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Lady Minto Hospital

Karen Davis & Sue Mouat

Karen Davis and Sue Mouat speak about the history of the Lady Minto Hospital 1914-2000.

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Accession Number Interviewer SSI Historical Society Address
Date October 10, 2000 Location Central Hall
Media tape Audio CD mp3 √
ID 160 Duration 34 min.




Unknown Speaker 0:09
I don't know. I don't know if

Unknown Speaker 0:15
I would my voice

Unknown Speaker 0:31
My memory isn't the greatest, so a lot of us are going to have to read. By 1911, the need for adult hospital was desperately clear to the local medical health officer not to lie on beach. Although he lived on Salt Springs, they also served the other Gulf Islands. That year, spent very hours traveling on horseback, or by Launch, coping with an epidemic of measles and keeping those often fatal diseases at the time. He was looking after patients and Bieber points. It's a valid point at Harvard, MD. Often staying overnight for children on software now that you're talking population has doubled in 10 years, up to 950. Many of the new covers were young single men who had no family to support them in times of accident or illness. A concern for these men was expressed by with again these women. They formed an organization called Dr. Lyle beach in the sunshine, who jointly said about campaigning for construction. And 1912 Dr. Allen Beach, son of Dr. Lang will be replaced by mental health violence. Alan had been practicing for now. But a public meeting on Saltspring and his father was now able to retire and concentrate on raising funds for a hospital. He was enthusiastically supported by the yoga sunshine. By October 1913. Approximately $3,000 have been raised on Dalian, Maine and tenders and the provincial government was approached for financial aid. Provincial Secretary promise to grant the $1,500 and an additional $1,000 in the next fiscal year, the construction of the province in May 1914, the hospital was opened on Ganges Hill on a piece of property 20 by 100 yards donated by Dr. Lai on the building now the community standard originally had six rooms, a den home or a maternity room, an operating room, a kitchen and there's a Debian and then often the building open depth three and across the $4,000 and additional $1,000 was funded was was promised by the vom. Vom was founded by Lady Aberdeen the wake of Canada's Governor 67%. Goes CI a next Governor General's White Lady Minto supported the vom, both personally and financially. The nonprofit organization was created to provide nursing service in this districts without medical facilities and to establish cottage hospitals in remote areas. With the O N also provided several major including the first one and a graduate nurse from Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Herman had a staff of one, so I knew he was the orderly janitor. Within three months of the hospital's opening the first world war was declared within a year both Dr. Alan beech and I have put some material out there that includes the following items. A water shortage was another problem. The newly formed Ganges lighting power company was delivering water by the bucket to the hospital. plans were underway of a pipeline maximum. But one of the farmers in the cranberry used to allow a right of way across the property. When he was threatened with expropriation, he accepted $150 cash and free water and alignment Through the First Annual General Meeting in 1915, we parted caring for 39 patients for a total of 716 hospital days. The first patient admitted was his mother. And the first day before there was CMR. Expenses for the year were 1670 is the magnitude of salaries.

