Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 14
The Practice of Medicine in Greene County

by Drs. William M. and Wilbur Smith

Part 2

In the matter of hospitals the city of Springfield stands well to the fore; in fact, it would be hard to find a city of her size in the Middle West so well equipped in this respect. During the past few years much attention has been given to them, no pains being spared to bring them up to the twentieth century standard of efficiency. There are five in number, not counting several sanitariums conducted by individuals, the best known of which is the Johnson Sanitarium, at 807 North Jefferson street, a detailed account of which will be found in the biographical department of this work. The various hospitals are Springfield Hospital, Burge Deaconess Hospital, Southwest Hospital, St. John's Hospital, and the Frisco Employees Hospital. [500]


The Springfield Hospital Association and Training School for Nurses was organized January 6, 1904. The hospital is located at 448-450 Market street, in a quiet, resident district within three blocks of the public square and the Frisco and Missouri Pacific Railroad depots. It was organized in 1904, incorporated in 1905 and re-incorporated in 1913. It was opened for the reception of patients January 1, 1905. The growth of the hospital was so rapid that a new addition was soon added to take care of the business. In 1908 a second addition was necessary to take care of the increasing patronage. So popular was the institution that in 1912 the board of directors found it had outgrown its former capacity. The capitalization was increased from fifteen thousand to sixty-five thousand dollars. The annex was begun in 1912 and completed in, July, 1913, and formally accepted by board of directors August 4, 1913. The new addition to the hospital built entirely, of reinforced concrete and brick, is fireproof throughout,

with every modern convenience; many of the rooms have private baths, electric fans, local and long distance telephones. Everything known to hygiene and comfort has been furnished. The institution can now accommodate comfortably about eighty patients and a corps of twenty-five nurses. The total cost of the addition to the hospital, including equipment, was about fifty thousand dollars. The first building was renovated, repaired and painted from top to bottom, and brought up to the most modern and sanitary standard.

The hospital, as completed, has three operating rooms. The first one is located on the second floor of the first building and is used for septic cases only. The second is located on the third floor of the same building, while the third is located on the fourth floor of the new building. These operating rooms are of the latest design, most modern and up-to-date. A number of rooms have been elegantly furnished by individuals and benevolent institutions. Several of the rooms, in addition to the most sanitary furnishings, have private bath, toilet, electric fans, telephones; so the patient while waiting for the healing of broken bones, or recovering from serious illness, may converse daily with his family and keep in touch with his business many miles away. The signal light system is used throughout the building instead of the old bell system. On each floor of the new building solorium or sun parlor, where convalescents may enjoy the sunshine and society of friends. The basement is divided into store rooms for housekeepers' supplies, dry groceries, drugs and furniture, retiring rooms for women domestics, pharmacy, liquor rooms, and a large store-room for vegetables, etc. The lighting in the wards and private rooms is by incandescent shaded lights. The nurses' signal lights show over the doors of the patients rooms and in the nurses' and chart rooms. All corridors and rooms are lighted with electricity. The heating plant is modern in every particular. The city council of Springfield has arranged for the care of a limited number of sick poor, depending upon it for aid. These cases are cared for at the actual cost of board and nursing. The hospital has installed a modern, high power X-Ray equipment and is prepared to make all kinds of examinations and skyagraphs, including stomach and intestinal work. Patients at the hospital will have the advantage of the most modern methods of diagnosis and treatment. The hospital has equipped a laboratory for the convenience of its patrons, and has elected a competent pathologist to take care of the same. Examinations of blood, urine, spitum, pus, stomach contents, spinal fluid, tissues, Wasserman test, etc., will be promptly and carefully made. In case a physician wishes any such work done for a patient in the hospital he is required merely to leave an order with the superintendent for the same, who informs the pathologist, who makes his examination and attaches his report to the patient's chart, the fee for such services being collected by the hospital. The plan of procedure relieves the attending physician of all trouble and responsibility. Physicians out of town may await themselves of the laboratory. Specimens sent in by mail are promptly looked after. Many patients are from nearby towns, especially those requiring surgical attention.

The Springfield Hospital School for Nurses was established January, 1905. The course was then two years in length. The first class was graduated in May, 1907. Since that time a large number of young ladies have received diplomas from the school entitling them to practice as graduate nurses. With the completion of the new addition to the hospital the opportunities for nurses in training have increased, and the course has been lengthened to two and one-half years instead of the former twenty months, also the school has necessarily been increased in number, until now it consists of over a score of accepted nurses. A revised and complete course of lectures have been provided to harmonize with the requirements of the State Nurses' Association, thus enabling the applicant to go before the board with every assurance of receiving a certificate. A committee appointed two years ago to procure a complete library of books and in magazines for the nurses while in training.

