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Eastern Maine Medical Center: 1892-1920

Nurses, Eastern Maine General Hospital, ca. 1908

Nurses, Eastern Maine General Hospital, ca. 1908

Item 16248 info
Eastern Maine Medical Center

In 1905, the hospital raised the roof over the laundry to add rooms for nurses and domestic staff.

"For several reasons the completion of arrangements for the much needed children's ward has been deferred for the present, but as time goes on the necessity for this department grows no less." -- Ellen Paine

In 1906, Charles Hamlin wrote, "During the past year this matter (of a children's ward) has had the attention of its Directors and Trustees, and some progress towards its establishment has been made. The great want has been a sufficient fund to warrant its construction. ...The foregoing (extract from an article about Children's Hospital in Boston) will show how urgent is the demand for a Children's Ward. It is strenuously urged upon the Legislature and our generous people."

Ellen Paine resigns as superintendent and opens the private Paine Hospital on Center Street (in 1947 the property is sold to the Felician Sisters and becomes St. Joseph Hospital).

Ida Washburne from Massachusetts General succeeds Ellen Paine as superintendent and matron of the training school.

In 1907 the legislature grants $15,000 toward construction of the children's ward on condition that $25,000 be raised from private sources.

"The Hospital has been filled to its utmost capacity... it shows the growing confidence which the members of the community place in the Hospital."

The surgery is fitted with steel ceilings and a new operating table is purchased. Gas ranges are introduced into the laboratory and service rooms ("convenient in bacterial work and meal preparation").

An excerpt from founding physician William C. Mason's letter of resignation from the staff: "That fact...which has impressed me most strongly is the extraordinary change in public opinion concerning (the Hospital, even though its) policy and methods of management are precisely the same as they were originally. At its beginning and for years afterwards ninety-nine one-hundredths of the citizens, the medical profession with few exceptions . . .opposed the hospital ... Many there were who pursued the institution and us so fiercely and relentlessly and almost daily ... All this is now, and for years has been, not forgotten but rarely mentioned. It belongs to the past. Today the enemies of our hospital are as few as its friends and supporters were fifteen years ago. The crisis has passed years ago and now this charity is recognized as an indispensable and permanent institution.

In 1908, with generous bequests from two prominent citizens of Bangor, Messrs. Phillips and Oliver, the state grant is now available and the long awaited building of a children's ward begins.

In recognizing the generosity of Phillips and Oliver, Charles Hamlin alludes to the changing role of hospitals. "They saw our Hospital is one of the greatest public blessings of modern times; they saw also that it applies to households where actual poverty does not exist, but where there is no possibility of giving to an invalid the nourishment, the medicines, and the skilled care and nursing which he absolutely needs in order to insure his recovery."


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