Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour

What a phenomenal tour! The tour began at the entrance to the abandoned hospital complex where we donned hard hats and huddled against the February winds hearing the story of immigrants hospitalized on Ellis Island.

Hallways had many windows as during this era TB cure was based on a fresh air theory.

Our amazing guide for the next 90 minutes recanted the stories of 12 million who were treated by the Public Health Service from 1892-1954. While stated earlier, and bears repeating, 40% of our American population came through Ellis Island by 1951, with as many as 4,000 screened daily by 6 Public Health Service Doctors through a line inspection process.

An autoclave which sterilized items.
The Public Health Service used the Pavilion System which stressed a hygienic management system. This was prior to antibiotics and the 3 hospitals on site had less than a 2% mortality rate.
Laundry Water Extractor

While mortality rate was low, a morgue was necessary on site.

Less than 2% immigrants were deported. When deported they were returned to ships docked off Staten Island for return to their homeland. Those quarantined had chalk marks placed on their clothing with an X for mentally ill, or P for pregnancy, or No for not able to support themselves.

Another ward picture.

Steamship companies had to return those deported, and were fined $100, however, with their extensive ship pre-screening process many were eliminated before being allowed on the ship.

Our amazing guide in the Public Health Doctor’s Home connected to the hospital.

Public Health Doctors lived on site with their families. Their children would attend school with other children on Governors Island across the Hudson River. Daily they were taken by boat to their school.

View from a patient room.

A must see and do, especially for anyone in the health care field.

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