Memories of the Hospital
By the 1950s and 60s, Eastern State’s medical wing had become an unusually well-equipped and sophisticated prison hospital. Inmates with challenging medical conditions were often transferred here for treatment.
In a typical week the operating room might be used for heart surgery, joint repair, emergency trauma, and plastic surgery. An ambitious psychiatric staff introduced new therapies in the 1960s.
Many specialists from Philadelphia’s numerous hospitals and teaching facilities joined Eastern State’s staff part-time. Inmates worked as clerks, orderlies and nurses. The bustling hospital had a reputation for being well-run, if perhaps “a little mad at times….”