Unknown Speaker 5:32
Voluntary Hospital Insurance Plan gave hospital and needed cash flow. Rebar board and lodging were provided for an annual salary of $6 per adult and $1.20 per child. The advent of the First World War has drastically reduced the population at the hospitals that delta serve. About 150 young man has joined forces with lengthy islands. The secretary of the hospital board wrote to the provincial Secretary asking for grab the $200 because the hospital over the crisis. He also inquired of the hospital would be allowed to accept some return for the soldiers at some Victoria and Vancouver hospitals were doing. This service provided the dollar 50 per patient per day. The service the board suggested that maybe mento could accommodate that this proposal was never accepted. After Dr. Allen beats left. Dr. Fraser from Maine Island came over to salt in two days a week. We stayed at granny mullets boarding house. He was remembered by it Jesse Toynbee, she said the true stuff used to dance the Highland Klingberg and 1917 Dr. Eva Sutherland came from Bella Coola to be the medical health office for the golf or had her husband had a lunch but she took her to visit her patients on the other island. Mo it remembers Dr. Seto as well and especially good launch because the largest in the island. And he also remembered your snazzy car. He didn't drive but it was brand new Model T. Dr. Sullivan, the first doctor on the doctor Dr. Sutherland instigated a plan to train nurses believing and relate when efforts fail how Spaulding was one of the two women who took a program or one year and two years of Victoria. She thought it was not as successful as she was either doing menial jobs or helping with cases far beyond capabilities. experience was not repeated. By 1919, or the war over messenger became the number of hospital subscribers dumped from 61 in January to 120 by July leading into the office and the nurse was Debian became new patient rooms. The attic was finished and a bathroom adequate staff quarters. Winifred Smalley told me that it was bitterly cold up there in the winter and baby 1922 financial problems again played the hospital for subscribers 400 subscribers were needed to give the hospital sufficient cash to operate in a severe drought plus 70 subscribers to drop out of the screen. And I think 23 a second sensation Doctor rates lost in arrival and assaults and medical record show continual dissension between Dr. Sutherland and 1925 Dr. Lawson resigned as medical health officer partly because her husband was very ill died the following year. Very. Dr. Lawson took over the position of medical health officers that both physicians continue operating at. About this time there are several letters written by Mr. Provincial Secretary asking for funds for an isolation unit to be killed on the hospital grounds. There have been cases of measles typhoid theory on this plan was never carried out. However, part of the round that was enclosed to create the Langley and Ringwood was in 1929, Dr. Sutherland and it closed in a month's time. He wrote a scathing report to the provincial secretary. She wrote in part because 1924 There's been no medical personnel on the board. The board has selected matrons, one from a beauty parlor, one from 10 years running a rooming house, and the matron has been empowered to bridge to engage undergraduate nurses, and we've had some terrible specimens and the government provided extra funds so the hospital stayed open. That just out of hearing was failing. And in 1930, her practice was taken over by Dr. Raymond brush. She stayed on the island long enough to do to deliver the rest is first baby Bob. That will be 70 years ago tomorrow.

