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August 9: Their Favorite Patient

lawrencebush
August 8, 2015

mnhospThe New York Times announced the unveiling on this date in 1925 of a memorial plaque, paid for by 600 patients at Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Diseases in the Bronx in honor of a fellow patient, Max Messinger, who had lived there for twelve years as a paralytic, able only to move his fingers and face. Messinger "worked to create amusement for the other patients," wrote the Times, "for whom he brought music, vaudeville, moving pictures, books, magazines, and a social club, as well as a monthly paper, which he edited. By establishing contacts with performers and film companies, he was able to present a full performance each week to the hundreds who assembled on crutches and in wheelchairs for relaxation. He received literature, which he distributed to the others, and traveled about the wards, especially among the children." Messinger had a portable record player that enabled him to bring music on his wheelchair to the wards and rooms of the hospital. "On the walls," concluded the article, "with memorials to such noted benefactors as Sir Moses Montefiore, Jacob H. Schiff, [and] Professor Morris Loeb, has been placed a bronze plaque made possible by the small contributions of the patients, a simple expression of gratitude to Max Messinger."

"It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui." —Helen Keller