Struggle to Serve

Struggle to Serve: A History of the Moncton Hospital, 1895 to 1953

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  • Book Info
    Struggle to Serve
    Book Description:

    Godfrey focuses on one hospital and the communities it served but also provides an overview of local, provincial, and federal hospital policies, revising the sometimes rose-tinted picture of public and private acceptance and generosity. He explores the relationship between the hospital's urban and rural constituencies and its French- and English-speaking patients, demonstrating that increasing patient numbers and changing funding sources encouraged substantial growth in hospital services from 1895 to 1953. He details how one community's understanding of the role of the hospital changed over time to match that of hospital advocates, board members, and support groups such as the Ladies' Aid, demonstrating that hospital history is as much a study of politics and community persuasion as it is of internal therapeutic advances.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7085-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    The Harvard University medical school certificate of one of the Moncton Hospital’s first staff physicians, Dr James D. Ross, included among its signatories Oliver Wendell Holmes. The same Oliver Wendell Holmes once warned: “To write of ‘Medicine in Boston’ is not unlike writing of the tides in Boston Harbor. Boston is a fraction of the civilized world, as its harbor is part of the ocean.”¹ The historian who quoted this daunting description demonstrated successfully that a study of Boston and its hospitals could provide an excellent window for comprehending the emergence of the modern hospital. But can examining a small...

  6. 1 “Into the Hands of the Ladies”
    (pp. 12-30)

    In 1984, a “Historiographic Lament” suggested that many hospital histories “imply that the direction of hospital development was both relentlessly progressive and ultimately inevitable.”¹ Since then, however, a number of significant studies have appeared that eschew such assumptions,² and socio-medical history in general has become increasingly sophisticated, providing new insights into the professions, institutions, individuals, and societal responses and pressures at work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.³ Yet in many cases the founding moments of hospitals are still presented casually as the result of a certain inevitable progressiveness. The movement leading to the creation of the Moncton...

  7. 2 From the Almshouse to Respectability
    (pp. 31-61)

    In September 1909 George Willett, as mayor of Moncton, presided over the first graduation ceremonies of the Moncton Hospital’s nursing school. Quite validly he could speak of “the small beginning made, the steady advancement and growth of the hospital and the excellent results achieved.”¹ In its first decade the Moncton Hospital moved successfully out of the shadow of the almshouse and attracted the broader clientele that was crucial to its acceptance and growth. Its “eminent success” and respectability were marked by removal to a new site, increases in municipal government support, the opening of a training school for nurses, an...

  8. 3 Continuity with Significant Discontinuities
    (pp. 62-92)

    If we apply one of the standard measurements of a hospital, the number of beds within the institution, there was little change at the Moncton Hospital from 1910 to 1920: it began the decade with fifty beds and ended it with the same number. Yet the number of patients admitted more than doubled, and many significant changes occurred throughout the hospital; the appearance of continuity was far overshadowed by the reality of tranquil and not so tranquil discontinuity. Perhaps it was a bit of an exaggeration for a newspaper headline to proclaim in May 1919 that “The Hospital Is The...

  9. 4 At the Crossroads
    (pp. 93-134)

    In January 1941, Moncton Hospital superintendent Alena J. MacMaster informed her board that hospitals were “at a cross-roads never before reached in history” as an “entirely new philosophy of hospital financing” had come of age. It now seemed widely accepted that “private and voluntary philanthropy as a source of revenue” would be supplanted by “government or alternative forms of support.”¹ In reality, at her own institution this shift of responsibility was not a sudden epiphany but had been underway, as MacMaster was well aware, throughout the interwar years, and the transformation of public attitude and policy was far from complete....

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. 135-146)
  11. 5 An End and a Beginning
    (pp. 147-178)

    In the summer of 1953, the MonctonTranscriptpraised the completion of “A Great Building Achievement” as a new 225-bed, $3-million Moncton Hospital was about to be opened. The “people of Moncton and Westmorland County,” the editorial proudly announced, were to be blessed with “a new, modern hospital adequately equipped for the care of the ill and the injured in the whole southeastern section of New Brunswick.” The “dream” was realized, the seemingly “endless planning” had been successfully executed, and the “crowded and difficult conditions” of the past were no more, while provision had been made for any necessary future...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 179-186)

    The journey of the Moncton Hospital from its cramped and inauspicious almshouse birthplace to its spacious MacBeath Avenue site, from a largely privately funded hospital to an increasingly governmentally funded institution, had been smooth at times but rocky on many more occasions. Setbacks, delays, and detours, however, were overcome by committed individuals along with public usage and appreciation of what a modern hospital offered to the community, which in turn brought, sometimes slowly, the necessary government support. The major goal of meeting construction and equipment costs of hospitals with government funds, primarily municipal and county but provincial and federal as...

  13. Appendices
    (pp. 187-190)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 191-220)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 221-234)
  16. Index
    (pp. 235-242)