Nellie Bly in Hungarian Capital

Daytona Daily News/February 1, 1915

(Below follows the last of Miss Nellie Bly’s special correspondence from Budapest, Hungary, to the International News Service: )

I must tell you about our trip to some of the military hospitals. We gathered at the town hall, by appointment with the mayor. We were ushered into a room filled with paintings so fine I was sorry I had not time to examine them.

A door in the rear of the room opened and a medium-sized man, in a dark-blue, double-breasted coat, entered. He greeted our Commander Harbraugh. He was then introduced to each of us by name, I coming first. The commander showed a good memory by introducing each by name, and stating what country he came from. Then, standing near us, the mayor read his speech of welcome.

We all thanked him, and then he said he would accompany us to some of the hospitals. At the door we found six limousines and one omnibus.

At the Hospital

The first hospital was a fine, four story building, occupying over half a city block. Within the door stood a group of gentlemen waiting to receive us. The tallest one, in a handsome uniform with four gold medals on his breast, was the commander of the hospital. He is professor of surgery—Dr. Jules Dollinger. His lifelong friend is Dr. Arbat Gerstach, of the Mount Sinai hospital. Dr. MacDonald, who witnessed some operations by Professor Dollinger, says he is the most marvelous surgeon of the world. He speaks English perfectly and has the most charmingly engaging manner.

This hospital was a factory for the manufacture of electrical supplies. It is new, fireproof, and has unsurpassed light, as it is almost all windows. It belongs to Budapest, w hose authorities mean to retain it as a hospital. It is situated on the Danube and has its own boat-landing and railroad car track into its courtyard. This saves the painful work of transferring the wounded.

Rapid Work

Dr. Dollinger fitted up this hospital in twenty-one days. He has thirty-four surgeons and as many assistants. He has 120 voluntary nurses and eighteen Red Cross. They work in two shifts a day. They have 1,000 wounded men. One ward alone holds 350 beds. With that there is no crowding and no hospital odor. If the building had been designed for a hospital it would not be so good.

On the ground floor was a big hall where the injured are received. From this they are taken to the bathroom, where twenty men are bathed at a time. Then their hair is cut and beards clipped. Whether able to move or not, they are wrapped in blankets, put on a stretcher and carried to the examination room.

If an operation is necessary they are taken to the operating room; if not, to the bandaging room. Both these large rooms are magnificently fitted up. Three X-ray machines show what bullets and shrapnel has done to bones.

Every patient is then taken to the great hall, where 350 beds are located. This is the observation ward. They are kept here five days.

Fear the Plague

If no epidemic appears in this time they are transferred to the wards applicable to their cases. If cholera or other diseases appear they are taken to the quarantine barracks, which occupy the other part of the city block.

Since the beginning of the war 2,800 patients have been brought here. Of that number only fourteen have died. All others have recovered or are on the mend.

The kitchen was modern to the limit. Electrically driven machines do everything from grinding coffee to mixing bread.

We again entered our automobiles and drove to a hospital fitted up and maintained by the Hungarian financial houses. It was also a factory building erected for the manufacturing of telephones. It would be impossible to construct a more modern or fireproof building. It must cover at least a city block. This hospital was fitted up in twenty-five days. The fittings cost 100,000 kronen. Dr. Wilhelm Manninger, who attended the international convention in the United States last summer, is in charge. It is so systematized that they take complete care of a wounded man in one-half minute.

When the wounded are brought into the reception hall they are given a number, which is tied to their wrist. They are taken into another room and undressed. Their clothes are put in a bundle and given the same number as on their wrist. The patient goes to the bathroom and the clothing goes to a sterilizing room, and after being thoroughly cleaned is stored with the number still attached. This hospital has four X-ray machines.

(Source: Library of Congress, Chronicling America,