Rescue and relief efforts by the Chicago Department of Health
Saturday, July 24, 1915
Shortly after 7:30 a.m.
Two physicians respond to the first call for medical aid at the scene. Thirteen people are resuscitated.
The life savers/guards of the bathing beach patrol rush to the scene.
The Commissioner of Health, four physicians, and three nurses go to the Iroquois Memorial Hospital and take charge of the rescue work. A total of 250 patients are treated with each being offered hot coffee and a dry blanket before being discharged.
The superintendent of nurses and ten field nurses go to the scene and assist in resuscitating people.
A statement is given to the city press for publication. It warns anyone that comes in contact with river water - survivors, policemen, firemen, divers - to seek anti-typhoid treatment.
Health inspectors go to all morgues and hospitals within three miles of the downtown area to obtain lists of all identified bodies. Other inspectors as well as clerks call hotels and businesses in the Chicago Loop for the same purpose.
A list of the survivors in all of the hospitals is obtained. A card index of the survivors is made available through the Health Department offices.
A register of identified bodies is established. Information is made available to the public and to the press. The register is updated every half-hour with information from the Coroner's Office.
Late Saturday afternoon and early evening
Three physicians and seventy-five nurses assist in laying out the bodies of the dead at the temporary morgue at the Reid-Murdoch building.
The cleansing and fumigating of the rooms at the Reid-Murdoch building is supervised after the bodies are removed and taken to the temporary morgue setup at the Second Regiment Armory.
Saturday night - ongoing
Health Department offices are kept open and are staffed round the clock.
Sunday, July 25, 1915
The warning against the dangers of contracting typhoid fever prepared the previous day is published in the Sunday morning papers.
All field nurses report for duty.
A conference of prominent physicians meets; they organize a Physicians' Relief Committee.
The Department of Health works together with the Physicians' Relief Committee in giving medical aid to the survivors and the families of the survivors.
Nurses are dispatched to the lost and found property office of the Chicago Department of Police to give aid to grief-stricken parents and relatives.
The burial permit division establishes a temporary branch at the Second Regiment Armory building. Careful records are kept of all bodies which are removed, and burial permits are issued as requested. This division is kept open day and night with a full force of clerks and inspectors.
Inspectors carefully watch the sanitary conditions at the temporary morgue at the Second Regiment Armory building, taking measures necessary to exclude flies from becoming a problem.
All health officers who are on leave are ordered to report for duty on Monday morning to give medical attention to those families which were unable to secure the medical services of their family physicians.
Inspectors are detailed to the mouth of the Chicago River to watch the current and to report immediately if the current reverses its flow.
Samples of the river water at the accident site are taken for careful chemical and bacteriologic analysis.
Monday, July 26, 1915
The clothing and other property of the victims is disinfected, dried, and then delivered to the city custodian for dispersement to the victims' families.
The temporary morgue established at the Second Regiment Armory building is disinfected and fumigated.
The debris removed earlier from the hull of the ship is inspected. Much of the debris is condemned, some of it is tagged and held for disinfection.
Nurses are sent to several cemeteries as well as to funerals where medical treatment is found to be necessary.
Thursday, July 29, 1915
The total number of burial permits issued for victims of the Eastland Disaster now reaches 771.
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