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The 1930s

The Depression years were hard for everyone - for the 12 to 15 million out of work; the 30 million who depended on limited charity, both public and private; and the millions more who were barely making it. Still, Weymouth Hospital continued to grow, opening an accident room in 1930; the same year it enlarged and modernized X-ray, added a drug room, and built a dining room for nurses.

Donation Days
Donation Days began in the
Depression, when children brought
homegrown vegetables to school
and delivered to the hospital.

In 1931, construction began on a six-bed surgical ward for women, as well as a clinical laboratory. Both opened on April 1, 1932 , bringing the total number of beds to 60, including 18 bassinets.  The Hospital was also placed on the American College of Surgeons' list of Grade A hospitals. A year later, in 1933, Weymouth was placed on that organization's list of Fully Approved Hospitals.

In 1934, the Hospital's pioneering efforts led to two important firsts.  It became the first New England hospital to institute a group hospitalization and insurance plan with the Weymouth Hospital Service Plan.  Rates were $12 per person per year, $19 per couple, and $7 each for additional family member.  The plan, a precursor to the Blue Cross plan for hospitalization and the Blue Shield plan for surgical services, entitled enrollees to 21 days of free care in the hospital and use of the operating and delivery rooms.

Edith Smith, 1932
Edith Smith was the hospital's
first laboratory technician in 1932.

Weymouth Hospital also became the first private corporation to obtain money from the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1934, when the PWA agreed to purchase $60,000 of the Hospital's four percent bonds.  The money was used to finance a new addition that opened in January 1936, featuring two operating rooms with a separate anesthetizing room; a separate maternity suite and segregated children's ward, a kitchen and electric elevator, relocated accident room with separate ambulance entrance, library with a medical section, metabolism room, X-ray viewing room, linen room, record room, mortuary, pharmacy, and sterilizing and utility rooms.

The number of beds now totaled 90, and became 94 in 1939.  By the end of the decade, the medical staff expanded its already strong capabilities by establishing a consulting staff that included prominent Boston specialists.


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