Mackay gets a Hospital (1908)

1908 was a year of much activity in the Lost River Valley and in the Mackay area in particular, with the mines in operation, dam construction, and new land being broken out. Mackay hd its share of doctors in residence to care for the sick and injured that came with the increasing number of residents, and the miners and construction workers who were busy developing the area.

Two such prominent doctors saw the need for a sanitary and complete facility to care for the seriously sick and injured here in Mackay, the center of the area's development. The hospital was the vision of Dr. Francis Poole and Dr. Charles F. Baker, who also owned the City Drug Store. In June 1908 the store room at the rear of Dr. Baker's drug store and an adjacent building were remodeled into a six bed ward, a complete operating room, a bathroom and kitchen. The new complex, called the Lost River Hospital, was in business almost immediately with every problem from a fractured thigh (resulting from a horse kick), a breast operation on a woman from Challis, to a man complaining of stomach cramps and a unsuitable appetite. The two doctors removed a 30 foot long tape worm, one of the largest the doctors had ever seen, after which, not surprisingly, the patient felt greatly relieved. The new hospital has a full time nurse and saw patients from the many mining camp communities throughout the region as well as the village of Mackay.

Later, in 1912, another more elaborate hospital would be built and was called the Mackay hospital. It was served again by Dr. Baker, and by a Dr. F P Richards who took over for Dr Poole who moved on to head the state mental hospital at Blackfoot. Few small towns anywhere could boast of such a fine and truly scientific institution. It featured seven rooms, including two private rooms, a six bed ward, operating room, nurses quaters and the very best of furniture and fixtures. It would serve the residents of the Lost River Valley for many years.


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