The city wide inquiry into “customs and practices” existing in the city-owned and supervised hospitals, was begun yesterday afternoon by Mayor Walker. The inquiry started with Kings County Hospital, in which it is charged racial and religious discrimination has been practiced against internes and patients.
The Mayor’s decision to hold an inquiry to determine how the city hospitals under the Departments of Health, Correction and Welfare are being conducted followed his trip to Kings County Hospital a week ago to investigate charges that six of the internes there had overpowered three Jewish internes early on the morning of June 20, gagged and bound them, immersed them in ice cold baths and strapped them to their beds.
Thousands crowded City Hall yesterday when Mayor Walker started his inquiry into anti-Jewish discrimination in Kings County Hospital. Dr. Mortimer Jones, superintendent of the hospital, on being questioned for three hours about the system of employing internes, admitted that an Internes Committee classifies the applicants into four groups, conducting confidential investigation and giving preference to “sons of leading citizens”.
Mayor Walker exhibited applications of two internes who themselves stated that they had no high scholastic standing, yet they were admitted into the hospital while others more qualified were rejected. Mayor Walker stated:
“Sometimes, if not frequently, internes were admitted as a result of influence.”
Dr. Jones admitted openly that this was true. Dr. Jones refused to admit that anti-Jewish discrimination was practiced in the hospital, stating that he had never received any complaints from patients or doctors except the last one. However, Mayor Walker declared that he would ascertain the truth of this through impartial investigation.
An interesting light on the religious attitude in the hospital was thrown by the testimony of Dr. Jones when answering Mayor Walker’s question if applicants must answer the question to which religion they belong. Dr. Jones stated that a Committee of Internes decided last Thursday to eliminate this question from the application. When the Mayor asked why the question was not eliminated until now, Dr. Jones explained that he wanted God-fearing doctors on his staff and therefore he wanted to know their religion. However, now after the incident, he thought it would be better to eliminate this question because some applicants may consider it an offense.
After expressing his opinion that the system of employing internes should be changed Mayor Walker called on the witness stand Rabbi Louis Gross who was first to complain to the Mayor on June 21 about the discrimition which was practiced in the Brooklyn hospital. The Mayor asked Rabbi Gross to prepare a list of all discriminating facts against patients and internes and to be ready with these facts for the continuation of the hearing which was adjourned until Friday at two o’clock.
In the meantime Rabbi Gross is to present these facts today to Mr. Higgins, Commissioner of Public Accounts.
More than fifty witnesses have been summoned to appear before Mayor Walker during the course of the hearing.
Court action on the hazing charges brought a week ago against six internes of the Kings County Hospital by three Jewish internes attached to the institution will be delayed a week or more, it was learned.
The hearing was scheduled for Monday morning, but was postponed at the request of both sides. Nathan Sweedler, counsel for Dr. Hyman Soloway, Dr. Louis Borow and Dr. Edward Katskee, announced that more of the internes were involved in the attack and that he would seek to have them held.
Jesse W. Fuller, jr., chairman of the committee on character and fitness which examines Brooklyn applicants for admission to the bar, entered the case as an associate of Mr. Sweedler. He will assist in a voluntary advisory capacity. Bernard Bloch and Adolph Feldblum have also offered their services.
Counsel for the three Jewish internes have sixty witnesses prepared to testify at the Mayor’s investigation into the city hospitals, which began yesterday.
TALMUDIC HIGH SCHOOL OF YESHIVA GRADUATES 48
The Talmudic High School of Yeshiva College graduated forty-eight students at its ninth commencement exercises Sunday afternoon in the auditorium of the Central Jewish Institute, 125 East Eighty-fifth Street. The class, the largest ever graduated by the school, consisted of a January group of twenty-six and a June group of twenty-two students.
Highest honors went to Sanders Tofilovsky and Emanuel Rackman. Fifteen other students won medals and prizes.
The commencement sermon was delivered by Dr. H. Pereira Mendes, pastor emeritus of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Dr. B. Revel, head of the college; Dr. S. R. Safir, Principal of the high school, and Dr. Henry Keller were among the speakers
Dr. Phillip Joseph, of Montreal, Canada, has been awarded the Laura Spelman Rockefeller scholarship. The scholarship carries with it a plan of travel including Moscow, Berlin, Hamburg. Paris, London, New York, Washington and San Francisco.