Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 162, 1897

How To Conduct Sanitariums



Formerly Undated Ms 115. Portions of this manuscript are published in MM 141, 163-164, 199-201, 207, 214-216, 227-229.

The management of our sanitariums involves a great deal. Those connected with them have a noble work to do, and right principles are to be strictly maintained. The workers are to labor for the establishment and support of the work of God in accordance with His appointment, and the spread of the principles of true temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing. To impart knowledge of this character and of the saving grace and mercy of God is the most honorable, noble work in which Seventh-day Adventists can engage. They thus honor God, and advance their own interests for this life and for the future, eternal life. Their example works for the saving of souls for whom Christ gave His life. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 1

In our Sanitariums we must seek to uplift a high standard. The banner of truth, goodness, and usefulness must ever be raised. The blessed fruits of the gospel tree are to be manifested in thorough consecration, in holy lives. Every true worker for the Master is to be as a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 2

The physicians and managers in our medical institutions must be guarded; otherwise they will surely deny the principles of truth and righteousness, which exalt the Lord of heaven. They must have God dwelling in their hearts, or they will set an example to others that will be to their injury. They will be tempted to cater to the tastes and habits of unconsecrated people by bringing in innovations, and the blessing of God will be removed from the work. Ever remember that in God’s sight a heart that is meek and lowly constitutes true value, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which He regards as of great price, God can bless the meek and lowly. He can use them as honored instruments in blessing others; for they will give the glory to Him to whom belongs all greatness and power. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 3

Tact and ingenuity will be required. It is necessary to be constantly on the alert to meet prejudice and to overcome difficulties. Unless this attitude is taken, there will be, not peace, but a sword, in our institutions. The workers are constantly brought in contact with others who also carry heavy burdens; and all need divine enlightenment. They need to manifest the unselfish, loving spirit of Christ. They will be tried. Their faith and love, patience and constancy, will be proved; but God is their helper. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 4

Hygienic Principles

Our sanitariums are to be conducted on hygienic methods. The light God has given on the subject of disease and its causes, needs to be dwelt upon largely, for it is wrong habits in the indulgence of appetite and inattention to the care of the body that tells upon people. Habits of cleanliness, care in regard to that which is introduced into the mouth, should be observed. It is not best to tell patients that flesh-meats shall never be used; but reason and conscience are to be awakened in regard to self-preservation and purity from every perverted appetite. They can learn to relish a diet that is healthful and abstemious, consisting of fruits, grains, and vegetables. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 5

Drug medication is to be discarded. On this point the conscience of the physician must ever be kept tender and true and clean. The inclination to use poisonous drugs, which kill if they do not cure, needs to be guarded against. Matters have been laid open before me in reference to the use of drugs. Many have been treated with drugs and the result has been death. Our physicians, by practicing drug medication, have lost many cases that need not have died if they had left their drugs out of the sickroom. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 6

Fever cases have been lost, when had the physicians left off entirely their drug treatment, had they put their wits to work and wisely and persistently used the Lord’s own remedies, plenty of air and water, the patients would have recovered. The reckless use of these things that should be discarded has decided the case of the sick. Experimenting in drugs is a very expensive business. Paralysis of the brain and tongue is often the result, and the victims die an unnatural death, when, if they had been treated perseveringly, with unwearied, unrelaxed diligence with hot and cold water, hot compresses, packs, and dripping sheet, they would be alive today. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 7

Nothing should be put into the human system that will leave a baleful influence behind. And to carry out the light on this subject, to practice hygienic treatment, is the reason which has been given me for establishing sanitariums in various localities. I have been pained when many students have been encouraged to go where they would receive an education in the use of drugs. The light I have received on the subject of drugs is altogether different from the use made of them at these schools or at the sanitariums. We must become enlightened on these subjects. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 8

The intricate names given medicines are used to cover up the matter, so that none will know what is given them as remedies unless they consult a dictionary. The Lord has given some simple herbs of the field that at times are beneficial; and if every family understood how to use these herbs in case of sickness, much suffering might be prevented, and no doctor need be called. These old-fashioned, simple herbs, used intelligently, would have recovered many sick, who have died under drug medication. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 9

One of the most beneficial remedies is pulverized charcoal, placed in a bag and used in fomentations. This is a most successful remedy. If wet in smart-weed tea, it is still better. I have ordered this in cases where persons were suffering great pain, and when the physician has confided to me that he thought life was about to close. Then I suggested charcoal; the patient slept; the turning-point came, and recovery was the result. For bruise hands with inflammation, I have prescribed this simple remedy, with perfect success. The poison of inflammation is overcome, the pain removed, and healing goes on rapidly. The most severe inflamation of the eyes is relieved by a poultice of charcoal, put in a bag and dipped in water, hot or cold as will best suit the case. This works like a charm. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 10

