A business perspective on the VA

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Editor's note: The following excerpts regarding the U.S. Veterans Hospital at Walla Walla are from the November 1922 Pacific Power & Light Bulletin. It is credited to C.S. Walters, district manager.

This hospital is probably the most modernly equipped institution of its kind in the Northwest and at the present time is housing approximately 150 people and is capable of handling 500 if necessary.

The personnel at the present time consists of 12 doctors, two being attending specialists, and nine nurses, whose duties are to look after the welfare of the patients, prescribe medics, diets and to render professional service to the boys who are under Uncle Sam's care.

The Veterans' Hospital is up to the standard of present day hospitals and is equipped so as to cope with that dreaded disease with which so many of our boys are afflicted, tuberculosis. To begin with, plenty of good wholesome food is necessary in order that the person afflicted may be able to derive the benefits of proper nutrition, which is one of the three essentials necessary to effect a cure.

The kitchens are equipped with the most modern of electric appliances, namely, three ranges, with oven in conjunction, potato pealing machines, ice cream machines, ice crusher and meat chopping machine. The bakery is equipped with large dough mixer, cake mixer, ovens and warmers. Good things to eat are constantly being prepared in the bakery and the competent baker, Mr. Ebding, is a true friend of all the boys because of his ability to serve tasty food.

The meals are served by orderlies, who appear in natty white uniforms and every precaution is taken to serve good, clean food and in a wholesome manner. Service in the officers' and nurses' dining room is the individual plate service and that of the employees is family style. The infirmary patients are served with individual trays. Food is prepared in special diet kitchens, equipped with modern electric dish washers, hot plates, etc. Special diets are prepared according to the patients' needs.

The laundry and central heating plant is in one building. The laundry occupies the top and mezzanine floors and is equipped with large flat-work ironer, electrically operated and heated, electrical washers, driers, sterilizers, irons and pressers. The boiler and pump rooms occupy the first floor and furnish heat and hot water for the entire reservation through large mains. Approximately four tons of coal are used every 24 hours with one boiler in operation, maintaining a pressure of 75 pounds.

The hospital proper consists of four separate brick buildings, two stories high, while the medical officer in charge is housed in a separate building. There are from 12 to 15 buildings of the residential type, of which a number are being used at the present time as nurses' quarters and to house the medical staff and families, etc.

The grounds consists of approximately 640 acres. The Reservation was in a very bad state of deterioration when the medical officer in charge arrived to take it over from the War Department, but a remarkable improvement has been made in it since his arrival. Major Judkins, who is in charge, is a man of wonderful executive ability, has certainly transformed the ground around the hospital area into a beautiful landscape. Many donations of flowers, shrubbery, etc., have been made by the people of Walla Walla and vicinity and the immense parade ground lying between the hospital and residences has been ploughed up and sowed to grass, so that next year this historic parade ground that has felt the tramp of many feet is to be made into a lawn for the use of incapacitated veterans.

Tennis courts and croquet grounds are being laid out for the recreation of the patients and personnel in general. One of the buildings was remodeled into a recreation room and is used for motion pictures, vaudeville, etc., and affords a source of great pleasure to the soldier boys.

The entire reservation is electrically illuminated and the streets, which are lines with street lamps, present a very beautiful sight at night.

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