Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

Medical Records

I get lots of requests from people seeking patient records, but I'm afraid there is not much available from the Cresson san. The patient medical records were sent to the State Archives in Harrisburg, but were destroyed in a flood during Hurricane Agnes in the 1980's.  But there are several things you can try.

About 9000 patient index cards covering the period of roughly 1921 to 1931 were found in the attic at the san.  They currently are held at the Pa. State Archives in Harrisburg.  These cards measuring 3" x 5" were issued for tuberculosis patients at the Cresson Sanatorium in Cambria County. 

The front side of the card lists admission date, case number, discharge number, clinic number, diagnosis, patient name, number of admissions, patient home address, religion, occupation, age, place and date of birth, citizenship, length of residence in Pennsylvania, reason/condition/date of discharge, number of clinic visits, and total days in the Sanatorium.

The reverse side of the card lists clinical condition, patient height, admission and discharge weight, weight gain or loss, father's name and birthplace, mother's name and birthplace, patient reference and their relation to patient, reference address, and any remarks.

These index cards do contain some medical information, so HIPAA privacy rules do apply.  However, the general rules are as follows:

1.  If the patient died more than 50 years ago, anyone may obtain a copy of the complete index card.

2.  If the patient died less than 50 years ago, anyone may obtain a copy of the complete index card, but the medical information will be blacked out.

Note that there will be a charge to locate, reproduce and mail copies of the index cards.  Call the State Archives to determine applicable fees.  The current contact for these cards is:

Jonathan R. Stayer

Supervisor of Reference Services
Pennsylvania State Archives
350 North Street I Harrisburg, PA  17120-0090
Phone:  717.783.2669


There is one other option to explore.  Index cards on TB patients were often kept by the Pa Dept of Health.  If you know what county the patient was living in when they were diagnosed with TB, then you can call the Health Dept office at that county seat and see if they have such a record.  I lived in Towanda, the county seat of Bradford County, and obtained my index card from them.  You can see my index card below.  Click on the following link to see a listing of County Health Department phone numbers by county:

I hope this proves helpful in your search for information. 
Chuck Felton

1. Chuck Felton Index Card
The date of 3-24-55 on the above card was when I entered the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. for further tests to officially confirm the initial diagnosis of TB based on my chest x-ray. The 4-14-55 date is when I entered the Cresson sanatorium and 8-19-56 was my release date. I believe the WDC in front of my release date stands for "With Doctor's Consent". They even have the correct date of when I moved to California, 8-13-62.