Patients are to be supplied with good, wholesome food; total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks is to be observed; drugs are to be discarded, and rational methods of treatment followed. The patients must not be given alcohol, tea, coffee, or drugs, for these always leave traces of evil behind them. By observing these rules, many who have been given up by the physicians may be restored to health. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 11

In this work the human and divine instrumentalities can co-operate in saving life, and God will add His blessing. Many suffering ones not of our faith will come to our institutions to receive treatment. Those whose health has been ruined by sinful indulgence, and who have been treated by physicians till the drugs administered have no effect, will come; and they will be benefitted. The Lord will bless institutions conducted in accordance with His plans. He will co-operate with every physician who faithfully and conscientiously engages in this work. He will enter the rooms of the sick. He will give wisdom to the nurses. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 12

The Training of Workers

In the sanitariums workers are to be trained, some of whom will be connected with the institution while others will go out as medical missionaries. These, in what ever line of work they are to labor, whether as physicians, nurses, or helpers, should be firm upon the principles of health reform and all the points of our faith, that as they come in contact with the patients, or go out into all the civilized world and to the regions that lie in heathen darkness, the truth of God on these subjects may be given to them. As these workers enter upon their duties, the efficiency of experienced men and women is increased a hundredfold, and the work for this time is far more rapidly accomplished. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 13

Proper persons need to be selected and trained, persons who will do honor to every branch of the work. The consecration of their talents must be very real, and them God will bless their efforts. He is the source of all wisdom and grace. In His strength defects and ignorance may be overcome. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 14

Every physician, every nurse, every helper, who has anything to do in God’s service, must aim at perfection and under the discipline of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known, [his] course must ever tend upward toward this aim. All who are connected with the medical missionary work must be learners. No one must stop to think, I cannot do this. He must say instead, God requires me to be perfect. What did Christ say in regard to this matter? “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 15

No one who allows known defects to remain in his manners or his character is excused. Those connected with medical missionary work are connected with God’s service, and they must try to reach His standard. He will give them wisdom and understanding. We are to show a superiority in intellect, in understanding, in skill, and knowledge, because we believe in God and in His power to work upon human hearts. Read the history of Daniel. The Lord would have His people reach the highest round of the ladder, that they may glorify Him by possessing the ability He is willing to bestow. He has a treasure-house of knowledge from which we can all draw. Then let us realize our defects and improve under the instruction of God. Then the light and grace of God will be reflected to the world as the highest education, which sanctifies the receiver. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 16

The religion of Jesus Christ never degrades; it never makes men and women coarse and rough. Incorrect speech, wrong habits, must be overcome. God would have every man correct in speech, correct in habits, possessing knowledge that will give him a standing-place among men. I present this matter as the Lord has presented it to me. Let us determine to put ourselves to the task of learning in the school of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 17

In the training of nurses there must be an organized plan. They are learning a most valuable trade; and many temptations will come to them through offers of large wages and of places where they will have a better chance to earn money, if they will go with some patient. This point must be guarded, or there will surely be trouble. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 18

After doing their best to fit these young people for work, how can the managers be sure that they can be depended upon to go here and there as helpers? The only way is to have the students agree to serve a certain period of time, that they may obtain the knowledge essential to make them trustworthy nurses. It requires years of practice to make a full practitioner. As workers together with God, the student nurses should enter into contracts to accomplish that which should be done, fitting themselves to engage in the work as part of the firm, to be sent where help is most needed, unless for some reason, on account of health or family demands, such a move is made inconsistent. This must be treated as a business transaction, as well as a sacred obligation, to be true to the principles of righteousness. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 19

Let it be understood that those who go out to work in medical missionary lines are not to go independent of the institution already established, for this would cause confusion, and the institution that God would have stand before the world as a perfect and complete whole would be misinterpreted and misrepresented. All are to be united as a sacred firm in the great work God has signified should be done. No one is to feel at liberty to go away and establish an institution on his own merits, and after his own methods, because the work would surely be inferior, and no credit to the central institution, which it supposed to represent. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 20

