120th Anniversary of Ellsworth Hospital

1897-01-07 00:00:00

Dr. Harry O'Donnell and Dr. H.Z. Hissem establish a hospital in Ellsworth

Sometime during 1897 Dr. Harry O’Donnell and Dr. H.Z. Hissem established a hospital in Ellsworth using 4 rooms and an improvised operating room at the Mother Bickerdyke Home (now Good Samaritan Retirement Village). The hospital was exceedingly small with room for only a few patients. An operating room consisted of only a bare table. It was one of the few hospitals between K.C. and Denver. Pictured is Dr. Harry O'Donnell.

1897-09-16 14:27:09

H.Z. Hissem Co-Founder

Dr. H.Z. Hissem along with Dr. Harry O'Donnell are the co-founders of the Ellsworth Hospital. Pictured is Dr. Hissem.

1900-01-01 00:00:00

Union Pacific Railroad Constructs Hospital

Union Pacific railroad constructed a hospital around 1900. This two-story house west of the San Francisco & Union Railroad crossings was operated by Dr. George Wright. The use was designated for railroaders’ only.

1900-09-01 00:00:00

O'Donnell Introduces Legislature Bill

Dr. Harry O’Donnell, recognized leader in the Republican party in Ellsworth County was elected to the state legislature. “He introduced a bill, which was successfully passed, to make the Mother Bickerdyke Home a state institution for the care of the widows and orphans of the soldiers. He also introduced a bill to create a state board of medical examiners to regulate the practice of medicine and surgery and a bill to allow state officers to make more effective quarantine regulations in contagious diseases.” (A Biographical History of Central Kansas excerpt.) Enter story info here

1903-01-01 00:00:00

O'Donnell & Hissem Establish Own Building

Dr. Harry O’Donnell and Dr. H.Z. Hissem established their own building when the state took over the barracks at the Mother Bickerdyke Home. The Ben Fagan home was bought and remodeled as a hospital. This hospital had 14 beds. In 1900, the Ben Fagan home at Third and Blake Streets (lots 1,2,7 & 8 in block 26 of Blake's Addition) was purchased for $1,710 by The Ellsworth Hospital Association for the establishment of a hospital. The Association was comprised of Drs. O'Donnell and Hissem along with two Ellsworth druggists, Mr. George Seitz and Mr. W. E. Sherriff, and Dr. J. W. Perkins. The property was remodeled into a 14-bed frame hospital, with a sky-lighted operating room.Enter story info here

1904-09-01 00:00:00

Charter Granted for Nurses School

Ellsworth Hospital Association and Training School for Nurses charter is granted to Drs. Harry O’Donnell and H.Z. Hissem in the Ben Fagan home. (Student nurses worked 12 hour days, six and one half days a week and were paid $8.50 monthly.)

1906-05-05 00:00:00

First Nursing School Graduates

May (Wearing) Gebhardt and Mary M.H. Day are the first to graduate from the two year Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing.

1907-08-23 00:00:00

O'Donnell Passes

Dr. Harry O’Donnell passes away. The work of the hospital was carried on solely by H. Z. Hissem until Dr. Alfred O’Donnell, a brother of Dr. Harry O’Donnell, located in Ellsworth and was made Manager of the Hospital and Chief Surgeon.

1909-07-01 00:00:00

Hospital Expanded

The Ben Fagan home is again remodeled to provide 4-5 additional rooms for the hospital and training center.

1910-09-01 00:00:00

Hissem Wins Election

Dr. H.Z. Hissem was elected President of the Tri-County Medical Society.

1914-05-01 00:00:00

Salaries Announced

Dr. B.H. Mayer, County Physician noted, “The present salary of the county physician is $38.33 per month out of which he is to allow all claims made by other physicians providing arrangements have been made and he has had the proper notification of the case.”

1919-06-01 00:00:00

Another O'Donnell Joins Staff

Dr. Clair O’Donnell joined the hospital staff and became Chief of Staff following the retirement of Dr. Alfred O’Donnell.

