MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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Medical Care - Spring Coulee, Alberta

"Pinepound Reflections"
a History of Spring Coulee - page 62

HEALTH CARE

Early Spring Coulee settlers depended on their neighbours for help and medical assistance during illness and childbirth. Women skilled in nursing care and midwifery were called upon in times of need.

Early residents such as Mrs. Herman Johnson Sr. Mrs. Chapman. Mrs. Lundridge and Mrs. Rice, only to name a few, helped out in emergencies.

Tom Beswick in his biography recounts that he was born in 1911, at home, with Mrs. Lundridge in attendance as was common practice in early settlements. In the 1920's and 30's nursing or maternity homes were operated in Magrath and Cardston and women from Spring Coulee began to have their children in these facilities.

Illnesses and childbirth requiring more extensive care were treated at the early Galt and Harlan Women's Hospitals in Lethbridge. Later when medical and hospital facilities became available in Cardston and Magrath, Spring Coulee residents began to seek medical attention closer in proximity to their community. Spring Coulee in the earlier years was considered part of the Cardston Hospital District but in 1951 the Magrath Hospital Board convinced the Cardston Board and the Provincial Government that it should be part of the the Magrath Municipal Hospital Dictrict. Ralph Thompson was one of the board members in 1942 when the Magrath Hospital became known as a Municipal Hospital. Tom Beswick was the board member for Spring Coulee when the new Magrath Municipal Hospital was opened in June 1961 and served on the board for many years. David Hofer and Ellen Stanford also served terms on the board.

Doctors in the area during the Depression were in financial difficulties due to the fact that many patients could not pay for medical service. The idea of health insurance was discussed in the Cardston District and in 1931 a Medical Contract Committee was set up. In 1932, Drs. Malloy and Broyton began to sign contract in the district for medical services. The cost to each family for a year was $25.00 and Spring Coulee residents began to take advantage of this service. Later, doctors in Magrath also began to sign contracts. In the 1940's a contract for prenatal care and delivery was $35.00. In the early years doctors made house calls. Some of these doctors included from Cardston: Drs. Stackpoole, Roy, Malloy, Dobry, and from Magrath; Drs. Fowler, Ayre, Schreiber, Magid and McPherson.

Immunization for diptheria, smallpox and whooping cough was started in the Spring Coulee School around 1938. Many adults recall standing in line for innoculations or vaccinations, questioning the necessity of being lined up and watching their classmates receive the dreaded needle. Fainting was common among students.

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Mary Tollestrup