Unknown Speaker 10:30
Then she retired to Victoria. With Dr. Ross's arrival, there was some exciting innovations, one of them being the first blood transfusion on the island. Dr. Rush also brings up his cards the first ambulance removing the front passenger seat and replacing it with a box he could transport patients to the hospital. He also had an operating and delivery table built by a local carpet. I think that's the same one that I painted on light duty in 1946 and 1940 by 1933, Canada was in a deep depression. The BC government reduced all public hospital grounds, Lady men who have been getting $1 per patient per day, and this graph was reduced to 75 cents per patient per day. By 1935, the economy was improving. The lady mentor was able to buy an additional piece of property and Dr. Lyon will be the state and the three bedroom nurses home was built behind the hospital that's releasing the act for editori patients. In 1936, a hospital teller is formed independent of the board waste base in the hospital basement was converted into an accelerator. This work with a three channel sewing machines and the exhilarate did all the hospital mandate aid on the grounds David center. This group also took over arrangements for hospital days, which have previously been in the hands of board members, essentially hundreds of dollars worth of linens non perishable food stamps. Cleaning supplies were donated by armies at this annual event. Right safe this annual event where I met Ivan for the first time. Isabel mode is the only surviving member of the yellow stanchion. It disbanded again 67 and 1938. Records mentioned for now at that hospital was no longer adequate funding started for construction in the Second World War 1939 bought new problems for Lady mental. a Canada wide shortage of manpower was everywhere, and Lady mental was badly staff shortages in every facet of operation. Accelerating members stepped down when non Cook was available. To staff members who came to work during the warriors were to give the hospital stability which was invaluable. The first was matron Beth Peters and later with the segment who stayed for 15 years. After 20 matrons and 25 years, she was a joy for the board, the staff the patients and the doctors. She stayed until a new hospital was built and was briefly major there. The other staff member was hired very reluctantly because she was a female she was hired as a janitor here do you have Betty grumpy but self employed. It was certainly evident that Blasi DODDS could split word, manage the furnace. Scrub the floors take patients to the margin just as well or if not better than any man. Slowly she helped more and more patient care and became a loved and beloved care aide for many years. Dr. Rush next offering in 1943 and he was replaced by Dr. Meyer. Very middle surgery was done at this time. However, when Dr. Callahan or retired surgeon moved to the surgical equipment was purchased by the hospital for the first time. Maternity cases, the nurses often gave piano. Occasionally Dr. Bryant would be called in Dr. Mita Brian came to Salzburg after the First World War on cheating her husband ran an isolated farm and cheese factory in the post war years were fraught with financial crises in the staff shortages in a rapidly rising population. This period also bought several retired doctors. As a new staff nurse I remember three very cheerful doctors coming in one morning on the golf course to the operating room which is also the delivery room in the emergency department. I came from the doobly we're all doctors were gone. I didn't know but admitting. However they had a lovely time to enlarge liver and one of the doctors hands and I learned about I have not been able to pinpoint the date of the arrival of the X ray machine. Probably 19 before either McManus who came after me, for me, Beth taught her how to use films. I certainly remember the wonderful Bendix washing machine coming in Brian did have a printer. That was a great time saver, or not the first automatic one. Dr. Francis arrived soon after the war ended and opened the long term care facility across from Harvard. He also had admitting purpose of the baby. In 1950, Dr. Meyer sold his practice to two Kenyan doctors who brought lady Minto into the 20th century. Dr. Meyer had graduated before 1900. As the physicians before them, they tend to be older, sometimes by March sometimes now by plane. With their arrival with many changes, more surgery, Doctor are white now gave anesthetics and occasionally a surgeon came from Vancouver to do abdominal surgery, either told me, Dr. Anchorman and Dr. Boys also vital that even with the nurses in front of the x ray machine, never had before. When these men left the 1953, Dr. Phil will keep up the practice. He in turn sold it to his brother in law Howard Johnson in 1997. The building of the new hospital had been discussed for 20 years became increasingly urgent. The board in a campaign spearheaded by Barbara hasty and who spent many exhausting weeks in the failure to referendum trying to convince the population that the existing hospital was totally inadequate. Finally, the first thought was turned for a new lady mentor 1957 On Property donated by Gavin Mullen. I'd love to add some gossip by Carrie at the end of her talk, patient confidentiality comes into play here. I'll turn it over to Karen.