1921-06-01 00:00:00

1921 Hospital is Built

- Ellsworth Hospital was built at a cost of $100,000 with 24 beds and 4 wards, 2 operating rooms and an elevator servicing all floors. The staff was composed of: Dr. H.Z. Hissem, Dr. Alfred O’Donnell, Dr. Clair O’Donnell, Dr. B.H. Mayer, Dr. W.J. Scott, and Dr. George Davis (the Kanopolis Dr. Davis). Dr. Alfred O’Donnell was manager; Miss Martha Buchanan, Superintendent and Gus Schroeder, Engineer and Custodian. Directors of the privately owned Ellsworth Hospital Company were: B.L. Gardinier, John Shannon, Harry Kunkle, Joe Kalina, Jr., T.G. O’Donnell, R.G. Nichols and Charles Gregory.

1923-09-01 00:00:00

Nursing School Expands

The Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing offers a 2.5 year course of study.

1925-05-05 00:00:00

Nurses Graduate

First graduating class under the 2.5 year Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing program receive certificates.

1926-09-01 00:00:00

Nursing School Affiliates with Children's Mercy

the Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing affiliates with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas city, MO and begins a three-year nursing program.

1926-09-01 00:00:00

Bickerdyke Home Hospital Changes

the Mother Bickerdyke Home Hospital was dedicated. This establishment is now known as the Good Samaritan Society Retirement Village.

1931-05-01 00:00:00

Head Nurse Job Duties Described

Mary Weinhold Fishburn, 1931 graduate, recalled that the head nurse of the hospital also served as housemother at the Nurses’ Home. “One night while the head nurse was at the hospital for an emergency surgery, the young man who served as hospital janitor came over to visit us,” Mary said, “but when we heard her coming in before expected, we hid him behind the piano until she was in her room for the night.”

1935-09-01 00:00:00

Nurses School Affiliates with Menniger Clinic

the Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing affiliates with the Menniger Clinic of Topeka and now offers Psychiatric Nursing.

1937-05-01 00:00:00

Nursing Cap Struggle

Catherine Sullivan Allison related that it was a struggle to earn their nursing caps and a struggle to keep them. “It was a real loss to have your cap taken away by the head nurse,” she stated. “One time a student had hers taken away for three days for sitting on a patient’s bed.”

1938-08-01 00:00:00

Affiliations Cease

The Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing affiliations with Children’s Mercy and the Menniger Clinic end.

1939-05-01 00:00:00

Uniforms Updated

According to Ethel Powers Fox, a 1939 Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing graduate, early uniforms were blue with a white apron, bib and cuffs worn with black shoes and hose. Later, much to the students’ pleasure, the uniforms were changed to include white shoes and hose and no apron or bib. Being “on call” meant “watching the attic lights.” Wherever the student was, if the attic lights were on she was to return to the hospital. The student certainly couldn’t get too far away!

1939-05-01 00:00:00

Kissing Shed Spotted

According to Ethel Powers Fox, a 1939 Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing graduate,“the kissing shed” a little addition built on each winter to cover the north door of the Nurses Home. Sometimes at 10:25 pm, or curfew time, it would become very crowded as “goodnights” were shared.

1939-09-01 00:00:00

School Affiliates with Denver General

Kansas State Board of Nursing regulations made it necessary for the nursing school to affiliate with Denver General Hospital in order to obtain a broader training program. (Students attended this training for 7.5 months.)

1943-09-01 00:00:00

Student Probation

May Diehl Grothusen, a 1943 graduate of the Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing, related that nursing students were on probation for the first three months of their education. “If we made it, we got our caps at the end of that time. We went to classes, taught by the doctors, five nights a week from September to the end of May and had to report at the hospital by seven in the morning to work until 3:30 in the afternoon. We got two half days a week off and each summer, only two weeks of vacation. We never got paid for working but we didn’t think anything about it – we thought that was part of our privilege of taking nurses training and that meant being on call for surgery, obstetrics duty at the hospital and home deliveries of babies.”

