The paramount object of governments is the protection of their citizens in life, limb, property, and the pursuit of happiness; for this alone the individual pays tribute and renders fealty, and since a diseased person can not have the perfect enjoyment of either, it is manifest that not only does the state possess the inherent right to secure and preserve the health of its inhabitants, but that such is, perhaps, the highest duty it owes them.
The power of the commonwealth to promulgate and enforce sanitary regulations for the prevention and spread of disease, and to establish and maintain hospitals and eleemosynary institutions for the treatment and care of its afflicted citizens, both directly and through the medium of its subsidiary governmental agencies, has been uniformly recognized by law-makers and unequivocally sustained by the judiciary. To show that this is considered one of the most important and vital functions of
SCRUGGS F. THE RIGHT OF THE STATE TO PROVIDE HOSPITALS.. JAMA. 1900;XXXV(16):1020-1021. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24620420034001o