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By Elizabeth Iles

Ask the gray Sisters: Sault Ste. Marie and the overall sanatorium, 1898-1998 tells the tale of the construction and one-hundred-year heritage of the Sault Ste. Marie normal medical institution. At a time while Canada's healthcare approach is at a crossroads and we're requested to make the most important judgements for its destiny, it really is interesting and enlightening to examine the vibrant earlier of a regular group health center. in the course of the Nineties, Sault Ste. Marie was once a city looking for a health facility. Its glory days on the centre of the fur-trade path have been gone and the Sault was once within the technique of changing into a contemporary business group. any such group wanted a clinic as a centrepiece to draw traders and as an important social establishment to deal with the masses of staff who have been flocking to city with no relatives aid. the final sanatorium was once demonstrated in 1898 after town committee charged with constructing a health center have been refused investment via either the federal and provincial governments. In desperation, the committee met with the provincial Inspector of Asylums and Prisons (the merely provincial reliable with hospitals in his mandate). "If you need a sanatorium of which the paintings is critical and lasting," he's stated to have suggested them, "ask the gray Sisters." And so started a fruitful organization among the group of Sault Ste. Marie and orders of gray Sisters who've operated the sanatorium via its one-hundred-year historical past. dependent partially at the wide archival collections of either orders of nuns, this background contains fabric from the sisters' Chronicles and their own recollections. the result's an intimate and targeted portrait of a group health facility, put within the context of an rising provincial process of health and wellbeing care.

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In 1896, after the town had incurred an expense of $1,600 to care for indigents, the time seemed right for town council to push for a modern hospital. , there were no wealthy industrialists in the Sault — no railway magnates, no logging or fishing enterprises, no mining millionaires. It would take another generation for the Plummer family to be in a position to donate its home, Lynnhurst, to become the Plummer Memorial Public Hospital, and for a summer visitor to St. Joseph Island, Mrs. M. Matthews, to donate the property and funds to establish Matthews Memorial Hospital.

Flemming cared for her and a second 47 typhoid victim, Joseph Therien, admitted two days later. They were unable to find anyone willing to come in and do the laundry for fear of contracting typhoid, and so the sisters did the laundry themselves at night and hung the sheets to dry around the stove. The sisters spent ten months, until July 1899, coping with these difficult arrangements. Through the winter there was frost on the walls. There was very little space for the sisters to live, and the two younger nuns slept in the garrett.

Four physicians — Drs. Gibson, McCaig, Reid, and Flemming — took turns (week about) in providing medical care. Men were cared for on the first floor, women on the second. The operating table was on the first floor, and a Native student from Shingwauk School was the first patient to have surgery (his left leg was amputated by Dr. Gibson). Typhoid was a terrifying presence in the town in those years. The sisters' Chroniques report that the first patient was a typhoid victim who was received on September 23.

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