“The nationwide influenza epidemic struck in the fall of 1918: San Francisco is not spared,” Marie N. Mahoney writes in “Reflections: Mary’s Help Hospital and Seton Medical Center, 1893-1985,” published by Seton Medical Center.
“The number of new cases reached 700 per day and by October 2018, there were 6,791 cases” she writes. “From September through December, there were 445,000 deaths in the United States. The medical and nursing staffs of Mary’s Help Hospital responded to the epidemic. In addition, Archbishop Hanna sent Christian Brothers and Holy Name Sisters to Mary’s Help Hospital to help nurse the influenza victims.
The hospital, which had been dedicated in 1912 and blessed by then-Archbishop Patrick Riordan, was licensed for 165 bed but was expanded to accommodate more patients.
“Every portion of available space was used for the influenza victims. It was said that even the space adjacent to the engine room was utilized for patients. The total number of influenza patients treated in-house was 74, while an additional 100 patients were nursed by Mary’s Help Hospital staff in their homes.”
Home care has always been an integral part of the Daughters’ services, Mahoney writes, sharing a letter sent the night of Oct. 10, 1918, to Sister Fidelis, Sister Servant of Mary’s Help Hospital on Guerrero Street in San Francisco, from Sister Eugenia Fealy, Visitatrix, asking that Daughters from the hospital be sent to assist with the care of influenza patients in Menlo Park.
“If conditions have not improved at Menlo Park can you not send two sisters and then borrow from other houses to help you out,” the letter states. “Sister Bruen says auto will be sent for sisters every morning and bring them back in every morning. Have sisters wear masks, use spray and gargle.”
The above comes from a March 30 story in Catholic San Francisco.