and filthy. At the rapid treatment center, the arrival
of a group of girls is the beginning of a carefully planned schedule of several weeks duration. The girls are taken directly to the hospital’s reception center. Let’s follow a typical new patient. We’ll
call her Mary Lou. That’s Mary Lou there with the rumpled dress and package under arm. Like all the others, Mary Lou is interviewed
by a receptionist who tries to make her feel at home. A patient, one of the hospital’s clerical helpers, types her name and address upon a record. This girl not many weeks ago was a new patient like Mary Lou. As soon as possible after the patient’s arrival, the doctor performs a complete physical examination. [Music] Taking a specimen for a smear. [Music] Mary Lou gets her smallpox vaccination, receives
typhoid inoculations. Other public health precautions are also taken. [Music] Several days of bed rest are required of Mary
Lou and all other new girls. During this time, treatment is begun for some like Mary Lou who have gonorrhea. To make sure that Mary Lou has the prescribed course of sulfathiazol,
the barracks matron stands by. Soon after arrival, a nurse interviews the
patient. When she learns why it is important, Mary Lou reveals the names of her contacts. Syphilis therapy, the ten-week schedule of treatment, is one method used here. The five- day intravenous drip is also employed. The doctor keeps a careful check. At this center, the physician holds a consultation with each girl once a week. Most of the girls are able to work during
the greater part of their stay. They are given the choice of a dozen or more activities and are paid for their work. Their earnings are saved to be given them upon discharge. These girls displayed natural aptitude for
hospital duties. Another type of work…as kitchen assistants,
patients may be assigned to aid the chef. Here all the clothes, bed linens, and other
things used by the center are turned out by the sewing room trainees. Under supervision of the instructor, they develop latent skills. Among the more popular training courses is
the beauty parlor class. An airplane sheet metal work class at a vocational
school. Rapid treatment centers are doing their best to provide such opportunities for rehabilitation. Welding offers another opportunity for timely and patriotic service. [Music] For those who have never learned to read and
write, there is primary instruction too. Mail call. Letters from home. This girl got a letter
from her husband. Weekly show night. An entire performance organized
and directed by the girls who also made the costumes. [Music] [Inaudible singing] [Music] Negro patients enjoy dancing, and how! [Music] Each evening everybody marches to the foot of the flagstaff, there to join in a solemn and patriotic ceremonial. All eyes on the colors. [A bugle plays.] In due time the doctor tells Mary Lou that
she is well again and will be discharged. He has more good news, too. A letter from an aircraft company offering
a job. And Mary Lou is really feeling good now. A new dress purchased out of her earnings
while at the center. A staff member has already secured her ticket to the city where she will work. And so it’s goodbye to Mary Lou. And now she has a real job paying a decent living wage, and a new life lands before her, thanks to the rapid treatment center. [Music] [The End]

22 thoughts on “A Venereal Disease Rapid Treatment Center (USPHS, 1944)

  1. We're they allowed to leave before their treatment was complete? No? Then, wrap it up as nicely as you like, but these women were jailed for having a STI when the men who gave it to them were likely still running around passing it to others.
    If it was such a problem that the National Security Administration thought it was hindering "the war effort" & they needed to quarantine these women who had it then it stands to reason that EVERYONE with the shit should also get forced treatment.
    Yea, "the good old days". If this was when America was "great", think I'll take a pass & keep all my modern ideals & conveniences. Have a great day & watch out for VD as it's apparently the scourge of the NSA.

  2. 'this girl even got a letter from her husband' who ASSUREDLY didn't give it to her…riiiight she gave it to him

  3. My Great Grand Mother had contracted Syphilis from my great grandfather. She was treated as subhuman as he was patted on the back. Shocking…

  4. This must be real footage, as the majority of those girls look pissed off to all hell and would turn you into a shit smear on the bottom of their dainty high heel if given the chance.

  5. I downloaded some old mug books from the internet archives.Most the the girls who were arrested were supposed to be in quarantine, because of venereal deceases.. During World War Two, the girls would make ‘easy ‘ money.. but get sick from the solders… Some were as young as 14 !!!

  6. So men never got VD then? It was probably their promiscuous behaviour that infected these women! Well at lest the ladies got a job out of their infection.

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