Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/391

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THE MEDICAL SIDE OF IMMIGRATION

dence of defect is observed, the immigrant receives a chalk mark indicating the nature of the suspicious circumstance.

At the end of each line stands a second medical officer who does nothing but inspect eyes. He everts the eyelids of every person passing the line, looking for signs of trachoma, and also notes the presence of cataract, blindness, defective vision, acute conditions requiring hospital care and any other abnormalities. All cases which have been marked on the line are separated from the others and sent to the medical examining rooms for careful examination and diagnosis. When it is remembered that often 5,000 immigrants pass in a day, it is clear that the medical officers not only are kept busy, but that they see an unusually wide variety of cases.

After careful examination, the nature of the defect or disease found, is put in the form of a medical certificate which must be signed by at least three of the physicians on duty. It is not within the province of the medical officers to pass judgment on the eligibility of the immigrant for admission. The medical certificate merely states the diagnosis, leaving to the immigration inspector in the registry division the duty of deciding the question of admission. In the inspector's consideration are included not alone the medical report, but all other data concerning the applicant, such as age, money in his possession, previous record, liability to become a public charge, and his sponsors.

Most cases of trachoma and mental or organic nervous disease are sent to the hospital and kept under care and observation to facilitate an accurate diagnosis. Seldom indeed does the alien suffer from too harsh a medical judgment. He is given the benefit of a doubt always. For example, if a case of defective vision is found to be 3/20 normal, it would be certified as perhaps 5/20 normal.

The immigration law as it stands since the legislation of 1907, divides all defective immigrants into the following classes: Class A, aliens whose exclusion is mandatory because of a definite and specified

PSM V80 D391 Lined up waiting for the medical examination.png
Lined up, waiting for the Medical Examination.