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Humboldt General Hospital

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118 E Haskell St, Winnemucca, NV 89445
http://www.hghospital.ws
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(775) 623-5222 Additional Contacts
 
History: Humboldt General Hospitals goal is simple: to provide local residents with the best care possible - right here close to home. Historically, though, that hasnt always been as easy as it sounds. According to Winnemucca historian J.P. Marden, in...read more
History: Humboldt General Hospitals goal is simple: to provide local residents with the best care possible - right here close to home. Historically, though, that hasnt always been as easy as it sounds. According to Winnemucca historian J.P. Marden, in the early days of Humboldt County, if people became seriously ill, they would simply suffer and die, there was very little that could be done to save them. Most of the medicines available at that time were ineffective, and sanitary conditions for operations and other treatments were non-existent. Even doctors lacked any kind of bona fide credentials, instead, all they had to do was hang out a shingle and they were in the business of health care. Marden said, Before the first hospital was opened in Winnemucca, it was very common for the sick and injured to be treated at home or in one of the local hotels. Marden said with the low level of expertise of doctors at that time, there were many who died in these local hotels, including the Winnemucca Hotel which registered more than 100 deaths in those early days. While Marden said no one knows for sure when the first Winnemucca hospital was built, he said by 1886, a facility was in operation on the north side of East Second Street near Second Streets crossing with the Water Canyon Creek. Under modern standards it wasnt much, said Marden, but at the time it was all Humboldt County had in the way of advanced medical care. Marden provided the following description of the hospital, which was published in Humboldt Countys newspaper, The Silver State, in 1897 after a reporter was given the grand tour of the facility by Superintendent James Hurst and his wife. The hospital is at present full to its utmost capacity, and I must say that it does not take more than 16 people to leave standing room at a premium. The building is but a small structure, consisting of six rooms in all, and is entirely too small and too crowded for any kind of comfort or convenience, but although I noticed five beds in one room and as many in another, I was struck with their cleanliness and the fine condition in which everything was kept. Still, it did take some time for the idea of a local hospital to establish itself firmly in the minds of residents. This week, National Hospital Week, actually resulted from such fears when a magazine editor, concerned that the public perceived hospitals as places shrouded in secrecy, suggested hosting an annual celebration in honor of hospitals. But according to the following, perhaps residents misgivings had more to do with medical practices at the time rather than hospital facilities themselves. Marden pointed to a Silver State article that records that in 1892, Charles Neale had his hands severely burned and was admitted to the county hospital for care. His doctor, Dr. Cartwright, decided that two of his fingers were healing too slowly and would have to be amputated. According to the report, The operation was performed in the twinkling of an eye and without the administration of chloroform to the patient. Marden said that as Winnemucca grew into the 20th Century, it became apparent that the hospital on Second Street would no longer serve the needs of the community. He said, By 1907, the Humboldt County Board of Commissioners became somewhat improvement minded and decided that a new jail and a new hospital were needed to better care for the citizens of the county. Officials took their first step toward improved health care in the community when they purchased land on what was then called East Railroad Street, but which would soon become known as Haskell Street - the same property that houses Humboldt General Hospital today. Money woes were common then even as they are today. When the hospital first went to bid in October of that year, the two bids received were rejected as too high, both were for just over $15,000. It is apparent that the commissioners wanted to join the 20th Century, said Marden, but it was not going to be at just an
 
 

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History: Humboldt General Hospitals goal is simple: to provide local residents with the best care possible - right here close to home. Historically, though, that hasnt always been as easy as it sounds. According to Winnemucca historian J.P. Marden, in the early days of Humboldt County, if people became seriously ill, they would simply suffer and die, there was very little that could be done to save them. Most of the medicines available at that time were ineffective, and sanitary conditions for operations and other treatments were non-existent. Even doctors lacked any kind of bona fide credentials, instead, all they had to do was hang out a shingle and they were in the business of health care. Marden said, Before the first hospital was opened in Winnemucca, it was very common for the sick and injured to be treated at home or in one of the local hotels. Marden said with the low level of expertise of doctors at that time, there were many who died in these local hotels, including the Winnemucca Hotel which registered more than 100 deaths in those early days. While Marden said no one knows for sure when the first Winnemucca hospital was built, he said by 1886, a facility was in operation on the north side of East Second Street near Second Streets crossing with the Water Canyon Creek. Under modern standards it wasnt much, said Marden, but at the time it was all Humboldt County had in the way of advanced medical care. Marden provided the following description of the hospital, which was published in Humboldt Countys newspaper, The Silver State, in 1897 after a reporter was given the grand tour of the facility by Superintendent James Hurst and his wife. The hospital is at present full to its utmost capacity, and I must say that it does not take more than 16 people to leave standing room at a premium. The building is but a small structure, consisting of six rooms in all, and is entirely too small and too crowded for any kind of comfort or convenience, but although I noticed five beds in one room and as many in another, I was struck with their cleanliness and the fine condition in which everything was kept. Still, it did take some time for the idea of a local hospital to establish itself firmly in the minds of residents. This week, National Hospital Week, actually resulted from such fears when a magazine editor, concerned that the public perceived hospitals as places shrouded in secrecy, suggested hosting an annual celebration in honor of hospitals. But according to the following, perhaps residents misgivings had more to do with medical practices at the time rather than hospital facilities themselves. Marden pointed to a Silver State article that records that in 1892, Charles Neale had his hands severely burned and was admitted to the county hospital for care. His doctor, Dr. Cartwright, decided that two of his fingers were healing too slowly and would have to be amputated. According to the report, The operation was performed in the twinkling of an eye and without the administration of chloroform to the patient. Marden said that as Winnemucca grew into the 20th Century, it became apparent that the hospital on Second Street would no longer serve the needs of the community. He said, By 1907, the Humboldt County Board of Commissioners became somewhat improvement minded and decided that a new jail and a new hospital were needed to better care for the citizens of the county. Officials took their first step toward improved health care in the community when they purchased land on what was then called East Railroad Street, but which would soon become known as Haskell Street - the same property that houses Humboldt General Hospital today. Money woes were common then even as they are today. When the hospital first went to bid in October of that year, the two bids received were rejected as too high, both were for just over $15,000. It is apparent that the commissioners wanted to join the 20th Century, said Marden, but it was not going to be at just an