Even the poor he charged somewhat heeding the Talmud's dictum that the unpaid doctor is no help to a sick man. He was considered a mad and dangerous lunatic by certain doctors and pharmacists but the children never questioned the sanity of his antics. Anecdotes (true anecdotes) couls tell more than a commentary could ever, and a recap of the anecdotes is "telling".
- (QUOTED) The children never questioned his sanity or his antics. One mother entered the sickroom to find both her child and the doctor missing; when she cried out in alarm, they both poked their heads out from under the bed. Another knew that her sick daughter would never fall asleep until Dr. Goldszmit came. Like a sorcerer he would wave everyone from the room, and then, sitting by the child>>s bed, he would caress her hands and tell her stories about each finger, blowing on it to make it drowsy. When he got to number ten, she was always asleep.
- He infuriated hospital officials by calling for simple reforms. He used playful bantyer with the children and by so doing entered their world as a welcome guest. He would wave all from a room like a sorcerer and sitting by the child's bed would caress her hands til she fell asleep.
- He criticized doctors for not treating their patients holistically. He praised midwives and advocated breast feeding.He overruled doctors ansd nurses who forbade parents to bring toys for their fear of germs being spread. The children had so little to make them smile.
- There were children who had nowhere to go and a the top of the child's rights was the right to die.some children perhaps had other destinies than to be their parents' siblings.
Only to the poor was he unfailingly compassionate, paying calls late at
night to the basement at 52 Sliska Street or the attic at 17 Panska. He was a
medical Robin Hood, taking fees from the rich so that he could afford to give
medicine to the poor. But even the poor he charged twenty kopecks because "it is
written in the Talmud that an unpaid doctor is no help to a sick man." And he
was always available to the children of "socialists, teachers, newspapermen,
young lawyers, even doctors." This idealistic young doctor was considered a mad,
dangerous lunatic by certain doctors and wholesale pharmacists who were
threatened by his night calls, low fees, and habit of dispensing free medicine.
The children never questioned his sanity or his antics. One mother entered
the sickroom to find both her child and the doctor missing; when she cried out
in alarm, they both poked their heads out from under the bed. Another knew that
her sick daughter would never fall asleep until Dr. Goldszmit came. Like a
sorcerer he would wave everyone from the room, and then, sitting by the
child>>s bed, he would caress her hands and tell her stories about each
finger, blowing on it to make it drowsy. When he got to number ten, she was
A former patient, Henryk Grynberg, who became a doctor
himself, said that Korczak´ s hands were cold when he made house calls, and that
it felt good when he put them on your brow. If you didn´t have a fever, he´d try
to warm them before coming into the room. He always had some playful banter in
this kosher home. ´You see, you had your secret sausage, and God punished you.
Because of this, your mother will have to make tea and put in a few drops of
cognac, as further punishment."
Korczak may have endeared himself to his
patients, but he infuriated Russian hospital administrators with his indignant
articles calling for basic hospital reforms, not the least of which was that
management should be turned over to the Poles. He criticized doctors ("unethical
tradesmen") who made distinctions in the treatment of wealthy and nonpaying
patients and who categorized patients according to their disease, rather than
viewing them as individuals with a whole range of life problems. The only group
that merited his praise were midwives, whom he felt were not appreciated enough
for their important role in assisting human beings into the world. He was an
advocate of breast feeding, in an era of wet nurses. ´The breast does not belong
to the mother, but to the baby" he said.
Even at his own hospital, Korczak
had to fight for "intelligent" treatment of the young patients, overruling
doctors and nurses who forbade parents to bring toys because they might carry
germs. The children - whom the city was casting his way "like seashells" -had so
little to make them smile, and he was painfully aware of his lack of resources.
"Little hospital. i remember winter, cold, the horse and carriage arrives,"
he would write. "They carefully carry a bundle with a sick child inside. Bell
rings. Calling for the doctor to come down. I am coming. One blanket belongs to
the family, one to a neighbor, sometimes three blankets from two neighbors.
Clothes, flannels, petticoats, mufflers, bundle of odiferous infection. Finally,
the patient. Scarlet fever. The unit for infectious diseases has no more room.
Pointless begging. Please, on the floor, in the corridor-anywhere. Doctor, i´ll
give you a ruble. Sometimes-trapped. I will leave the child here. You´ll have to
take her. Sometimes a curse."
He had to be firm, to hide the sorrow he felt
for the children who had nowhere to go and those he knew would not survive. Yet
he was impressed by how "dignified, mature, and sensible a child could be when
face to face with death." He was to place the right of the child to die at the
top of his Magna Carta of Children´s Rights. No matter how much a mother loved
her child, she had to allow him the right to premature death. it was possible,
he wrote>> that a child had a destiny other than being his mother´ s
child. "The naturalist knows that not every seed produces an ear of corn, not
every chick is born fit to live, not every sapling grows into a tree."