Saturday, February 23, 2019
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The Doctors

Medical Staff, 1956 Medical Staff, 1956


Hanna's first doctor arrived with the C.N.R. crews as the company doctor. Dr. Jas. Grant came to Hanna in 1912, from his home in Bracebridge, Ontario. He remained here to establish a practice. He built the Alma Block on 2nd Avenue where he later owned the Alma Drug. His first office was situated in a tent. He left Hanna in 1916.

There were few reports of illness as there were no old people and few children, though some of the illnesses did have tragic consequences. Most emergencies were due to accidents or the sad event of isolated homesteaders having to be "Taken away".

The first accident in Hanna occurred during December, 1912 when W.C. Turner, grandfather of Carol Mathe, was seriously injured when he fell from a scaffold while building the new Post Office building. Dr. Grant was not available at the time, and Mr. O.C. Welch, of Castor, was in town, and established a record which held some time when he drove to Castor in two hours, to bring back Dr. Lyons. Though seriously injured, Mr. Turner eventually recovered.

Some tragic deaths in the area, though none in the town, were caused from appendicitis. Jessie Guthrie, 22, died from appendicitis. Gilbert Scott, 20, died after he was thought to be recovering from an attack of appendicitis. Harold Jones was taken to Castor by lumber wagon where he was kept for a time and treated for appendicitis and eventually returned home. He later went to Saskatoon in March, 1914, and spent several weeks in hospital where an appendectomy was performed. Castor had the nearest hospital, and when necessary, was used for hospitalization.

Edward Donald died at Dowling where he was accidentally shot while pulling a shot gun from a cutter after a hunting trip. He died before the arrival of a doctor.
A paragraph from an account of a homesteader going insane; Copied from The Hanna Herald, Vol. 1, No 24, June 5, 1913:

"This is one of the saddest cases of its kind ever brought to the attention of the citizens of this vicinity, but is only an example of many such cases that are taking place in Western Canada frequently among the pioneers of the prairie who have to suffer the hardships so common to a new country, namely; solitude, overwork and lack of proper personal attention in the way of nourishment. Many a lonely homesteader puts in his hard days toil and retires at night on a meal made by his own hands and scant, because after working in the fields he has not the initiative to go to the trouble to prepare a better one."

Another unfortunate case was reported later in the year. On November 27, 1913, M.S. McLeod had just been made J.P. and was called out of bed at mid-night for his first case. It concerned a man who had been brought in by the police. He was well known, and had been wandering in the community for some time, and had appeared to become increasingly incompetent. When brought in he was greatly distressed because he thought that the police who brought him in had fallen down a well and couldn't get out. As there was no relative to lay a charge of insanity, it was decided to charge the man with vagrancy and sentenced him to 60 days in the guard house in Calgary.

On May 26, an International Harvester Company collector was shot and killed by an insane homesteader.

On August 2nd, 1913, Dr. Sandercock, a dentist in Calgary, arranged for offices in the Duffy Block and planned to visit Hanna every two weeks. Dr. W.B. Honey, from Big Valley, decided to settle in Hanna and came here in July, and was appointed Coroner on August 27, 1913. Dr. G.H. Wade ranched south of Hanna but moved in to town when it was very young. He became one of the three doctors who served the community for many years.

Most of the injuries reported were caused by accidents with horses. Ted Brown was hurt by a runaway on the first sports day. Jack Parker was injured by a horse, while Ferg James had his shoulder broken when his horse fell. Mrs. A.B. German had an ankle broken during a runaway.

The first death was reported by the Hanna Herald of December 11, 1913. Gordon age 2 years, 1 month, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Stewart died suddenly after a head injury. He was buried on the farm of L.J. Stewart. Then about December 18, Mrs. Brumn died suddenly from quinzy. A bride of four months, her husband had her body returned to her home in Indiana.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald


Hanna Municipal Hospital