Page 20 - Dr. Austin MacDonald: How We Got the Hospital Down North
ISSUE : Issue 40
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1
a bit of a slur on Baddeck. That's the on? ly time the north end of the county ever got ahead of that end. Well, we knew from the beginning that this old house, you know, it would serve our purpose while we needed it, but we always did want to build a hospital that would be built like a hospital. You know, they have big corridors where you beds from one room to another. You couldn't do that. You had to take a bloody bed apart and take it down and set it up somewhere else, if you had to change its location. And this was brutal on the nurses and on the janitor. I would help out with it. And any? body around would be drafted to help out with it. But there was nothing convenient about converting an old house for a hospi? tal. So we always knew some day there'd have to be a hospital that was a hospital. (Marie: Also, it was a means for future medical service.) Yeah. Every summer when I'd go on a vacation, I'd hire a young graduate doctor of that year to come and cover the practice for 2 or 3 weeks, what? ever I was taking. And invariably they'd say, "Why do you practice here?" They would not consider ever coming there to practice. And they certainly wouldn't con? sider any place that didn't have a hospi? tal. So, I got the message after awhile. (They didn't count the cottage hospital as a hospital?) No, no, it wasn't dramatic e- nough for them. The nurse in charge of the Red Cross for Nova Scotia, she told us that we should get going--as long as we no longer had to provide all the money to run the hospital-- that we should get going and raise all the money we can. And when we got enough back? log, get busy and build a hospital. We a- greed with that. So we went to work there, and for the next 5 or 6 years, we raised money wherever we could. They were the same old group of people that we had be? fore, about 20 of them, men and women, who went into every kind of fund-raising that they could think of--in addition to their church work and everything else that they were raising funds for in each community. And the thousands gradually built. We had 30 or 40 thousand accumulated by 1953. (Just through dances...?) All this stuff. You'd be amazed at the amount that those people would bring in over a year. Maybe it wasn't that much, but it was at least 30 thousand. 'Cause we had that back? log when we decided to go ahead and build. And then there were government grants a- vailable. But we had to have money for our share of it first, you see. Well, we had it. Then we were looking for a site where there could be a good water supply, be? cause that was the big problem we had at the old site. And we wanted to get the site where the little hospital is now, you know, in the national park, by the brook, just outside Neil's Harbour. And that is national park. We couldn't get an5nArhere with the civil service, of course, because they go entirely by the book. No park land could be used for that. But there was an? other circumstance which happened to exist just at that time. A minister of the fed- Examples of Community Involvement: From the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the North Victoria Branch, Red Cross • 1951: Reporting for the Neil's Harbour Auxiliary Mrs. J. J. MacLeod told of many and varied activities car? ried on by her group during the past year. The Hos? pital Drive which amounted to $281.50 and the Red Cross Drive which amounted to $191.00 were both carried out by these ladies. Eleven pairs of cur? tains, one table cloth, 26 tea towels and many oth? er useful articles were made and given to the Hos? pital. Three bedrooms in the Hospital were papered by this Auxiliary. In addition $109.00 was set a- side towards the new Hospital and $50.00 was given to the Maintenance Fund.... (From) the Report of the Cape North Auxiliary: The amount of $2342.29 was withdrawn from the Cape North Auxiliary account in the Bank of Nova Scotia and placed to account of the Branch Treasurer in a designated Hospital building and ward Fund. Christmas boxes were sent to persons from the Cape North district who are patients in the Units.... Collected $101.00 at benefit dance held for two needy families at Dingwall. 150 ft. of 2 inch plank was donated for Hospital steps. The Auxil? iary raised $338.73 by card socials and Parcel Post sales and from lunches at the Auxiliary Meet? ings .... During the year all the Red Cross Auxiliaries have been both generous and co-operative. The Neil's Harbour Group made possible the papering of three rooms, besides purchasing and making curtains for all the windows, table cloth, dishes and kitchen utensils. Many articles of sewing were done for the new bom infants. The Cape North Group donated a new electric iron, new shades for all the win? dows and paint for the kitchen and pantries. The Bay St. Lawrence Group sent patient trays, dishes, ten pairs of children's pyjamas and binders. They also shared in the expense of the shades. Many do? nations of vegetables, fruits and pickles were re? ceived from kind and thoughtful members. The Neil's Harbour Brownies provided scrap books for the Children's Ward. This was a thoughtful gesture as it is difficult to keep a sick child amused and interested.... The Ingonish Women's Hospital Auxiliary published a cookbook of local recipes called From the High? lands and the Sea. To date, they have sold over 30,000 copies, contributing $40,000 to the Buchan? an Memorial Hospital in the form of medical equip? ment, furniture, aid to the building fund for the children's wing, educational aid, and linens, bed? ding and towels. Sales of the cookbook have also contributed another $11,000 toward such things as the North Victoria Community Dental Association, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital in Halifax. From the Highlands and the Sea is available in stores around the island or directly from the In? gonish Women's Hospital Auxiliary, Ingonish, Nova Scotia BOC IKO. It sells for $5.50. (20 '
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