Newspaper Archive of
The Billings County Pioneer
Beach, North Dakota
May 26, 1960     The Billings County Pioneer
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May 26, 1960

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all 3y- ~p- Me ;el-, re- Dt~ ys, ,rid led or- 'of aes icy , a -~nt mL ter all of em | I I t l | r he nd C. be .'or it tat Id, .br- -al W Lid 3e n- !e- ell .'i- he ly ;ir bs .bn in io BILLINGS COUNTY PIONEER St. Alexius Hospital, licensed by the North Dakota State Department of Health, is a private, voluntary, non-profit hospital, accredited by the Joint Commis- sion on Accreditation of Hospitals. The educational program began with the foun- dation of the school of nursing in 1915 from which 796 nurses have graduated since 1918. There are 26 in the 1960 graduating class. The St. Alexius School of Medical Technology, founded in 1948, has graduated 26, with five in this year's class. The school of X-Ray Technology was founded in 1950 and 15 have gra~inated. There are ! By Marion ;. Piper ! five in the Class of 1960. The St. Alexius Hospital Schools hold member- ship or a~credited standing in the following organ- izations: North Dakota State Board of Nursing Edu- cation and Nurse Licensure. Conference of Catholic Schools of Nursing, National League for Nursing, The America~ Medical Association Council on Medi- cal Education and Hospitals, American Registry of X-Ray Technicians and is affiliated with the North Dakota Agricultural College for B. S. degrees in medical technology and for a master's degree in hospital pharmacy administration. (Photo by Leo LaLonde) Oldest Hospital In State Celebrates 75th Birthday St. Alexius Hospital, the first hos- St. Paul and Miles City. pital established in North Dakota, l His Excellency, Hillary B. Hacker, celebrated its 75th birthday anni- Bishop of Bismarck offered mass versary May 4th. For many years in the hospital chapel at 4:15 p.m. it was the only hospital between l on Wednesday, May 4th in honm of the occasion. The Bishop and priests of Mandan and Bismarck were guest at the birthday dinner that evening arranged by the Bene- dictine Sisters, according to Sister Paul, director of St. Alexius Hos- pital. There are more than 1,400 years of peace, prayer and devotion be- hind the Order of St. Benedict which was established by St. Bene- dict at Monte Cassino in Italy. The first Benedictine Sisters came to America in 1851 from Eichstalt. Bavaria, locating in Pensylvania. Later they came west to St. Cloud Minnesota and then on to Dakota Territory where they established a new academy April 8, 1878 in Bis- Don't you think I have a reduction coming on this bill?" Lynn Sperry, Burleigh county pioneer rancher, jokingly asked Sister Paul, administrator at St. Alexius Hospital recently. The old bill which he is show4ng her is dated Mzy 13, 1900 and was for $8.00 for room and care for one week. Sperry recalls that "stumbling" horse had fal- len on him and he had dislocated his hip. Jim,my Boyle, a male nurse, has masmtged the affected parts u~Ul he recovered. Sperry, born in Chataugua, New York, celebrated his 83rd birthday May first at his ranch home, nine miles northwest of Bismarck on the River ]~td. Yes, was the reason the 50-star flag was flying in his yard ~rly Sunday morning. It was on April 28, 1885 that Sperry arrived in Bismarck, so he has been here a few days longer than the 75 years the St. Alexius Hospital has been giving service. His mother was a patient in the hospital in 1890 and know Sister Boniface well. On June 20, 1905 he and the former Della Rogers of MeKenzie were married. They have four children: Mr-~ William Moeller (Mildred) and Mrs. Orismlo Benson (Frances) of Bismarck, Mrs. C. N. Borman (Clara) of Minneapolis and Eugene, chief engineer of the Soil Conservation Service in Bozeman, Mon- tamL All this and more he recalled to Sister Paul who shared with him a bouquet of crocuses (pasqueflow- ors) a grateful patient had picked for her that morn- ing. The gold clock on Sister Pal~l's desk was given to her in ~!955 by employees of St. Alexils Hospital on the occasion of her silver jubilee Its a Sister of the Order of St. Benedict Sister Patti received her R. N. degree a~t St. Cloud Hospital School of N~g and she came to St. Alexius Hospital in 1938. She has served her order in maxty capacities in Blsmaxck before becoming director of the Garrison Memorial Hospital in 1948. She was named administrator of St. Alexins Hospital in 1952. (Photo by Shin Key-area) [marck. The first Catho!ic churchI ~Exit' Kerosene in Bismarck was blessed in Junet The year 1899 was one of first 1875 by Father Genin. I for the hospital: telephones, electric ~. ~call bells and the perft~r,mance of It was m 1884 tna* he Re~ed,c~me an appendectomy. Kero-'ene lamps ! Sisters of St. Joseuh, Min~=esota. land lanterns gave wa: t- electric nurchased a new build[,w, k~lewn as the Lanborn ho~el, w'~ich had recently been eomMe*~d b:" %b~xar - der McNcnzie and Richard Mellon. two of the most oonm~ic-ol~ ohm'- ~:et,qs in D;~kota Terr;*orv day~. It had been built to rr~seq ni a to. of if bu~ a ~em'e,:sion had ~ i~ "m~ ~hev were um~ble t~ se!l ,~t tSc hSgt~ price antic!