The board of directors and officers of the Springfield Hospital at this writing (1915) are: Dr. R. L. Pipkin, president; Dr. C. E. Fulton, vice-president; J. F. Peltz, secretary and treasurer; Dr. J. R. Boyd, Dr. T. A. Coffelt, Dr. Lee Cox and Dr. Wilbur Smith; Miss I. Hintze, superintendent. The medical staff includes Dr. A. L. Anderson, Dr. G. W. Barnes, Dr. J. R. Boyd, Dr. Lee Cox, Dr. H. S. Hill, Dr. G. B. Lemmon, Dr. R. L. Pipkin; Dr. Fred Brown, Billings, Missouri; Doctor Sumner, Strafford, Missouri; Dr. Onas Smith, Ash Grove, Missouri; Dr. W. S. Hopkins, Dr. Wallace Smith, Dr. S. F. Freeman, Dr. W. L. Purselley and others. The surgical staff includes Dr. C. E. Fulton, Dr. Wilbur Smith, Dr. E. C. Roseberry, Dr. C. W. Russell, Dr. J. E. Dewey and others. Consulting surgeons, Dr. L. C. Chenoweth, Webb City, Missouri, Dr. Ferrie Smith, Little Rock, Arkansas. Specialists, Dr. T. A. Coffelt, eye, ear, nose, throat; Dr. D. B. Farnsworth, eye, ear, nose, throat; Dr. H. Boatner, dentist. Anaesthetists, Dr. R. L. Pipkin and Dr. Lee Cox. [502]


With the rapid growth of the city of Springfield during the first decade there was of necessity a demand for hospital accommodations. While there were three hospitals in the city, ten years ago, they were not large enough to meet the growing demand. Dr. J. C. Matthews and Rev. J. W. Stewart, seeing the possibilities of a Protestant hospital, began talking and planning how such an institution might be started in our Queen City of the Ozarks. Doctor Matthews was the first to present the matter to Mrs. Ellen A. Burge. Mrs. Burge became interested at once and offered the property at 1325 North Jefferson street to the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal church for a deaconess hospital. This property was accepted.




'The partition in the new double house was removed, leaving the building very well adapted to hospital use. Through a heavy rain, many friends came to the opening of the new hospital on Thanksgiving day, 1906. A nurse was secured until the Woman's Home Missionary Society could arrange to send deaconesses to take charge. Two nurse deaconesses arrived January 22, 1907. The work opened up more rapidly than had been expected. Soon that the quarters would have to be increased. In August of that year Mrs. Burge purchased the lot just south of us, with a view to erecting in the future a large, up-to-date brick building. On October 21, 1907, ground was broken for the new building, Mrs. Burge turning the first shovel-full of soil. The work progressed rapidly, and on November 26, 1907, the Masonic fraternity laid the cornerstone. On March 10, 1908, Bishop Warren dedicated the building. The first patient was admitted to the new building on Easter Sunday of that year. On July 10th following, Bishop McDowell formally opened the building to the public. The value of the property is now sixty thousand dollars. Over three hundred patients are cared for annually, a large number of whom are from nearby towns. Over one-half of the cases are surgical. The hospital is supposed to be self-supporting, but so many charity patients are taken, it being the policy of the management to turn no one away needing succor, that were it not for contributions by friends of the institution it would be run at a loss. But it has been doing such splendid work, fulfilling a long-felt want and taking such pains with its patients that its prestige and reputation are growing and future prospects are flattering. Any physician in good standing may bring his patients to this hospital. [504]

No better equipped, more sanitary, better managed hospital its size could be found in the West than Burge Deaconess. Improvements are added from time to time. It has an up-to-date, operating room equipped with modern appliances of all kinds, high pressure sterilizers have recently been used; there are two wards, male and female, engine and laundry rooms were recently added. There are thirty beds, some of the rooms being furnished by individuals; everything for the patient's comfort and welfare provided.

In connection with this hospital is the Burge Deaconess Training for Nurses, and there is an average of twelve nurses in training, the covering three years. A thorough course of lectures by physicians is given. Classes in nursing are held each week except during July and August, lectures beginning in October, and continuing through the winter and spring. A badge of honor is given all those who successfully and honorably finish the course. A graduate from this school is well equipped for her vocation anywhere.

