Typhoid At Kew. Idiot Asylum Outbreak

The inspector-general of insane (Dr. Ernest Jones) has prepared a report in reply to criticisms in connection with the outbreak of typhoid fever at the idiot asylum at Kew. Dr. Jones points out that the first two cases were nursed by hospital trained nurses in the main asylum, and when the epidemic there had ceased they were transferred to the idiot asylum, and isolated in the hospital annexe. Directly it appeared certain that the idiot asylum was producing other cases of typhoid infection a hospital trained nurse was secured. The school day rooms were taken for the isolation of these cases, and the arrangements approved of by the Public Health department for disinfection were carried out. As fresh cases arrived additional hospital trained nurses were obtained, and now there were two such nurses for day duty and one for night duty. They had also the assistance of the regular staff, and the nursing was supervised by the matron and the medical officer.

It was not correct to say that the Lunacy department did not wish to work harmoniously with the Nursing Association. As proof of that they had obtained trained nurses for the hospital wards whenever possible, and were still endeavouring to secure them. The nursing of cases of typhoid, or, indeed, any other serious illness, in the case of the mentally disordered or defective was a much more difficult task than the nursing of the sane. Consequently it was hardly fair to contrast the conditions at Kew with those of the Melbourne Hospital. If competent women were engaged in the care and nursing of the insane, taking their turn in the hospital, receiving acute and chronic wards, and if they were instructed and passed proper examinations, it was hard to see why they should not be considered trained mental nurses and that was all the department asked for.

The Argus, Wednesday 17 July, 1907, p8