New Book on Floating Hospital’s First Century Published

Boston, Sept. 19, 2014, –Boston is renowned for its innovative, world-class medical centers, and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center is high on that list. While the hospital’s reputation for superior care is well known, surprisingly few Bostonians are familiar with its unique history. Authors Lucie Prinz, Jacoba van Schaik, and Floating Hospital staff members intend to change that with a new book commemorating the hospital’s 120th anniversary.
Floating Hospital ship in Boston Harbor.

The Boston Floating Hospital: How a Boston Harbor Barge Changed the Course of Pediatric Medicine(September 1, 2014) reveals the hospital’s humble start, beginning in 1894 with Reverend Rufus Tobey’s tireless philanthropic efforts to charter a boat that would bring some of Boston’s sickest children out into the harbor to escape the tenements where they frequently fell ill. For 33 years, Floating Hospital provided essential medical care to the children of Boston on the harbor’s waters before establishing an on-shore clinic in 1931. It was during those three decades that Floating Hospital conducted groundbreaking research in milk and nutrition that resulted in the creation of infant formula. Doctors aboard the ship—and later on land—also led the way in fighting deadly diseases, such as cholera infantum, rickets, pneumonia, and whooping cough.

Indeed, Floating Hospital was a pioneer in the field of pediatric medicine. Unlike other Victorian-era hospitals that often blamed poor, immigrant families for their children’s illnesses—and would often remove children from their families altogether—the hospital took pains to educate mothers so they could care for their children at home. This guiding principle was a radical departure from the prevailing attitudes of the time and is today a hallmark of pediatric care nationwide.

A team of Floating Hospital doctors, administrators, and volunteers has been working to bring this remarkablehistory to the public. With breathtaking historical photographs, meticulously kept scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and personal interviews, the book presents a story thatfew Bostonians have ever heard.
“The Boston Floating Hospital is not only an important contribution to the history of pediatric medicine, but also to the chronicles of the city. It’s impossible to read this book and not feel great pride in the accomplishments of this unique institution,” says Dr. John Kulig, Director of Adolescent Medicine at Floating Hospital for Children.
Floating Hospital for Children is the full-service, 128-bed children’s hospital of Tufts Medical Center. The hospital offers pediatric inpatient and outpatient services in every medical and surgical specialty. It is the principal children’s hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine, where all staff physicians hold faculty positions. Specialists from Floating Hospital are among the most talented and highlytrained professionals in the country;they are leaders in clinical trials and medicalresearch in pediatric medicine, with a focus on pediatric oncology.

The Boston Floating Hospital: How a Boston Harbor Barge Changed the Course of Pediatric Medicinewill be available to the public online and at bookstores throughout the area. All proceeds from the book will support the programs and services at Floating Hospital for Children.For more information, please contact Caitlin Cullerot, Union Park Press marketing & publicity coordinator, at (617) 423-0840 or [email protected].