Unknown Speaker 17:13
Well, things haven't changed. We're still financially strapped, the doctors are fighting. The nurses are doing non nursing duties and in over their heads that other time. So it really seems exactly the same. Just again, I've had so much fun trying to gather material for this. And I am I have to say the most interesting part was the old hospital because I really didn't know that much about it. But I certainly learned a lot and sue you filled in a lot of the blanks for me. But just to reiterate, certainly as early as 1945, there was a recognition that the old hospital was purpose model, we have to get on with looking at a larger one. And definitely Mrs. Hasting and Mr. Mold campaigned vigorously and it sounds like things haven't changed, they had to visit all of the outer islands. And there were a number of issues and only islands. North Pender was very much opposed to a new hospital, but I understand that Fulford harbor was bitterly opposed to their hospital, go figure. Eventually, all things came to pass. And in March of 1957 tenders were opened, and I managed to find some tendering documents and they're really quite good. So Sue and I have decided we have to get together and pull all of these documents that we found and do a display in the entrance of the hospital. But there's some really good stuff here. The estimated cost of construction equipment, furnishings, etc, was about $260,000. The land three acres of it was donated by Gavin. The official official opening of the new hospital was Wednesday, April the 16th 1950 2pm. And I've also found that in potential. The formal opening of the building was done by the Honorable Eric Martin and he was the provincial minister of health. There was the inspection of the hospital and T's to listen for the hospital facility. That hasn't changed. The new hospital had 25 acute deaths. And from my reading, I see that Captain Eric Defoe was the first administrator, followed by her and the very capable matron with Mrs. C. Ferguson. There was a stamp of 25 full time and part time and all the rooms, patient care rooms furnished by individual families or groups on the island. And I just want to read you a little snippet out of one of the papers. The local paper about the opening. Miss Lassie doors. nurse's aide has been with the hospital for 25 years and outstanding record of devoted service. Mrs. Lauren Harvey Our extremely efficient laboratory and X ray technician followed or joined the staff in 1953. and Mrs. W. Howard was our housekeeper in 1956. Presiding over the kitchen is Miss Richie newcomer to Lady Minto. But an excellent and experienced the present chairman of the board is Douglas Kava. Through the years, the hospital has been supported most generously by the residents. And the district has served and I have to comment that that hasn't changed either. Following that there was a major addition to the hospital in 1965, with a construction of a sunroom and finances were received from the estate of the late honorable Randall Bruce, and a provincial branch in may not on May 19 of 1972 the Extended Care Unit was opened by the premier WAC. And that unit consisted of 15 extended care beds and they provided care to the elderly folks of the island who were no longer to stay at home. Able to stay at home. There were a few other renovations done at that time. When I came to Salt Spring in May of 1973. Planning had already been done for construction, further extend that the tenants don't care. And by May 12 of 1979, the official opening of the renovations and in addition of extra tents and caravans took place. The renovations included an improved lounge and activity area for the extended care residents, major expansion of the laboratory and radiology department, a modern business office lobby, and approved staff areas. Well, we've done all those since since we just keep carrying on. From that time on May the mental hospital continue to grow, thrive and serve its community. Back in those days, oftentimes the nurse the registered nurse was the only nurse in the building on nights. And we often did lots of non nursing duties. But we also took responsibility for anything and everything that was happening in the building. Whether it was maternity, Donna reminded me tonight are the other little chore we had. There was no such thing as BC ambulance was a voluntary ambulance service here on footprint Island. And if anyone required an ambulance, they called the hospital. And the nurse had a list of folks to call to take the vote. So as I say the nurses in those days certainly had many extra duties to do. Back in those days, the nurses residence behind the current hospital wasn't nurses residents, there were actually nurses living there, they had a lovely sitting area, kitchen area, etc. Some of the other interesting things that I recall, one in particular, one of my first ambulance runs off the island as a nurse escort went with the volunteer drivers. And in those days the drivers were the Undertaker, the parson you name so all the bases were covered. I went over good he was driving. And I'm sure he won't mind me telling the story. We took the patient over to the vet Victoria Hospital and on the way back, we were going to stop for a bite to eat, and said to me, Karen, have you ever had a martini? And I said, No. He says have one tonight. This is the best time because I got the stretcher to take you home. So I had my first mark. I didn't need the stretcher. Although there haven't been many larger distance to the hospital we did a number of years ago through the region, the front entrance center middle area, that area seems to be redone about every 10 years. As well as, and I'm not sure whether this is the actual reasoning. But in the early 80s, we at lady mental hospital had our first head nurse we we never had a head nurse. Prior to that. We have Director of Nursing and the general duty nurses. So we have a director of nursing who came from the big city Victoria and tried to teach us all these new and wonderful things. Well, actually, it was the best thing that happened to us. She really brought us up to date. We she spent the first year ensuring that we were we're following all the current standards of practice. And we really learned a lot from her. I certainly learned a lot she went on to become the first female administrator I believe have a mental hospital. And again, following that, we were all all female administrators, but not female, I think mostly nursing administrators. And I think what that was able to do for our hospital, we have and have had patient care as our first priority. Some of the administrators who are very financially astute, thought it was nicer to put the money in the bank, we thought it was better to spend it. And we did. Every every year, we were lucky, we were able to secure funding from either the government some of our surplus funds, and certainly community donations, and we were always able to upgrade. And I think one just has to walk through in our building, to see that we have been able to with our old buildings, very pleasant, and clean, but also very, very correct and the most modern and best equipment that we can get. So it's been, for me, it's been 27 wonderful years, because I've had the pleasure of growing through all of these changes. They haven't all been easy changes. But they've been really exciting. And I think something that the community can be proud of. In April of 1997, as you were aware, the government mandated regionalization of health care in the province. And what that meant was the amalgamation of all of the acute care facilities, within regions. So rather than being a standalone hospitals, we have been for many, many years, we became a site of the Capitol Health Region.

