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Railway and Locomotive Engineering, November, 1907

Hospital Car on the Erie.

Part of the rolling equipment of the Erie Railroad is a hospital car. It is 60 ft. long over end sills and is 8 ft. 11¼ ins. wide. The car has platforms at both ends, similar to those used on the observation ends of ordinary passenger cars. The step covers can be put down and gates closed when it is desired to prevent curious and not helpful individuals from gaining access to the interior.

The car is mounted on two six-wheel trucks, which make it ride as smoothly as a Pullman. Underneath the car equipment boxes have been placed, with doors opening outward, for the storage of apparatus which it is not necessary to carry in the interior compartments. The inside finish is of a composite board made for the purpose, without beading, molding, carving or other projections which might serve as places for the collection of dust or dirt, or where infectious matter might lodge. White enamel paint is used as a finish, and the floor is covered with white rubber tiling.

The car is divided into two compartments. One of them, 43 ft. 3 ins. in length, is known as the ward. It contains eleven brass beds, or what may more properly be described as hospital cots. The other compartment is 15 ft. 9 ins. long and is the operating room. This contains the surgeon's lockers, operating table and accessories, such as would be found in any good emergency hospital. The compartments are separated from one another by a partition in which there are two sliding doors with ground glass windows. These doors are designed so as to give maximum opening when it is necessary to bring a, patient from the ward to the operating table. This compartment is provided with two sliding doors, 48 ins. wide, through which patients can be carried. Suitable steps, usually carried under the car, can be placed in front of the sliding doors when it is necessary to use them.

Ample light is provided in the ward by twenty-eight windows, of which there are fourteen on each side. All of these are provided with ground glass. There are also six side windows opening into the operating room and two large windows in each of the side doors. In addition to these windows there is a large ground glass window over the operating table in the roof of the car. All these windows are provided with roller curtains made of white rubber. This material is also used for the curtains enclosing the cots. The rubber curtaining is easily cleaned and insures freedom from infection.

The car is also well equipped with acetylene lamps, of which there are four 4-flame lamps in the ward; two 4-flame lamps in the operating room; one 1-flame lamp in the operating room, over the wash basin, and one 1-flame lamp in the toilet room. There is also a portable lamp which can be used by the surgeons if it becomes necessary to perform any operation requiring the use of artificial light.

The car is equipped with a gravity water system, supplying the wash stand in the operating room, the sterilizer, the wash stand in the ward and also the lavatory. The system is arranged to furnish either hot or cold water, as may be required, and provision has been made in the operating room so that the flow of water can be regulated from a valve operated by treadle, thereby avoiding the necessity for handling any of the water equipment. This is the method employed in all modern hospital arrangements.

Both the operating room and the ward have the Gold direct system of steam heat, which is in general use on the Erie passenger equipment, and ample provision has been made for keeping the car warm in the severest winter weather. The beds in the ward are furnished complete with springs, hair 'mattresses, rubber sheets linen and blankets and are very similar to the regular hospital bed, the dimensions being such as will best suit the length and width of the car. The operating room has two lockers in which are stored the supplies required by the surgeons in such work as they may be called upon to do and the entire equipment is modern in every way. Medical supplies of the latest make are used, and should it be necessary to call the car into sudden requisition there is nothing lacking to insure the highest efficiency in the work of saving human life or relieving suffering.


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