Elk Point Hospital Reunion 1928 -1990

This section of the website is from a book published in 2008 for a reunion of Elk Point Hospital Staff on June 21, 2008. This is the introduction by Diane Anderson. A pdf of the whole book is available at the end of page.


How often do we reminisce about our years of working in Elk Point Hospital? How often do we talk about “the good old days”, the friends we made, the life experiences we had, the patients we cared for, the treatments for illness that seem so simple when compared to the CAT scans of today. Yet we did treat, we did heal, we did do surgery, set broken bones, and delivered over 400 babies a year, all in this small 51 bed rural hospital.

It is a heritage that we can all be proud of. Elk Point Hospital had a reputation of delivering excellent care. Our medical pioneers, Dr.’s F.G. Miller, A.G. Ross, Ann Wiegerink and K.C. Miller all contributed to why people came as far away as Edmonton to seek treatment. The staff had a reputation for delivering safe,  compassionate, friendly nursing care. Our hospital was old; the roof leaked and the sunporch screen wouldn’t close; but we had a very low infection rate because it was kept clean . Everyone practiced good technique. We were dealing with infectious diseases such as pneumonia, hepatitis, T.B., staphylococcus, streptococcus, influenza, you name it! along with scabies and fleas. Antibiotics were barely on the horizon, so we made mustard plasters (1/4 mustard
powder to 3/4 flour, mixed H20 to make a paste that was spread on old newspaper, wrapped in gauze and heated on top of the bed pan sterilizer) to put on the chest of those suffering pneumonia along steamers that we put under the patients face and covered their heads with a drawsheet to keep the steam in. Gave them chicken soup stock to drink; aspirin for the temp., F.G. Miller’s 1-2-3 mixture, or Benylin for the cough and the rest was up to God.

Do you get sore throats? treat them with wycillin and tetracycline and when the infection was gone....out with the tonsils! Got a tummy ache? ( a little tender on your right side?) to the OR, under the ether mask and your appendix was out! It took 5-7 days to recover from the ether and the 4" of stitches in your side because we didn’t even let you get out of bed for 3 days! If your joints ached we rubbed in rubafacal till our hands burned, put poultices on your abscess and spread merthiolate on any exposed skin. Women came at all times to deliver their babies, many in labour for hours; no such thing as an epidural - just a small dose of heroin that we prepared over a tiny bunsen burner at the nursing station. Remember the twins that weighed 81b 6oz. and 81b 14 oz. respectively?
The delivery was uncomplicated and they soon joined their 6 brothers and sisters at home. Everyone had large families. Many times deliveries came in a “rush”. I remember 5 one night shift. We ended up putting some newborns (3 to a large adult bed) because we ran out of room in the nursery. The nursing staff not only had to give care but they also sharpened needles on night shift, washed all the med bottles and sterilized bedpans and urinals.

We said that we were a 51 bed hospital but most time the sunporch was full and some patients were lined up on beds in the hallway. Nobody was turned away.
Staffing?? On afternoon shift you had 1 RN and 2 aides on the North wing and the same for South. On nights there was one less aide and during the summer months many times only 1 RN and 3 aides to deal with whatever came through the door. How did we manage? Well, for starters everyone pulled together as a team and you stayed working until all patient care needs were met. Then you sat down to eat and have a coffee. The RN’s started their charting and the aides rinsed out all the soiled diapers (no pampers!) and linens; packed them into big bags and dragged them downstairs to the laundry. The food was great! The kitchen always served excellent meals made with locally grown vegetables homemade soups, pies, steak better than what you ate at home all at no
cost to the employee.

Was there ever any slack time? Of course there was, and that’s when we had fun, playing crazy jokes on each other, or planning the next hospital party. It is this team spirit that I think everyone remembers the most. That; and taking pride in a job well done, in a life saved; and the respect that the community at large had for everyone who was part off the “Hospital Team”. I know that I am very glad that I had an opportunity to be part of it.

Diana Anderson



A special “Thank You” to everyone who made this reunion possible.

Organizing Committee:
Diana Anderson
Amelia Bowen
Norma Berg
Peggy Maas

History Book:
Myrna Fox
Diana Anderson
Kathy Foster

Slide Presentation:
Gwen Morris

Debbie Lawrence
Gwen Morris
Mathilda Morrison/Furger

Pyroghy Making:
Jean McGinnes, Erma Yewchin, Amelia Bowen, Helen Gulayec, Ann Gulayec, Peggy Maas, Lois Shepalowy, Shirley Kvill, Lena Stepa, Helen Trach, Elsie Oryschuk, Diana Anderson

Town of Elk Point - $500.00
County of St. Paul #19 - $500.00
Flospital Auxiliary - Cameras

Hon. Ray Danyluk, Minister off Municipal Affairs
Elk Point Town Councilor Bernice Capjack
County of St. Paul #19 Div. 2 Councilor, Tom Kurek
County of St. Paul #19 Div. 1 Councilor, Glen Ockerman

Everyone who shared their pictures and albums and helped in so many ways to make this
day such a special event!