The students should feel that they are under obligation to co-operate with the institution. They should regard their knowledge as a valuable treasure, to be used discreetly, and not opened indiscriminately to all. Keep your own counsel. All are to work intelligently and cheerfully, each willing to do his part towards the building up of the institution in any place where the board of directors shall see fit to send him in the order of God, to advance the work as God’s providence shall lead the way. Each one must have the spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial, of which Christ had given us an example in His life. We are to feel our obligation to do the very best we can. Those who have many talents and those who have few are to work unitedly, as a wheel within a wheel. And if all feel their responsibility and accountability to God, they will do His will, acting their part according to His appointment. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 21

The nurses and student nurses should be under the charge of a matron who can be a guide and counselor to them. She should be capable of exercising wise supervision. She needs to be a woman of good health, not self-centered, but affectionate, unselfish, and sunny, one who can mold minds, not by being authoritative but by being kind and thoughtful, and yet firm to principle. She must forget herself in her interest for others. The simplicity of heart religion must be seen in those who perform the services required of a matron. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 22

The Observance of the Sabbath

The Lord designs that our sanitariums shall be places where He shall be honored in word and deed, where His law shall be magnified, and the Sabbath of the Bible made prominent. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 23

Often physicians are called upon on the Sabbath to minister to the sick, and it is impossible for them to take time for rest and devotion. The Saviour has shown us by His example that it is right to relieve suffering on this day; but physicians and nurses should do no unnecessary work. Ordinary treatment, and operations that can wait, should be deferred till the next day. Let the patients know that physicians must have one day for rest. The Lord says, “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is sign between me and you throughout your generations.” Exodus 31:13. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 24

Let no man, because he is a physician, feel at liberty to disregard this Word of the Lord. He should plan his work so as to obey God’s requirements. He should not travel on the Sabbath except when there is real suffering to be alleviated. When this is the case it is not a desecration of the Sabbath for physicians to travel upon that day; but ordinary cases should be deferred. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 25

God created the world in six days and rested upon the seventh. He sanctified and blessed the seventh day and made it His sacred memorial. “Wherefore,” He declares, “the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16. Those who do this, keeping all of God’s commandments, may claim the promises contained in Isaiah 58:11-14. The instruction given in this chapter is full and decided. Those who refrain from labor on the Sabbath may claim divine comfort and consolation. Shall we not believe God? Shall we not call holy the day which He calls holy? Man should not be ashamed to acknowledge as sacred that which God calls sacred. He should not be ashamed to do that which God has commanded. Obedience will bring him a knowledge of what constitutes true sanctification. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 26

Let there be no robbery of God in tithes and offerings, no desecration of His holy time. Man is not to do his own pleasure on God’s holy day. He has six days in which to work at secular business, but God claims the seventh as His own. “In it,” He says, “Thou shalt not do any work.” Exodus 20:10. The servant of God will call sacred that which the Lord calls sacred. Thus he will show that he has chosen the Lord as his leader. The Sabbath was made in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. God has placed it in our charge. Let us keep it pure and holy. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 27

The Tithe

The men connected with the institutions of God’s appointment should be careful to acknowledge Him in all their ways. To Him they owe their intellect and all their capabilities, and they are to acknowledge this. As did Abraham, they are to pay a faithful tithe of all they possess and all they receive. A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it is to rob God. Every one should freely, willingly, gladly, bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord. In so doing he will receive a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 28

The Lord says: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast the fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:8-12. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 29

Dangerous Temptations

Subtle, dangerous temptations will come to the physician who believes the truth for these last days. That which would be condemned in a worker of another class is supposed to be admissible in him. Thus a multitude of sins are covered up, sins which are registered in the books of heaven as a departure from Bible principles. In stead of being careless and familiar, he should act wisely, discreetly. Our sanitariums must not be made a subject of criticism because of a careless familiarity shown by the physicians and the nurses. Temptations of this kind the physician may resist if he understands his peril and clings to his Saviour, living out the Word of God in every respect. If true to the Word of God, we are on the side of Christ, on the side of the loyal, holy angels, we stand under the shield of Omnipotence. Of whom, then, should we be afraid? 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 30

There are those who cannot appreciate the gospel of Christ sufficiently to practice it in every line of their work. These will criticize. Those who are superficial and selfish do not know God or Christ by an experimental knowledge, and they are always faithless. In their eyes small obstructions appear as mountains. There is always a lion in the way. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 31

The Lord will give the Holy Spirit to all who ask Him in faith. He calls for men to act as gospel ministers, to act as physicians, whom no flattery can cause to swerve from the trust. Ministers and doctors are to be under the rule of God. He in with heart the Holy Spirit bears rule will follow the example of Christ. The life, the character, will be so Christlike that it will roll back the unjust reproach from the pure truth of God. 12LtMs, Ms 162, 1897, par. 32