The Heart Mountain hospital opened on August 28, 1942. Before that, the sick were cared for at one of the recreation halls. In its three years, the hospital admitted almost 5,500 sick, performed almost 400 surgeries, and delivered 550 babies. The hospital had a staff of about 150. Doctors and dentists were recruited from among those confined at Heart Mountain to help tend to those who were ill. However, they were supervised by a Caucasian Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nurse. Tensions between the WRA management and Japanese American staff often ran high. In 1943 staff members walked off their jobs twice, protesting working conditions and pay. Japanese American doctors were paid $19 per month, while Caucasian nurses working at the camp’s hospital were paid $150 per month.

See the full image (PDF) of "First Hospital Equipped With Benches, Cots" from the Heart Mountain Sentinel August 12, 1944 special edition, in Wyoming Newspapers.

Men on rocking chairs in hospital. Sketch by Estelle Ishigo

Infants being examined at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming, 1943.

Dr. Paul Ito and Velma Kessel, RN, examining newly arrived incarcerees at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, 1942.

Image Credits

All Estelle Ishigo drawings are from 1942-1945 at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, courtesy of the American Heritage Center. See more in the AHC's Estelle Ishigo digital collection. Photographs from the digital collections at the AHC. Newspaper images are from Wyoming Newspapers.

Copyright notice: Digitized collection materials are accessible for educational and personal research purposes.

Prev | Medical | Next