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List of terms related to Sanatorium

A sanatorium (also sanitorium, sanitarium) is a medical facility for long-term illness, typically tuberculosis. A distinction was sometimes made between a "sanitarium" (a kind of health resort, as in the Battle Creek Sanitarium) and "sanatorium" (a hospital).

According to the Saskatchewan Lung Association, when the National Anti-Tuberculosis Association was founded in 1904, it was felt that a distinction should be made between the health resorts with which people were familiar and the new tuberculosis treatment hospitals: "So they decided to use a new word which instead of being derived from the Latin noun sanitas, meaning health, would emphasize the need for scientific healing or treatment. Accordingly, they took the Latin verb root sano, meaning to heal, and adopted the new word sanatorium" [1].

The rationale for sanitoriums was that before antibiotic treatments existed, a regime of rest and good nutrition offered the best chance that the sufferer's immune system would "wall off" pockets of pulmonary tuberculosis infection.

In the early twentieth century, tuberculosis sanatoriums (or sanatoria) were common in the United States. The first tuberculosis sanatorium for blacks was Burkeville, Virginia's Piedmont Sanatorium. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a Louisville, Kentucky tuberculosis sanatorium, was founded in 1911. It has become a mecca for curiosity-seekers who believe it is haunted [2]. A.G. Holley Hospital in Lantana, Florida is the last remaining freestanding tuberculosis sanatorium in the United States [3].

Switzerland had many sanatoriums, as it was believed that clean mountain air was the best treatment for lung diseases. The ill of Europe were sent to recover there. The Heliantia Sanatorium in Valadares, Portugal was used for the treatment of bone tuberculosis between the 1930s and 1960s.

After 1943, when Albert Schatz, a graduate student at Rutgers University, discovered Streptomycin, the first true cure for tuberculosis, sanatoriums began to close. Around the 1950s, tuberculosis was no longer a major public health threat and so most of the sanatoriums had reached the end of their lives. Most sanatoriums were demolished years ago.

Some, however, have assumed updated medical roles. The Tambaram Sanatorium in south India is now a hospital of excellence for AIDS patients [4]. The state hospital in Sanatorium, Mississippi is now a regional mental retardation center.

Former Soviet Union

In the former Soviet Union the term has a slightly different meaning. It is mostly a combination of a resort/recreational facility and a medical facility intended to provide short-term complex rest and medical services.

In literature

The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg), a novel by the German author Thomas Mann (1875–1955), is set in a sanatorium. Mann was familiar with this type of setting from 1912 when his wife was hospitalized with lung disease for several months in Dr. Friedrich Jessen's Waldsanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. Der Zauberberg, one of the most influential of all 20th-century novels, is a lengthy work and was first published in two volumes by S. Fischer Verlag in 1924.

See also

Losheng Sanatorium
Waverly Hills Sanatorium


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