1944-09-01 00:00:00

School Forced to Re-Affiliate

To meet state requirements, students affiliated with Kansas State University. Students elected to transfer to other schools in September 1944.

1946-05-01 00:00:00

Last Class Graduates

the last class to graduate from the Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing include: Maxine Cikanek, Joyce Kerns, Jill Coffeen Dryden, Faye Hysell. In all, the Ellsworth Hospital School of Nursing granted 124 diplomas in its history, 1904-1946.

1947-01-01 00:00:00

Hospital Renamed

Charter was amended incorporating the hospital as a non-profit memorial to war veterans, thus renamed “The Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital.”

1954-05-01 00:00:00

35-Bed Addition to Hospital

35 bed addition to the 1921 hospital is made at a cost of $250,000. Dedication led by National Legion Commander Louis Gough.

1964-09-01 00:00:00

Second Addition Constructed

The second addition to the hospital was constructed making it a 79 bed facility at a cost of $350,000. This addition was a memorial to the John Obadal family.

1971-04-01 00:00:00

Hospital Celebrates 50th

Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital celebrates 50th anniversary since the building of the original 1921 hospital building.

1971-05-01 00:00:00

Chapel Added to Hospital

A chapel and family room was added to the hospital at a cost of $8,000.

1981-09-01 00:00:00

Respiratory Therapy Recognized

The Respiratory Therapy Department of the Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital received an award for its outstanding performance in respiratory therapy.

1986-09-01 00:00:00

Kepka Opens Practice

Dr. Dennis Kepka announced his intention to open a private medical practice office in Ellsworth and to use an office located on the second floor of the ECVM Hospital.

1990-09-01 00:00:00

Sick Child Care Program Begins

The Sick Child Day Care Program is launched by the Association of American University Women and Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital.

1991-07-15 00:00:00

Baecht Resigns

Hospital Administrator, Larry Baecht resigns with unpaid bills totaling $250,000 to $300,000.

1991-07-16 00:00:00

Johnson Tapped as Interim Administrator

Robert (Bob) Johnson becomes interim Administrator.

1991-08-01 00:00:00

Porter Named Administrator

In August of 1991, Dennis Porter was hired as the Administrator.

1992-11-05 00:00:00

County Purchases Hospital

Voters approved bond issue $1.6 million property tax for 10 years and thereby purchase Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital. The bond issue allows county commissioners to build a new hospital or acquire the existing building.

1993-01-01 00:00:00

Hospital Renamed

Ellsworth County Veterans Memorial Hospital became Ellsworth County Hospital.

1994-04-01 00:00:00

EMS Administration Reviewed

The possibility of EMS coming under hospital administration is being considered.

1994-04-01 00:00:00

New Facility Needed

Continued problems point to the need for a new hospital facility.

1994-04-01 00:00:00

Bed Capacity Reduced

The hospital bed capacity is reduced to 19 in order to align need with space.

1994-06-01 00:00:00

Snake Bites in Ellsworth County

Several diamond back rattlesnakes are spotted in Ellsworth County with one woman receiving two bites. A new protocol was implemented for individuals that arrived bitten.

1995-04-01 00:00:00

Ellsworth Welcomes Dr. Jabre

Dr. Frady Jabre joins the Kepka Family Practice.

1995-04-01 00:00:00

Slomka Joins Kepka Family Practice

Dr. Jerzy Slomka begins working at the Kepka Family Practice.

1995-04-01 00:00:00

Boiler Quits

The 41 year old steam boiler quits working costing $35,000 in expenses.

1995-09-01 00:00:00

Large Donation Received

An anonymous donor gives hospital $100,000.

1996-04-01 00:00:00

Hospital Bond Passes

Hospital bond issue for 3.2 million dollars to erect a new hospital, is passed by voters of Ellsworth County. nter story info here

1997-04-01 00:00:00

Plans Approved

Board approves final plans and specifications for the new health care facility. New clinic in Wilson will be ready in August of 1997.

120th Anniversary of Ellsworth Hospital

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