Mr. Foulk to Mr. Bayard .
Seoul, Corea , May 30, 1885. (Received July 13.)
Sir: It gives me pleasure to report that the Government hospital which formed the subject of my dispatch No. 151, dated March 5, is in successful operation, and promises to be a permanent institution of the Corean Government. The buildings were fitted up in the Corean style, with only such innovations as were absolutely necessary to accommodate fifty in-door patients, and to admit of a dispensary, waiting rooms, and rooms for surgical operations.
The opening of the hospital was announced in a general proclamation to the whole country. The opening, of an informal character, took place on February 25, when some thirty patients were treated. Since then the daily applications for treatment have been very numerous, and the average number of cases treated daily, except Sundays, has been about sixty. The diseases presented are in a great measure of the most horrible orders, and with their great number show the most deplorable sanitary wretchedness of the Corean people.
The readiness with which people of all classes, ages, and sexes patronize the hospital is very remarkable when it is considered how distrustful Orientals are in other countries in accepting Western medical treatment and the early stage of Corean development. It may be largely due to the fact that His Majesty and the members of the royal family repeatedly were treated by Dr. Allen.
At the time of establishing this hospital there yet existed in name a hospital called “Hei-min-so,” founded some four hundred years ago, but for more than a century past entirely obsolete so far as its service was concerned; nevertheless nearly a thousand persons held positions under this old system and have been drawing salaries from the Government. With the establishment of the new hospital, the Hei-min-so was abolished by decree, only a few of its attaches being retained for service in the new hospital. It is natural to suppose there would be much feeling engendered by sweeping away thus an ancient institution upon which [Page 348] so many livlihoods were dependent, but no such feeling whatever has been apparent.
A small sum of money is exacted from each patient who can afford to pay for medicine or treatment, and in this way the hospital is already made more than self-supporting. A number of bright young men and women have been attached to the hospital to study medicine.
I have, &c.,
Ensign, U. S. Navy, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.