Wednesday was official moving day at the U. S. Marine Hospital, Vineyard Haven, when the new addition, recently completed by the Bay State Construction Company, was formally occupied by the staff, and the equipment was moved into place.
The building as it now stands is far from being what is eventually planned, since the new brick wing is but the nucleus of the structure that is contemplated by the U. S. Public Service, but it is a far cry indeed from the tiny structure in which a contract surgeon cared for merchant sailors in the early days of marine hospitals.
The first hospital stood near the site of the present Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and later an abandoned lighthouse building, situated near the present Marine Hospital, was used for hospital purposes. The main part of the present structure was built in 1895, and since that time additions and improvements have been numerous, the last addition having been under construction for the past year.
Although an effort has been made to have this new construction of a type that will coincide with the general building scheme of the town, government architects have refused to construct anything but modern, fireproof structures for hospital purposes. This may be partially responsible for the fact that but a part of the proposed hospital has been completed, since the new wing is in the rear and entirely concealed from the street by the main building, which is of wood and is painted in the traditional white with green trimmings which characterize the New England village.

New Wing of Modern Type

The new wing is of the most modern type of construction and is equipped and furnished in keeping, its snowy walls and light brown tile wainscoting permitting no dust to gather unseen, and making the job of cleaning as easy as is possible.
On the first floor are located the store room and kitchen, where the food for all patients and staff members is prepared. There are three dining rooms adjoining, one for the patients, one for the employees and a third for the nurses. Formerly all dined in the same room. An elevator, large enough to accommodate a stretcher and attendants, runs between the first and second floors and eliminates much difficult work when seriously injured patients arrive at the hospital.
On the second floor are the rooms where operating and the attendant duties are performed. The operating room is large and equipped with all modern equipment, lights and instruments, and is connected with the surgeons’ wash room, the sterilizing room, the x-ray and its dark room. These rooms are also equipped with everything that any modern hospital contains. Bathrooms for the employees, and nurses are also located on this floor, and all are equipped in keeping with the remainder of the plant.
Dr. O. Howard Cox, surgeon in charge of the hospital, expressed much satisfaction in the new wing and the way it is arranged and equipped. Heading the force at the hospital, with two trained nurses and several attendants under him, the doctor handles almost every variety of medical or surgical case known, at some time or other, and rarely has to call on other physicians to assist.

Scene of Many a Conflict

By day and by night, this quiet, pleasing looking building on the hilltop is the scene of many a conflict with death, wherein the grim destroyer is usually defeated, and they array of instruments and equipment installed there is well worth while, as many a man can testify after having been brought to port aboard a Coast Guard cutter that leaped and plunged through a wild sea for hours on her way in as she battled a gale, and who has been lowered, wrapped and lashed to a cot, into a waiting small-boat and finally landed in the hospital where calm efficiency has taken charge and skillfully treated crushed limbs of serious illness.
The life of a merchant sailor is far more pleasant today than it was half a century ago, and his privileges and general treatment when ashore have improved even more. Not the least of the things that have been done for him is the establishment and improvement of hospitals along the coast, and although this one on Martha’s Vineyard is but a small unit, it is important, as it saves many a sufferer the long trip to Newport or Boston as he comes in from sea.