Unknown Speaker 26:44
And this was sort of the end of an arrow of the individual hospital board. And it was really sad because all of the countless volunteer hours came to an end. And we still miss that. And although there was much resistance to regionalization, actually, we in the Gulf Islands have recognized that we've got the best of both worlds, we're able to keep, mainly because of the water between us. Let's put it that way. We're able to maintain our care, and our community cottage type pasta. While we have access in support of all the regional services and the technical and clinical services, we find invaluable. And in the words of some of our senior management. They said very clearly that they have a lot to learn from their smaller partners. So I'll leave it at that. I'd be happy to answer any questions about the most recent years if anyone is unclear of which way we're going. I think I can tell you I know I can tell you very certainly that the region supports our hospital, the lady Mental Hospital are 100% They've gone through a services review, at which time they've looked at all of the services we provide. They completely endorse them all support them all, and are there to help us to continue to administer adding new services as is.

Unknown Speaker 28:20
Sue to come back and

Unknown Speaker 28:29
spend a few minutes

Unknown Speaker 28:37
if you weren't scriber, you come

Unknown Speaker 28:41
here to pay Pat. Which was one of the doctors that only the subscribers were able to vote. When hospitals closed and said a lot of patients are not paying because they are not paying scribers that they

Unknown Speaker 29:02
could afford to pay.

Unknown Speaker 29:11
femaleness of doctors to think that they came here because they could practice anywhere else. No, actually. Dr. Sutherland has got 18 different awards in Emory University when she graduated, there is a fascinating story that I want them to know. The balance of the hospital have been more or less washed away in a major flood. And her husband, the curricula, she felt that maybe it would be better to be in a drier climate. So combination of her husband being not well, and they're often disappeared.

Unknown Speaker 29:53
She came back

Unknown Speaker 30:07
Dr. Megan Bryan she was British. She had been nursing in India to have definitely a hippie before her time. They will remember her hand stomping

Unknown Speaker 30:29
does the hospital treat her? That has a huge problem?

Unknown Speaker 30:35
Oh certainly. Yes. We have the 24 hour emergency service of any hospital. There are physicians on call 24 hours a day seven days a week and the nurses will triage the patients and certain content very Absolutely. Yes, yes, absolutely. If the truth be known and can't walk by this room that's one of the revenues that we're allowed to keep the other province and our country visitors that come to the hospital we can charge the money and we get to keep it as revenue to offset some of their expenditures so keep them coming still yes they do. We are their junior volunteers now and and they're very active this year and certainly.

Unknown Speaker 31:46
We we try to encourage volunteers to go through the hospital observe and the reason we do is because there's sort of an orientation program and you're covered by insurance and things or the Victoria or I'm sorry, the best again hospice that's another volunteer group who will sit with patients we tried to fund them through the organizations that we have for people for your own protection.

Unknown Speaker 32:16
This is just a little story Dr. Phillip doctor, medical health officer and she would come in Excel town attend school and I remember sitting there am I accurate then bullets brother you're my age who really appointed chair sometimes words and he was standing

Unknown Speaker 32:37
behind me putting the

Unknown Speaker 32:47
thought in her head she could be up so she followed by mother because we didn't go to the hospital. She thought that you really should refer your son either going to Dr. Lawson.

Unknown Speaker 33:20
But she's wonderful.

Unknown Speaker 33:24
She's an extra

Unknown Speaker 33:33
black woman. I was born here

Unknown Speaker 33:43
well, you know, I'm delighted to say that I quite recently invited them 70 years ago to say thank you.

Unknown Speaker 33:55
Thank you. Listen to what you had to say it

Unknown Speaker 34:00
took a lot of research and

Unknown Speaker 34:03
presentations and there's more material on the table there. And I wish to thank you very much for your presentation on behalf of everyone