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March 28, 1926 Shreveport Times account of fire
March 27, 1926
Fire Destroys Hospital Wing

At 10:45 p.m. on the rainy night of March 27, 1926 a fire started when a patient carelessly discarded his cigarette in the bathroom. The fire quickly spread to the wards above and was discovered by a nurse, Blanche Seward, who sounded the alarm. All 220 patients were safely evacuated thanks to hospital staff and the Shreveport Fire Department. Damages to the structure were estimated at $50,000.

According to Dr. John Mosely, hospital superintendent, the fire was expected. He reported to the Shreveport Times, “This occurrence merely bears out the statement I made on first coming to Shreveport [in 1924] that the Charity Hospital is little short of a firetrap.” Indeed, in the 1924-1925 report to the Legislature, the Hospital Board’s plea to fireproof the hospital went unanswered.
Unit 3 Ward 9 looking north as it was before the fireproofing. Dated September 28, 1927.

Hospital Renovations and Remodeling

The Legislature appropriated $240,000 to fireproof the hospital and build a power plant and a service building. This funding did not allow for remodeling the administrative building, which was later condemned by the fire marshal. In 1928, an additional $150,000 was granted to fund the two-year remodeling project. Not every problem was solved with the state funds. For example, the problem of swarming flies was resolved by distributing 300 fly swatters to the patients, rather than repairing the screens.

Click here for more information on this building.

W.R. (William Rosier)
Mathews, M.D.
W.R. Mathews, M.D. Hired as Chief Pathologist

W.R. (William Rosier) Mathews, M.D. was hired in 1929 as the chief pathologist of the Shreveport Charity Hospital. Known affectionately as “The Boss,” Mathews had a profound influence on hundreds of medical students, interns, residents, and others who trained at the Shreveport institution. Dr. Mathews retired in the early 1970s as Emeritus Professor.

In 1958, members of the Resident Staff at Confederate Memorial Medical Center established the W.R. Mathews Lectureship in appreciation of the many contributions he had made to the medical community. The first lecture was presented on June 19, 1958 by pathologist Hans Popper, M.D., Ph.D., from the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Dr. Popper, who later established the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was a renowned authority on liver disease and was known as the Father of Modern Hepatology.

Click here to view a list of the W.R. Mathews Day Lecturers.