The original hospital building is now the nurses home. The new building is three stories and a basement. It is a substantial and attractive brick structure, attractive and located in a quiet residential section of the city.

The general officers of this hospital in 1915 are Mrs. Clinton B. Fisk, president emeritus; Mrs. Wilbur P. Thirkield, of New Orleans, Louisiana, is president; Mrs. Mary Woodruff, corresponding secretary; Mrs. D. D. Thompson, recording secretary; Mrs. H. C. Jennings, treasurer; Mrs. D. B. Street, general superintendent of deaconess' work; Miss Emma H. Bechtel, superintendent. The following comprise the executive board: Mrs. Ellen A. Burge, Rev. Dr. Stephen B. Campbell and Rev. Dr. W. D. Sidman. Lectures are given in the training school as follows: Nursing, Miss Emma H. Bechtel; physiology, Dr. Edwin James; bacteriology, Dr. Murray C. Stone; anatomy, Dr. Edwin James; obstetrics, Dr. Joseph D. James; hygiene, and dietetics, Dr. J. W. Williams; gynecology, Dr. C. E. Fulton; surgical dressing, Dr. C. W. Russell; contagious diseases, Dr. W. M. Smith; pathology and urinalysis, Dr. W. A. Delzell; dentistry, Dr. R. E. Darby; materia medica, Dr. J. C. Matthews; eye, car, nose and throat, Dr. Thomas O. Klingner. [504]


The newest and one of the best hospitals in Springfield and the Ozark region, while not so extensive as some, is the Southwest Hospital, at 1010-14 Cherry street, which has gained rapidly in prestige and importance since its establishment a year ago. Its growth has been beyond the expectations of founders. This has been due, no doubt, to the high-class work it has done from the first. It is not a private institution, as some at first was led to believe, but was intended as a general hospital for the public, any physician of this or any other city, in good standing among his professional brethren, being invited to bring his patients to this hospital. A large number of its patients have been from the smaller cities and towns of southwestern Missouri.




The Southwest Hospital is the result of the labors of Dr. H. A. Lowe and Dr. D. U. Sherman, who invested sufficient capital to start the enterprise in 1913, work was pushed and the building opened for the reception of patients on May 9, 1914. The building is a substantial, attractive and modernly appointed structure of tile and stucco, three stories, designed along the most approved lines for the purposes intended. Twenty-five patients or more may be accommodated. The operating room, on the third floor, is second to none in the country, being equipped with all up-to-date appliances, insuring prompt, sanitary, safe and high-grade work. There is an adequate medical dispensary. Five regular nurses are constantly in attendance, besides a number of special nurses attending individual patients. This is the only institution of its kind in the eastern part of the city, and it is in a quiet, attractive part of Springfield, the surroundings being attractive and the air free from dust and smoke, with no noises of manufacturing district, or railroad yards. Nearly all kinds of diseases are treated; however, the management uses discretion in admitting cases that would jeopardize the welfare of other patients.

The officers and board of directors of the Southwest Hospital are: Dr. H. A. Lowe, president; Dr. T. O. Klingner, vice-president; Dr. D. U. Sherman, secretary and treasurer; Dr. M. C. Stone and Dr. C. H. McHaffie. Following are members of the hospital staff: Dr. H. A. Lowe, surgeon Dr. D. U. Sherman, Dr. C.H. McHaffie, Dr. G. B. Dorrell, Dr. E. F. James, Dr. Charles Orr, all internal medical; and Dr. T. O. Klingner, eye, ear, nose and throat; Dr. M. C. Stone, pathologist. Consultants, Dr. W. A. Camp, eye, ear, nose and throat; and Dr. W. M. Patterson, internal, medicine. Miss Dora Stacy, superintendent; Miss Stella DuVall, surgical nurse.


