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Eastern Maine Medical Center: 1892-1920

Bangor General Hospital with tent, ca. 1894

Bangor General Hospital with tent, ca. 1894

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Eastern Maine Medical Center

In 1892, Elizabeth Spratt, a graduate of Boston City Hospital, is engaged as superintendent and charged with organizing a training school for nurses. Three students are admitted that summer for a two-year course.

The hospital's nursing care is provided by the "pupil nurses." The only experienced nurse is the superintendent.

The physicians are the faculty; they lecture on topics ranging from care of the sick room to the management of labor.

In December, Bangor General is incorporated under the laws of the state, and General Charles Hamlin agrees to serve as president of the corporation (today's chairman of the board of trustees).

One hundred citizens agree to join with the founding physicians to assume any deficit that might arise from the charitable work of the hospital.

A Visiting Board of Women is organized to inspect the premises weekly, assuring cleanliness and efficient management.

In 1893, Pricilla Blake's $1,000 gift forms the first endowment, with interest earmarked for charity care.

That year, the Woman's Hospital Aid Society is organized, led by a board of managers that meets in the YMCA building.

Taking a cue from Portland and Lewiston, the society introduces an annual fund raising event through area churches known as Hospital Sunday. In this first year, 271 women join the Aid Society.

Ellen Paine is recruited from Massachusetts General to replace superintendent Spratt.

Trustees agree to ask the Legislature for financial aid because so many patients are non-residents of Bangor.

These plans are then postponed so as not to interfere with the pending appropriation for construction of Eastern Maine Insane Asylum.

Eastern Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary headquarters are moved to Bangor General; infirmary services become available to patients at the hospital.

In its first year, the Hospital admits 150 patients, two thirds of them from beyond Bangor.

In 1894, the hospital purchases Mace house for $8,000 with subscriptions (pledges) collected by the trustees. Numerous repairs and improvements are made.

On Memorial Day the public is invited to tour the hospital. Many citizens attend, including members of the city government.

To relieve overcrowding, a tent is pitched on the lawn in summer; it shelters male patients recovering from surgery.

The Maine Legislature grants an appropriation of $5,000 in each of the next two years.

The City of Bangor funds two "free beds" (in return for an annual contribution, towns and churches could assure free care for their needy).

Donation Day in November now shares the calendar with Hospital Sunday in May, providing two sources of annual giving.

In December a registry of nurses is established: students provide private duty nursing in local homes; their compensation is a source of revenue for the hospital.


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