National Jewish Hospital, 1899-1978
Language of Materials
Biographical / Historical
For many years Denver faced a serious social problem when hundreds of people severely ill with tuberculosis, also known as the “White Plague,” converged on the city, attracted by the reputation Denver had already acquired as the “world's sanatorium.” Because of the onslaught of consumptives, beds for patients in city and state general hospitals were so scarce that the poor were frequently left to their own devices, often dying in the streets. In 1899 the Jewish community, propelled by the concept of Gemilas Chasodim (acts of kindness), erected National Jewish Hospital (NJH), the first sanatorium in Denver for tuberculosis victims. With the financial assistance of the International Order of B'nai B'rith, the hospital opened its doors to Jews and gentiles alike. In accordance with contemporary wisdom, the NJH adopted a program that emphasized the benefits of fresh air, good nutrition, and rest. Many early prominent physicians were associated with the hospital, including Dr. Saling Simon, Dr. Robert Levy, and Dr. John Elsner.
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