OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Title: Shriners Hospital Patient Isolation Unit Records
Collection Date(s): 1956-1981 (bulk 1969-1972)
Extent and Forms of Material: .75 cubic foot, including photographs (2 boxes)
Creator: Matthew Maley
Abstract: Collection documents the development, study, and evaluation of gnotobiotic or germ-free patient isolation. During the 1960s, Shriners Burn Unit in Cincinnati, Ohio modified a previously existing unit, the Life Island (Mark V) and subsequently developed their own germ free unit, the Snyder Unit. One of the main developers of the Snyder Unit was Dr. Matthew Maley of Shriners Hospital. Collection includes correspondence, notes, reports, drawings, photographs, journal articles and trade literature.
Collection Number: AC1142
Processing Note: Processed by Laura Fielding (intern), January, 2009; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.
INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION
Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Shriners Hospital Patient Isolation Records, dates, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX
IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Administrative/Biographical History: In 1966, Shriners Burns Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio, (now known as the Shriners Hospital for Children) purchased a Life Island (Mark V) patient isolation system or germ free unit and made modifications to it. In 1967, the Shriners Burns Institute began working with the Snyder Manufacturing Company to create their own germ free unit, named the Snyder Unit. This project had several collaborators including Dr. Matthew Maley, Dr. P.C. Trexler, and Dr. Bruce MacMillan. The Snyder Unit was tested from 1967 to 1972. It was used for about a year before the doctors working on the project realized that a smaller and simpler unit named with the acronym, CRS, was more efficient economically and health-wise. While the CRS was not a “bubble” isolation unit like the Life Island or the Synder Unit, it was still considered an isolation unit and soon replaced both the modified Life Island and the Synder Unit which was retired in 1980.
The Synder Unit was also studied to determine if it could be used for cancer patients or patients taking immunosuppressant drugs. Tests proved that while the Synder Unit did help a few cancer patients, the results were not significant enough for its use for patients with weakened immune systems.
Scope and Content: The Shriners Hospital Patient Isolation Unit Records consist of approximately .75 cubic feet and document the development and testing of the Synder Unit.
While the majority of the documentation is for the Synder Unit, there are articles and speeches from symposia held on gnotobiotics or the study of germ free living. These articles and speeches range from dealing with burn victims and cancer patients to the toxicity of certain germs to the sustainability of germ free animals.
System of Arrangement: The records are arranged into two series.
Series 1, Patient Isolation Unit Materials, 1966-1972
Series 2, Gnotobiotics Research, 1956-1981
Acquisition Information: This collection was donated by Ron Hitzler, 2008.
Related Artifacts: The Division of Medicine and Science holds a Snyder Isolator (prototype) and Life Island Isolator Mark V unit (Accession #: 1980.0187).