Perhaps it’s not the most traditional image of him, but, yes, that’s Santa Claus getting a chest x-ray. Even Santa needs to take care of his health with the occasional wellness screening. He’s got to stay in shape so he can deliver presents to all the good girls and boys all over the world in record overnight shipping time. So, here we see him in December 1953 getting his lungs x-rayed in of the American Lung Association’s mobile chest x-ray units. These mobile units were essentially trucks outfitted with the proper equipment for, of course, taking chest x-rays in an effort to diagnose and combat lung disease – primarily Tuberculosis. This particular truck was parked at Penn Square in Lancaster and was open to any passersby who wanted an x-ray while doing some last minute Christmas shopping.
Beginning in 1925, Lancaster’s tuberculosis patients were treated at Rossmere Sanatorium in Manheim Township. Originally opened as a hotel in 1898, the Rossmere was turned into a sanatorium and served the county’s tuberculosis patients for several decades. In the 1940s, the discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin provided relief to those stricken, and the number of patients at Rossmere began to decline. The sanatorium closed its doors in 1958. Santa’s chest x-ray was just one way to help ensure a happy and healthy holiday season!