~ated. After r)u.rehasina ~he l",i] ~i'~'r ~,c~ three lots at the corner -ff S','~ pn] Main for $24.0~9. th~ Sis!,r:: to- modeled it and acam'dim, ~a ~ho contract it was !.:nov.'n ,~ 'he finn- horn Hospital unt:l 1887. TB:~ first ~>atients were admitted 3"~ M:,y 6. 1885. There were 65 D~tien',s ~hat qrst yea.'. In 19".~ t.hc rt em'd~ st~w 10.213 patients were, adm,lt,yd to St.' Alexius Hospital. There were also! 4,112 out-patients given care. Many persons living in Bismarck today recall the 50th anniw:rsary in 1935 when Sister Boniface prepar- ed fhe first published history of the hospital. Sister Boniface came to St. Alexius Hospit'd in 1892 as Mother Superior and guided its de- velopment for over o~ty yca-s. She saw it grow from a primitive institution to one of the best in the land. At this time there were four or five Benedictine Sisters, five doctors, and a daily average of four or five patients. Today there are 29 Benedictine Sisters, 375 professional lay employ- ees, 52 doctors and a daily average of 189.56 patients. The average length of stay is seven days. The total cost to the hospital per day is $23.60 with the average bill pe~ )atient $157. The early accounts show that the first patient was Isaac McKean from DeWitt, Michigan. The first oaby born was to a Mr. and Mrs. S'veeney of Jamestown. Most of the natients were County charges and their bills were paid by the county !n war- rants Which could be sold for only 85 cents on the dollar. When the County Poor House burned down, the 15 inmates, all men, were taken in at the hospital at the request of the Commissioners at a rate of 45 cents a day. Colorful Early Days The hospital also made a eontrac: with the United States Marine Serv- ice to care for the river boatmen at the flat rate of 90 cents a day. These contracts were made at the sugges- tion of Bismarck "boosters" and politicians who were eager to see any new business venture flourish md so enhance the name of their town. The Sisters soon learned that in the opinion of the boatmen the hospital was a convenient boarding house when the Missouri froze over and left them jobless in Bismarck. All that was needed fl,r entrance was a minor ailment. Ranchers suf- fered recurring attacks of typhoid and "plains fever." Visit by Teddy Tradition has it that Tedd:, Roose- velt as a cowboy was nursed through a siege of fever at the hospital. He always called at tbe hospital to pay his respects and the City Welcome Committee wou pin the famous rabbit tail badges on the Sisters whenever Teddy was in town which they wore in his honor. Illustrious personages also were served by the Hospital Sisters. These included General G- Whistler and Medora, the American wife of Mar- quis deMores, dashing young French nobleman who founded the town of Medora in 1883 where he establish- ed a meat packing plant, built the most pretentious home in ~he area now operated as a histor~,c house by the State Historical Society, and the Catholic church which is still in use : today. installations. With the help of E. P. (:uain, pioneer doctor who became ~: rnem- ber of the staff in 1899, St. Alexius Hospital soon followed the latest methods in antisepsis. Ordinarily a doet.or's outfit then cons~ted of a kn'fe or two. a pair of sc!ssor~, a ]few needles and some drugs. What Dr. Quoin did for the h:~spital m the department of surgery Sister Eoniface did for the ho~,ptml ad- ministration. She had great business ability and knew how to win the c: operation of the business men, the 7oliqeia~s and the patienls. The c!tizer~s appreciated the policy cf not o erating the ~oslulal as a strictly C'athelic inslituti(m. I~s doors vcre open to all crce:~s. Patients were free to receive the advice of ministers from whatevar dam,ruina- tion they desired. First Health Insurance Another development which re- ceived public approval was the novel hospitalization plan which the Sisters fostered. Hospital admission tickets at an annual cost of $16 for use in their Bismarck h)spital, as well as in their new hospitals in St. Cloud and I:)uluth, were avail- able. In this early hospital care and insurance plan, each purchascr of such a ticket obtained care and treatment should illness, overtake him at any time during one year from the date of the ticket. More than half a century later St. Alexius Hospital become a con- tracting hospital with the North Dakota Blue Cross June 11, 1947. Sister Paul, administrator of the hospital, has been second vice president of North Dakota Blue Cross since 19~7. She is keenly aware that the average worker is was completed. With its recognition as a "Class A" hospital by the American Col- lege of Surgeons in 1921, St. Alexius Hospital has proudly continue~l to maintain this rank througn the years. The growing need for services and the expanded medical staff required more construction so in 1947 the north wing was built. This section provided a completely equipped and modern hospital with almost *wive its previous capacity, a~d became the largest hospital in the state. Since 1956, staff increases and in- auguration of new administrative policies with the purpose of simpli- fying and expediting patient c,~re, have required the