The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

January 25, 2006

Jan. 25, 2006 Hospitals

Until 1893 Springhill had no hospital. The people who got sick or the miners who were injured were treated in their home. The conditions were not always very satisfactory.

When Rev. W. Charles Wilson came to Springhill as Rector of the Church of England, he recognized the need for a hospital and set about the task of building one. On Nov. 1, 1893 , the All Saints Cottage Hospital was opened. He worked hard to secure an endowment fund so that work could be carried on very cheaply for the patients. In 1899, he resigned his rectorate, moved to the third floor of the Hospital and spent the rest of his life looking after the affairs of the Hospital. In a few years the hospital doubled in size.

To raise money for the Hospital, there were amateur shows and suppers, and on Thanksgiving Day, it became Donation Day, when people would donate their homemade jams, jellies and pickles to the hospital which was to go to the patients.

A Nurses training school was established in the hospital and the first two graduates were Miss Elizabeth Jones and Miss Frances Newman, in 1904. Frances Newman later became Matron of the Hospital.

In those days there were no operations done at the hospital and very few babies were born there as they were usually born at home with the aid of a Doctor and a midwife.

There were no ambulances so if a miner was injured he was carried to the hospital on a sloven, or in the winter, on a sleigh.

There also was no dentist as this task was also done by the attending doctor.

On Oct. 24, 1910 the Halifax Herald carried the following: “The All Saints Cottage Hospital annual meeting report shows that 229 patients were treated in the hospital during the year. Fifty-eight cases of typhoid were treated. The death rate was 4%. The current expenses for the year were $4,766.04 towards which paying patients contributed one third. The good work of the hospital is a boon to the community in providing a home with skilled nursing at rates far more reasonable to the recipients than can be obtained elsewhere. The hospital has never sought or received any municipal or provincial grants. Its work of skill and helpfulness is carried on by those who believe in the voluntary duty and privilege of assisting to heal the sick”.

As this was a training hospital no private duty nurses were allowed in the hospital.

Some of the Doctors who practiced medicine in Springhill at that time were: Sutherland, Cove, Murray , Byers, McKenzie, Wilson , Walsh, Hayes, Wardrope and Withrow.

In 1923 a maternity ward was added to the hospital. And later the back ward on the second floor was changed into a children’s ward.

When Rev. Wilson left Springhill the third floor was used for the nurses’ rooms. This was later turned into a Children’s Ward. The Sisters of St. John the Devine, an Anglican Religious Order hospital was in charge of the Hospital after Rev. Wilson left. When they left, it was taken over by the Town of Springhill .

After Dr. Wardrobe retired Dr. Harold Simpson took over his practice and later on was joined by Dr. J.C. Murray.

By 1949, a Medical Center was built at the bottom of Main St. with Dr. Simpson, Mr. Murray, Dr. J.R. Ryan and Dr. Carl Adams in attendance. With the death of Dr. Simpson and Dr. Adams leaving, Drs. Murray and Ryan were joined by Dr. D.H. Fisher and Dr. G. McL. Moffatt.

The old cottage, after so many years of use, was becoming out dated and needed many repairs. In 1962 the sod was turned for the construction of a new hospital and on Nov. 18, 1964 the new hospital was officially opened.

The cost of construction and equipment was approximately $1,125,000.00. The All Saints Springhill Hospital was a self-contained unit which included laundry, kitchen, dining area, Laboratory, X-Ray, Out-Patients Dep., Operating Room, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Central Supply area, Pharmacy and Public Health.

The Doctor’s were: Dr. J.C. Murray, Dr. Arnold Burden, Dr. D.H. Fisher and Dr. D.R. Davies.

Since the new hospital was constructed it has been expanded in size and has seen many changes to it.