For a number of years St. John's was the only institution of its kind in Springfield. For a period of nearly a quarter of a century it has been doing excellent work. The idea originated with the leading physicians and the charitably disposed persons of this city. A building lot was purchased at the corner of Washington avenue and Chestnut street, and this institution was founded the latter part of October, 1891. The Sisters of Mercy from St. Louis were invited to take charge of it, whereupon three Sisters of that order came and a beginning was made. They were Sister Mary Alacoque, Sister M. Xavier (recently deceasede), and Sister Mary Stanaslaus. These were aided by two more sisters coming the following month. The building prior to this time had been a private home. The property was put into the hands of the sisters with considerable indebtedness, but it began to receive patients from the first and from year to year, ever since, large numbers having entered its portals, many of whom have been charity patients. The hospital was from the first a public benefactor and it has continued in a flourishing condition. In the spring of 1893 a three-story addition was made to the main building, forty by thirty feet, which added considerably to its appearance as well as to its facilities. This establishment was one much needed in the city, and under the skillful care of the sisters it has forged ahead, and it is hoped and expected that it will continue to grow and flourish, and prove a boon to mankind for generations to come. [506]

In 1905 the corner-stone for the present commodious and modernly-appointed hospital was laid by Governor Joseph Folk, during elaborate ceremonies. On Washington's birthday, the following year, the new hospital formally opened. The new building is at Nichols and North Grant streets, surrounded by spacious and beautifully-kept grounds, in a quiet and residential section of the city. This substantial and well-arranged building is thoroughly modern in every respect, equipped with the most approved appliances and apparatus, insuring high-grade service in every department. Over fifty patients can be accommodated at one time. There are cozy private rooms and three wards, a large, well-lighted, convenient and well-furnished operating room, a spacious automatic elevator, storage rooms, dispensary, etc.

At this writing there are fourteen Sisters of Mercy and sixteen nurses St. John's. In connection with the hospital is a well-conducted training school for nurses, where thorough work is done and from three to seven nurses are graduated from this department annually, who are well prepared for life's subsequent duties in this field of endeavor.

When the present hospital was opened there were about one hundred twenty- five patients being cared for annually. The number has gradually increased until there are now five hundred a year. The hospital is patronized by local people as well as large numbers from the territory adjacent to Springfield.


For a number of years the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company sent its employees and wreck-victims, when necessary, to St. John's Hospital. It became imperative that the company maintain a hospital of its own, so a movement was started which resulted in the present extensive and up-to-date hospital, which was opened August 3, 1899. Spacious grounds, embracing two blocks square, between Broad street and Missouri avenue and from West Atlantic to Florida street, was purchased, this excellent site being near to the north side shops, about half way between the old and the new shops. The grounds are covered with a beautiful forest of oaks and other hard wood trees, which have been made more attractive by planting shrubbery and hedge. A large, attractive, modern and well-arranged brick building was erected, three stories and a basement, with a stable nearby, where an ambulance and three horses are kept, always ready for instant call. It became necessary to add the west wing a few years ago, this addition making a most convenient building in every respect. At that time the building was re-arranged throughout. There is a medical ward, a surgical-ward and a convalescent ward, with a typhoid ward adjacent to the medical ward, besides a number of private rooms. There is a well-stocked dispensary. The equipment includes a high power X-Ray machine, and other modern equipment found in the best hospitals. Three men nurses are on duty at night and four during the day. There is also one woman nurse, besides one sister to each ward. [507]

An average of about one thousand patients are treated in this hospital annually. None but employees of the Frisco are admitted, and they must be injured while in active service. If an employee is injured during a brawl or for some unnecessary reason, due to his indiscretion he is not entitled to hospital benefits. Otherwise, if necessary, he may have the benefit of the hospital for one year, free of all cost to him. Nearly any case is admitted, it being necessary, however, to bar certain infectious ones, or to make provisions for such outside the regular hospital. Passengers and some trespassers injured in wrecks or by trains are also taken care of in this hospital.

The management of the hospital has been under the direction of Frisco officials, although it is maintained solely by the employees. Each employee is assessed fifty cents each month if his earnings are above fifty dollars per month, and if under that sum he is required to pay thirty-five cents each month. This embraces all the employees of the entire Frisco system. This was the general hospital for the system up to the year 1906, when a general hospital was established in St. Louis, maintained in a manner similar to the one in Springfield, only on a more extensive scale. Reports from the local hospital are made to the officials of the general hospital in St. Louis. Dr. G. W. Cale was the first chief surgeon at the local Frisco hospital. He went from here to St. Louis in 1906 to take charge of the general hospital, where he has since remained. Dr. R. G. Hogeboom, the present chief surgeon at the local hospital, has held this position since 1908. He is also superintendent and general overseer. Dr. A. W. Thomas is his assistant. They frequently call other physicians and surgeons in for consultation. There are several hundred Frisco doctors and surgeons all along the various lines of the system; that is, practitioners in the various towns along the road, who are commissioned by the company to look after wreck victims and the road's employees when hurt or sick. These meet every year for a three days' conference, usually at the employees' hospital in Springfield. [508]

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