The Depression, Politics and WWII
Georgia’s rural population was in dire straits in the aftermath of the 1929 stock market collapse, and University Hospital, as the Medical College’s clinical arm, posted a deficit of nearly $30,000 by the end of that year. The picture was indeed bleak.
As the economic calamity continued, University Hospital’s administration worked to find a balance between the hospital’s mission and what the hospital could achieve with dwindling resources. Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, a game of “political football” transpired behind the scenes regarding the hospital – fueled by divergent political ideologies within the Augusta community.
This tug-of-war continued for years. As University Hospital’s physicians, nurses and staff contributed to the war effort in the 1940s, the political situation became so damaging that the Medical College faculty was on the verge of relocating the school to Atlanta or Athens.
For better or worse, the political upheaval of the era catalyzed the Medical College’s desire to separate from University Hospital and build its own state-funded clinical extension to minimize local political interference, which led to the creation of Talmadge Memorial Hospital in 1956.