Organization and Growth of St. Mary’s
There was a growth in the number of indigent patients coming to the hospital with nothing approaching the modern concept of governmental or societal responsibility to provide adequate medical care at public expense. Coupled with that was the gradual withdrawal of the southern Pacific patients to the Southern Pacific hospital on Congress Street. The move hurt the cash flow of the hospital even though it could provide more room for patient care the remodeling of the vacated wards was carried out at best as was possible. Far better functional space was found, moreover.
More mothers were looking to a hospital confinement for delivery that had been the case in the past.
Facility Maintenance Personnel
Non-medical staff were hired to take over those duties with nurse supervision when necessary. For the more physically demanding janitorial and maintenance jobs, more male personnel was another requirement.
There is an added problem with additional equipment supplied to hospitals because equipment breaks down, power failure, plumbing and backups.
In order to solve this, on call maintenance personnel were needed 24-hours a day. In 1935, the hospital commissioned a technical study the fuel needs at the hospital. By 1934, the hospital was making annual purchases of 62,000 gallons of fuel oil, 24 tons of coal, and thousands of gallons of gasoline. This environmental study recommended total conversion to natural gas — a recommendation the hospital accepted, although it was four years before the transformation was complete.
It is easy to assume that what we take for granted today in the matter of basic utilities and services was also available then. Water lines, gas lines, electric power, and sewer systems are related closely to political boundaries.
The hospital was faced with a sewage problem. Ever since its founding, the hospital had dependent on its land area to provide ample room for septic tanks. The expansion over five decades had finally exhausted any further reliance on the system. In 1938, sewer line were finally extended to the hospital without any complications.
In order to be credited by the American Medical Association the hospital had to create a medical library facility and an acceptable autopsy procedures program. So a library building was erected at about the site of the present central tower, and it was in operation by 1933.
Transportation and communication were a world away. Resources were not available either financially or technically allow research and experimentation.
Other hospitals in the area during this time- Southern Methodist, the Southern Pacific hospital.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression played havoc with the newer institutions, and before the decade was out, Southern Methodist closed its doors, while most of Southern Pacific surgery cases were sent to California. By 1939, for all practical purposes, St. Mary’s was the only General Hospital functioning in the area.
In the area of maintenance and repair, improvisation became the order of the day as the needs of the nation at war took priority in the acquisition and utilization of material. The explosion and population and changes were sudden, confusing and overwhelming, problematic for those who have the obligation to care for the medical needs of the new arrivals.
By 1946 it was painfully evident that the cycle of remodeling and expansion had to begin a new. Plans and projects had to await the availability of materials, the switch of construction companies from a war economy to a civilian economy, and returned to whatever normalcy might ensue.
Before the hospital could be enlarged, a great need for hospital beds led to the shortening of the patient stay in the hospital. These were cut to the minimum until hospital care for almost twice as many patients as before. More beds, however, were still needed, and plans were made for construction of a new central building. Adequate space had to be provided for surgery where 3825 operations were performed during the year and overtaxed facilities.
A place would also have to be provided as a center for the storage and distribution of radioactive medications. New areas had to be planned for the physical therapy department, for an enlarged pharmacy, for office and business space, for new dietary department, and for a staff meeting room.
Construction of the new nine story building was begun in 1948 and completed in 1949 you one essential wing did furnish the much-needed room for expansion. St. Mary’s of 1947 contained 120 beds with the new wing and conversion of areas in the old wings, enough beds were added to bring the number to 375. Medical library which was utilized by medical staff, interns and residents, and student nurses was also expanded. In the operating rooms on the sixth floor where oxygen and other gases were constantly in use, a new static proof floor protected against the possibility of an electric spark.
There was a special cysto surgery area with its own x-ray machines, and portable x-ray equipment could be brought into the orthopedic surgery room to check on the alignment of bones in the placement of internal pins and devices. Tissue samples can be sent to the seventh floor laboratory and a report could be back in five minutes. Blood to offset the effects of surgical shock was also readily available.
The extremely rough road to sign since World War II had created a serious situation with regard to hospital facilities. In 1947, Tucson had a population of 88,700 in total of 500 XT for hospital beds. 10 years later in 1957, the population was 210,000 with an increase of only 190 beds.
St. Mary’s proposed to build an entirely separate hospital of the 150 bed site on the west side of Tucson, Arizona which would be the start of the ultimate 450 bed facility. As time passed the advisability of establishing an east side branch of St. Mary’s as a separate and distinct hospital became clear. The new St. Joseph Tuscon Hospital was dedicated on May 1, 1961 bringing much-needed hospital facilities to the east side of Tucson.
In the meantime, St. Mary’s had to carry on trying to make the healthcare demands on the west side of Tucson. St. Mary’s Central wing given the hospital one of the most modern service units in the Southwest but was a little help in so far as additional hospital beds were concerned.
Moving into the 1960s, St. Mary’s expanded its internal residency program budget had sponsored alone from 1939 and together with the county hospital since 1950. The county hospital, with its hundred and 60 teaching beds for patients, and St. Mary’s medical teaching staff provided the essentials for supervised training experience. Additional teaching beds for St. Mary’s and the appointment of Dr. Eric Ramsey for the new position of director of medical education 1960 expanded the hospital’s teaching clinical activities. Tucson Medical Center had its own program, but under a new arrangement, medical lectures were shared with St. Mary’s and county hospital.
