Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 40 > Page 17 - Dr. Austin MacDonald: How We Got the Hospital Down North

Page 17 - Dr. Austin MacDonald: How We Got the Hospital Down North

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1 (875 reads)
 

where this baby was sick. The driver that was with me--I had his horse, so he was driving. When we were finished, they said, "Doctor, we have no money. Do you like smelts?" I said, "Sure." So they took a bag of smelts--there was about perhaps 20 pounds--put it in the back of the sleigh. So I gave half of it to the driver and kept half of it for myself. (Were you ever paid in chickens, eggs, bread?) Not really. The people that had chickens and eggs, they also had money, so they paid in money. (Socks?) Oh, socks! My God, I had a trunkful of the most beauti? ful woolen socks and mitts, that people made for Christmas gifts for me. (Oh, not to pay your bill.) No, no, I was never paid in those. They never put a value on them--these were gifts. I still have a pair somewhere of double-knit mitts that a 14-year-old girl made for me. She was dy? ing of pulmonary tuberculosis. And about a week or two after she gave me those mitts for Christmas, she died. But this was the last thing she did, was make me a pair of mitts. (The cottage hospital in Neil's Harbour, you opened it.,..) In February, 1943. We had 7 beds. And we only had enough money to keep it going until the end of May. So we closed it down for the summer, and the people, the committees in each community, went into raising money for the next win? ter. And the second year it was open from the first of December till the end of May. (How did they raise money for it?) Oh, house-to-house canvass. And they put on all kinds of stuff like card games: you paid so much to get in on the card games. Littl-e by little, they would bring this money in, and they'd have enough to keep the hospital going in winter. We could get along without it very well in the summer, because you could get to Cheticamp for sur? gery, you could get to North Sydney. But in the winter you couldn't do that. They had bingo games. Bingo was strictly ille? gal at that time. They had them, anyway. And dances, and suppers 1 (It was a winter hospital.) Yes, from 1943 when it opened, until 1946. That's all we could raise money to cover. And in 1946 the head of the Red Cross Nursing Service came down to see us. She said that when they had wound up their war efforts, they had quite a bit of money left over, a lot of hospital equipment left over, and they thought they would like to move into the cottage hospital business. Because they knew that there were several cottage hos? pitals in Nova Scotia, all of them very poorly equipped. We just had ordinary cots, you know, for hospital beds, which are bru? tal on the nurses--bent away over all the time. So they had hospital beds. And they made us a very attractive offer, that they would come in and they would finance the running of the hospital. We'd continue to raise all the money we could. They would provide what was needed in the way of fur? nishings, lab equipment, improvements of Vogue Gleaners Prince Street, Sydney * Quality Same-Day Dry Cleaning * SUEDES REPAIRS WELCOME TO THE FULLY LICENSED Harbour Restaurant A Good Selection of Seafood Dining Room Overlooking Cheticamp Harbour OPEN ALL YEAR 'ROUND . Cheticamp, Cape Breton * 224-2042 (Furniture courtesy Bonnell-Lubetzkl* s, Sydney) Island Crafts - A Unique Shop Featuring Locally Handcrafted Items Beautifully displayed children's toys, sweaters, and accessories; fashionable hand-knit sweaters in a variety of colours and patterns; excellent weaving, quilts, unique pottery, handpainted jewelry, wood? work, Christmas display year round, and ever popular Cheticamp rug hooking. A complete souvenir line. OPEN YEAR ROUND: MONDAY TO SATURDAY, 9 TO 5; FRIDAY, 9 TO 9 Wholesale: full line of souvenirs 539-6474 329 Charlotte St, Sydney 564-5527 a preiwt of Cap* Braun Owalopmant CorponMon
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