October 12, 1907
Kansas City negro physicians are again agitating to a slight extent the old proposition to have the present hospital building made into a separate department for negroes, with negro physicians and nurses in charge. Notwithstanding the agreement realized some months ago by a committee composed of Drs. T. C. Unthank, J. E. Perry, J. E. Dibbs, J. S. Shannon and J. N. Birch, representing the Negro Medical Society of Kansas City, and Aldermen Young, Eaton, Greene, Woolf and Mayor Beardsley, city council hospital committee, the negro doctors are somewhat dissatisfied and may ask that the council reopen the matter.
By the terms of this agreement a negro ward is to be established in the new general hospital with internes and nurses of that race. Here, it was promised, the negro physicians might take their patients and hold suitable clinics, with quarters ample for all their needs.
There is a well defined suspicion among the negro doctors that in the bustle of rearrangements this agreement will be forgotten.
"So far as we know," said Dr. Untank last night, "the promise of the council committee will be kept. But we have not observed any very marked degree of activity towards carrying it out, and many of us are inclined to believe we shall be left holding the bag when the readjustment is made. Just now if one of us has the amputation of a finger to perform, he must take his patient across the line to Kansas City, Kas. Naturally we are very much worried as to what will be done for us hereafter in this matter. We can not see even yet any real reason why we should not be given the old hospital as we asked at first.
"At least 90 per cent of the negro cases in Kansas City are handled by negro physicians. We have no clinical facilities whatever, and but few facilities for taking care of those of our race who may be in need of suitable hospital care -- at least for those of the 90 per cent we have under our charge. We shall be satisfied if we are given the quarters at the new building we were promised. I am sure, however, another attempt will be made to secure the old building for our purpose."
A number of councilmen who were asked about the matter evaded the question yesterday, declaring they had too many present problems to worry them to bother about this until it became necessary. It is generally believed that the new building will be ready for occupancy in January or February.