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Mantecans banded together to launch hospital

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POSTED January 6, 2018 1:13 a.m.

The late Bill Perry — a Manteca real estate broker — became the president of the South San Joaquin County Hospital Association in 1955 when there was a hue and cry from citizens for an emergency medical facility in town. 
Association members included attorney Walter Proper, Judge Priscilla Haynes, downtown variety store owner Roy Reedy, newspaper reporter Lena Kapka and real estate woman Tellie McCullough.
The association attempted to find a means to start a district hospital that would be funded through tax assessments. 
In 1958 a new group was formed called Central Valley Hospital Corporation.  Their purpose was to start a privately-owned hospital.  Committee members were Ralph and Rose Thole, president; Russell Carter Sr., M.D., Lloyd Henry, DDS, and Bill Perry making up the board of directors.  All are since deceased.
On Aug. 2, 1961 ground was broken for the 11,000-square foot hospital on Cottage Avenue at North Street at a cost of $335,000.
Then on Sunday, Feb. 26, 1962 an open house was held with 28 beds made up and ready for incoming patients.  Some 3,000-people attended the event and Mantecans were taken on tours throughout the hospital with its entrance facing Cottage Avenue.
In 1962 the hospital contained:
uTwo surgical units
uOne central supply unit
uA four-bed maternity unit
uA two-bed labor unit
uOne delivery room
uNursery
uThree four bed units
uFive two bed units
uOne 2 bed unit with reverse air for isolation and recovery room
uOne X-ray room with one X-ray machine
uOne small laboratory
uOne office
uOne dining area
uOne kitchen
uTwo lounges separated for doctors and for nurses
The Manteca area physicians on staff included Dr. Russell Carter Sr., Dr. Robert Winters, Dr. George Veldstra, Dr. Benjamin Taylor, Dr. Oscar Eisner, Dr. James Benn, Ripon and Dr. Gilbert den Dulk, also of Ripon.  All the doctors were general practitioners.
The first administrator was Herbert Rubinstien who left before the hospital opened its doors.  Eual Baker was the administrator at the opening of the hospital and as of 2010 there had been 13 administrators – 11 men and two women.
Department managers included:
Avis Brewster, R.N., director of nurses; Dorothy Robinson, R.N., surgery charge nurse; Francis Purvis, R.N., maternity charge nurse; August Knodt, X-ray Department; Phyllis Forkas, laboratory; Harold Tuel, maintenance; Katherine Bice, dietary; and Elfriede Fitzwater, housekeeping.
The initial group of volunteer Pink Ladies included Dora Mortensen, president; Edna Ratto, Beverly Brownell, Norma Hodgson, Vera Schaapman, Gladys Hipp and Julie Grieves. Today the volunteers prefer to be called just DHM Auxiliary since a number of men have joined the group.
Prior to the open house the hospital employees worked at stocking the cupboards, putting beds together and cleaning them, making up the beds, setting up displays and the general cleaning, mopping and waxing of the floors.
The first patient entered the hospital two days later on February.  It was Hugo DeGrafff and he was given the last room down the hall by RN Judy Vasquez.  She later said she didn’t understand why it was just that much father to walk for nurses taking him his food trays. The following day the first baby was delivered by Dr. George Veldstra, M.D.  She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Limas.
Nurses would pick up the food trays from the kitchen and deliver them one by one to the patients in their rooms.  There was no emergency room doctor on site but nurses had a list of doctors to call if a patient did not have a doctor.  If a specialist was needed they had to come from Stockton or Tracy in an on-call basis.  

Local ownership
of hospital
ended in 1977
Ownership of the hospital was first Ralph Thone of Oakdale until 1977 when it was sold to National Medical Enterprises, later changing its name to Doctors Hospital of Manteca.  It was taken over later by National Medical Enterprises and then by Tenet Health Care Corporation.
In 1963 it was obvious the hospital was outgrowing its need and patients were being housed in the hallways.  Then in 1965 the available beds were increased to 49 from 28 and all electric beds were purchased to replace the hand crank versions.  An additional nurses’ station was built and other departments were enlarged to meet the needs of the community.  A new outpatient entrance was added as was a physical therapy unit and respiratory care unit for inpatients and outpatient needs.
In 1968 two Coronary Care beds were added and new Cardiac monitoring equipment was purchased.
Six years later in 1974 two more coronary care beds were added and more advanced cardiac monitoring equipment came on line.  In 1975 four bed units were eliminated and changed to two bed units or private rooms.
In 1976 new emergency wing was added that tripled the capacity of the emergency room and an ER doctor was on staff 24 hours a day.  The Respiratory/Cardio Pulmonary Department was relocated as was the Physical Therapy Department with an increase in size and an upgrade of equipment.  The X-ray Department was also expanded that year. 
In 1979 the Intensive Care/Coronary Care Unit was changed to a self-contained unit with a separate nursing staff.  In 1985 the labor and delivery addition came to be with an alternate Birth Center.  The nursery was doubled in size and a new Nuclear Medical Unit was created along with a new dining room, two new operating rooms, the expansion of the recovery room and outpatient beds.
In 1988 there was a big expansion from 49 beds to 74 with a new high-tech emergency room and telemetry unit, 12-bed Intensive care/coronary unit, a tower built med/surge multispecialty unit, a pediatric room with a Mickey Mouse motif, a conference room and expansion of other departments.
In 1990 a women’s imaging unit was established along with a laboratory and physical therapy expanded.   In 1991 the laparoscopic procedures were developed in surgery and in 1992 a urology/cystoscopy surgery suite was created. 
In 2007 new colonoscopy services were added and the women’s center was upgraded.  The Stereotactic Core biopsies were performed and a special nurse was added to follow along with patient care through breast care surgery procedures.

White uniforms, caps
and white nylons once
were standard uniform
The growth of in hospital personnel over the years from 1962 until 2009 showed 41 initial employees growing to 455.  Doctors on staff went from seven at the opening of the hospital to 195 active staff by 2009.  The hospital volunteers that began with only eight on the floor increased to 106 over the years.
Additional differences seen at the hospital as it evolved over the 56 years included nurses now wearing scrubs and no hats when they once wore white uniforms and a cap, white nylons and white shoes.
In the birthing center today the mother can have who she wants present where in the early years even the father was not allowed in the delivery room.
Meals were delivered to patients from the kitchen where today they are delivered on warming carts and medications that were once poured by registered nurses are today prepared by the pharmacy. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email gkahl@mantecabulletin.com.

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