The Nursing School Closes
The school of nursing would close with the graduation of its last class in 1966. For years, the sanatorium then the “home” to its patients as the school of nursing home student nurses. Sanatorium was to be the first of the old hospital buildings to come down, making way for new facilities. In 1900, 48 rooms were filled until 1951 improve medication for tuberculosis eliminated the need for long-term stays.
The school of nursing, served the community for well over 50 years, graduating about 900 students, many of whom held under still holding high positions in the field of nursing.
The most significant changes faced by the hospital was the passage of Medicare making 66 Medicare funds were made available to patients over 65 or for disabled persons who otherwise would not be able to afford medical care. As the hospital prepared for an influx of Medicare patients, consultant decided to send procedures in all departments with a view toward the acquisition of the user.
The first weekend of Medicare went smoothly the St. Mary’s reporting 44 eligible because I Medicare. The second week were 84, before long 24% of the beds were occupied. By Medicare patients. With the inception of Medicare, the business office had to change its procedures and billing Medicare patients, as reimbursement rates were different from those of other insurances. But Medicare also came the need for additional beds and employees and an increase in medical costs.
A new emphasis on rehabilitation therapy brought in the patients. Recognition of the value of physical rehabilitation General Hospital grew slowly.
The North Wing
St. Mary’s fourth story weighing, known as the North wing, became a reality in 1971. Preceding its completion were five years of planning and efforts by sister Mary and the dedicated board chair successfully by our pack. To list interest in support of the community leaders of Tucson, a special committee was formed named the second century committee, in honor of the hundred years of service given to the people of Tucson by the sisters of St. Joseph who arrived in the old Pueblo 1870.
On September 29, 1969, when ground was broken for the new North Wayne, was the culmination of the struggle and the confirmation of a bully of sister and Mary’s board and administration that, and the collected underdeveloped Westside barrio, St. Mary’s had a future. Few businesses had been established west of the freeway, neighborhood improvements were lacking and lending companies politely refuse sister married their help and money. It was only the supportive response of the Knights of Columbus to St. Mary’s appeal for a loan that enabled the project to be financially undertaken.
There is no human answer to suffering. It is only in going beyond the human to the realms of a that meaning can be found. Recognition of this fact enables doctors, nurses and other health workers to appreciate contribution of the pastoral visitors to total patient care.
In 1965, the emergency room was comprised of five structures and three wooden tables a total of four rooms. Entrance from the outside was through a set of double doors which led from a loading dock with ramps on either end ambulance back then so that the stretch with patients can be carried out onto the deck. As recently as the 1960s, the ambulance companies were run by mortuaries. Besides the trauma room and a larger orthopedic world there were two examining rooms, 8 x 10’, each containing a bed, sink, chair and wood and covered. The small room became crowded in an emergency situation which called for an intern, a resident and two nurses.
The recovery room gave Oscar low and different relation capabilities to the emergency department. New emergency facilities, opened in the North Wayne in 1971, included three large surgical suites, each able to accommodate five patients. We’ll structures, with removable beds, allow the patient to be transported to the nursing floors without having to transfer sperm structure to hospital but.
In 1971 a mental health services unit was opened. The main thrust of the treatment was to help drug abusers to withdraw from harmful drugs and to enable the emotionally ill to cope with stress. Patients could be admitted through the emergency room or by physician referral or from the service or health agency.
Century Medical Plaza
The Century Medical Plaza was St. Mary’s first outpatient services, physician’s building that would attract more physicians. Mary’s was becoming more than General Hospital, and, reflecting its expanding role was a new name: St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Center.
Long-range plan completed in 1975, indicated further need for renovation and expansion. Plans for a new West Wing were presented and after a year to pick it up need was obtained from the Arizona State Department of health services. Is this still required to mark in keeping with the plans, new power plant had to be completed and existing buildings had to be serviced before construction of the new wing could begin.
St. Mary’s, the oldest hospital in Tucson, is now the newest in its overall aspect of added space, new facilities and new equipment housed in a splendid new way which comprises the majority of patient care facilities. Including 254 patient beds in the new way and those of the North Wayne patient areas, St. Mary’s now accommodates a total of 374 patient beds.
The obstinate tracks Ward. Hospitals had seen the decline in obstetric patients since the 60s as doctors who delivered babies and moved to the east side of the patients were sent to Tucson Medical Center.
With the exodus of doctors and patients the hospital had to operate its obstetrics ward on a standby basis with an annual average of 72 babies in the last four years of its operation. This number was far below the federal guidelines calling for a minimum of 1500 deliveries a year. Sadly, on October 1, 1978 St. Mary’s closed its obstetric ward.
As of 1971 the hospital provided ongoing educational programs to doctors and nurses.
Laminar Air-flow system. During surgery the possibility of wound infection is extremely serious and the laminar airflow system is the most advanced in providing an ultraclean area.
The need to cut down hospital costs has driven the expansion of outpatient or ambulatory surgery units. This allows for admission surgery discharge the patient on the same day basis