Dr Mary performs pneumothorax treatment on patient Betty Taardiff with assistance from Nurse Broomfield.
Photo: James Ghostley collection
Treatment for tuberculosis was difficult for both patients and employees in the early days of sanatoriums when it was thought that the cure was cold, fresh air. That’s what made Northern Minnesota seem so perfect for sanatoriums like the Lake Julia TB San. The sanatorium provided heat to all the buildings on the grounds, yet at night, the heat to the sanatorium was turned off so that the patients would breathe that cold, fresh air … through windows that were wide open, summer or winter. That’s right, in the early days there were just openings with no glass! Image that in what is sometimes the coldest spot in the nation!
Treatments included pneumothorax, the collapsing of the lung to let it rest, and thoracoplasty. This surgical procedure permanently collapsed the lung and wall of the chest by removing ribs on the same side as the disease.
Read Open Window to learn more about treatments, then and now, for tuberculosis.