Alcatraz Hospital

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Hospital ward
Posted hospital rules.

Alcatraz Hospital is a defunct hospital which was located on Alcatraz Island, California, US. It began operations in the 19th century while the United States Army operated Fort Alcatraz and continued to provide services after the transition to the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Though Alcatraz is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the hospital is not included on the general tour.[1]


In 1870, the military hospital had ten beds, as well as tables, chairs, washstands, a dumbwaiter, and a closet. Measuring 35 by 26 feet (10.7 m × 7.9 m), it was heated by coal stoves.[2] It was expanded in the late 19th century.[3]

The penitentiary hospital was established on June 14, 1934. It provided medical and dental service to inmates, prison personnel, Lighthouse Service employees, and to civilians on the island.[4] The hospital was situated on the floor above the dining room. It contained three large wards with five hospital beds each, two isolation wards; a treatment room, surgery room, and a supply room; a doctor's office, dentists office, and chief Medical Technical Assistant's (MTA) office; plus a kitchen, and a bathroom with toilet and shower.[5] During its penitentiary years, the hospital was initially staffed by U.S. Public Health Service personnel who were assigned to the Federal Prison Service. While a physician was in residence on the island through the 1950s, cost cutting measures included switching to private contracted physicians.[6] Two of the most notable hospital patients were Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz",[7] who had his own hospital cell; and Al Capone who spent more time in the hospital than in the general prison population.[8]


  1. ^ "Alcatraz, "The Rock"". Ghost in my Suitcase. 23 House Publishing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Grassick, Mary K. (1994). Fort Point: Fort Point National Historic Site, Presidio of San Francisco, California. Division of Historic Furnishings, Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service. p. 128. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Wellman, Gregory L. (28 May 2008). A History of Alcatraz Island:: 1853-2008. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-7385-5815-8. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Historical Records Survey (U.S.); National Archives Project; Survey of Federal Archives (U.S.); National Archives (U.S.) (1940). Inventory of federal archives in the states. Historical Records Survey. p. 1935. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Bruce, J. Campbell (14 March 2012). Escape from Alcatraz. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-0-307-81583-5. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Gregory, George H. (28 April 2008). Alcatraz Screw: My Years as a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison. University of Missouri Press. pp. 151–. ISBN 978-0-8262-1396-9. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Westbrook, Tina (September 2010). Return to Alcatraz. Trafford Publishing. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-1-4269-4357-7. Retrieved 5 September 2012. [self-published source]
  8. ^ Ryan, James Gilbert; Schlup, Leonard C. (30 June 2006). Historical Dictionary of The 1940s. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-7656-0440-8. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 

Coordinates: 37°49′37″N 122°25′23″W / 37.82694°N 122.42306°W / 37.82694; -122.42306