conversion of many patient rooms into other ac- commodations. The result is that patient capacity has dropped. It now has 211 beds and 32 bassinets. Again, in ',his 75th anniversary eear, the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict putting their trust in the Lord with Whom nothing is impos- sible are launching the mos.t com- prehensive plans yet contemplated for St. Alexius Hospital. Humbly, and with great rejoicing they accept all gifts and contributions that eme to them. In 1,962, south and w'est of the present building there will be an L-shaped wing. It will provide more I commodiously for the well rounded !program of patient care now offer- ,ed in five basic areas. These are: medicine, surgery, maternity, child- ren's services and psychiatry. Corn- ! prehensive diagnostic and treatment services support the program of ~ patient care. Mary College Opens A major revismn o~ nurse-edu- cation is taking place lhis fall. The present three-year course at St Alexius Nursing School will be re- placed with the four-year .t~gree program at Mary College, affiliate !of Catholic University of America. unable to provide for medical care lMary College has functioned as a for himself and family unless he is l junior college for the past three covered by a comprehensive n,edi-I years. cal-care plan. With this double prov:,sion ~f St Alexius Hospital was incorpor- improved facilities and more pro- ated under the state laws of North Dakota in 1905. It was the first hospital in North Dakota to be equipped with X-ray and pathologi- cal laboratories that met the re- quirement of the American College of Surgeons. By 1914 the hospital was so crowd- ed that plans were made for a new building. In 1915 a five story st,'uc- ture accommodating 150 pahents fessionally trained nurses, Director !Sister Paul says that it is their hope that the coming years will find that St. Alexius Hospital will I remain true to the ideals of its pioneers and bring better services to the patients who come to its door in Christ's name, seeking their help for Hi# sake, so "that in all things God may be glorified." This quot,tion from the Holy opened at Ninth and Thayer. The Rule of St. Benedict guides the des- Sisters organized a school fcr ltiny of St. Alexius Hospital: "Care nurses. The first class graduated in I must be taken of the sick, that they 1918. Nine years later, the pro- be served in very truth as Christ sent nurses' home, Boniface Hall, is served." This artists sketch sho~ the proposed addition to St. Alexlus Hospital which will be completed in 1962. It will provide an additional 40,000 square feet at an approximate cost of $1,871,000. The 30-bed, two- story psychiatric wing will face Thayer Ave entrance to the administration building will be on Ninth St and the operating and central supply rooms will be~ in the basement. Another "first" at St. Alexius Hospital came in 1959--the adaptation of the fourth floor east to a 12- 0ed psychiatric unit. Through this venture on the Part of the Benedictines and their competent staff. it is possible that those who are troubled and in- secure may find security and peace of ndnd. Mrs. Wini Breithach, R. N head nurse in Psy- chiatry, Dr. Cecil G. Baker, Phyehlatrist, and Sister Madonna, R. N E. E. G. Technician, seem to enjoy the interpretation of the Electroencephalograms-- brain w~ves. (Photo by Shin Koyama) Their eyes all seem to light up when Sister Char- lotto, O. S. B It. N. stops in at the hospital rooms on her round of c~iis as Patient Visitor, Although this senior nurse commands respect for years of service, she is one of the younger Sisters in point of tenure at St. Alexius Hospital for she came here in 1942. Sbe is shown here telling a story of more than 75 years ago to Art Ha4~en, tenior vice president of the First National Bamk at Mandan. Many years ago when she was young in the Order of St. Benedict, she was sent to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to care for ninety-year Old Sister Anatolia Lang- ford during a long illness. Sister An&tolia was one of a small group of Sisters sent to Blsmutrck from St. Joseph Minn to try to establish a school for girls which is now St. P/Iary's Grade School. As part of their missionary work at the time, the Sisters would visit the soldiers at "Camp Outer", both to beg alms of them and to give them medals, holy cards and spiritual help. On such a visit one day, a young lad, not more than 18 years old, told them his story. He had run away from his home in New York and had came west to be a soldier. He was very Ionely axtd seemed very happy to talk to the Sisters. He asked Sister Anatolht for a prayer book. Not having an extra one, she gave him her own small book of prayers which she always carried in her ample pocket. The boy was delighted. writing his nature beneath that of Sister Anatolia. The next day, May 17, 1876, he leIt Fort Abraham Lineol~ with his d/vlsion and to his death with George Custer at the Battle of the IAttle Bighorn. The recall pra er book was found on his mutilated body, his Ident/4y was therefore establlslwd and his parents in New York were notified of. the fate of thelr son. "(Photo by hinKoFl -na)