Archive | Saint-Boniface Hospital: the oldest hospital in Western Canada

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Archives | The Saint-Boniface Hospital: the oldest hospital in Western Canada

Saint-Boniface Hospital in 1914, “Tonight”, January 18, 1996.

150 years ago, in 1871, Saint-Boniface Hospital was founded in Manitoba. Created by the community of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, nicknamed “Grey Nuns”, the health establishment has carved out a solid reputation in the fields of research and health care management, as evidenced by our reports. archives.

The first hospital founded in Western Canada, the Hôpital général de Saint-Boniface is one of the few hospitals that has remained the property of the Gray Nuns.

On January 18, 1996, as the establishment celebrated its 125th anniversary, journalist Maroussia Kishka returned to its history.

Report by Maroussia Kishka who paints a portrait of the Saint-Boniface General Hospital in Manitoba on the occasion of its 125th anniversary.

The nuns, who arrived on the banks of the Red River in 1844, founded the hospital in 1871. The building then had only four beds to accommodate patients.

Between 1871 and 1911 , Manitoba's population doubles every 10 years. The province grows from 25,000 to 400,000 inhabitants.

Hôpital de Saint-Boniface had to expand rapidly and offer a greater number of beds due to the epidemics that raged at the end of the 19th century. Winnipeg received at the time

the sad nickname of the typhoid capital of North America.

During this period, the Hospital of Saint-Boniface is expanding and modernizing. It reached 500 beds in 1914.

“The Hospital is equipped in particular with a power plant and a heating system with thermostat in all the bedrooms. Unheard of in Winnipeg in 1912.”

—Maroussia Kishka, Journalist

While medicine was in its infancy in terms of surgery, the operating rooms and laboratory at Hôpital de Saint-Boniface were at the cutting edge of what was being done at the beginning of the 20th century. The Gray Nuns constantly follow developments in medicine and health care.

In the 1950s, the hospital was further modernized and acquired 13 new operating rooms. One of them will welcome the first open-heart surgery patient in Manitoba. Performed in 1959 on a 5-year-old boy, the 7-hour operation proved a success.

The Hospital would become a leader in research and the treatment of heart disease with its renowned Research Center, inaugurated in 1987.

In 1984, Saint-Boniface became the first hospital in Canada to create a palliative care program.

On February 17, 1986, journalist Jean Larin presented at Pointa report that deals with the impact of the Gray Nuns in the management of the Saint-Boniface General Hospital.

Report by Jean Larin on the religious community of the Gray Nuns and their impact on the management of the Saint-Boniface General Hospital. The show is hosted by Madeleine Poulin.

The community of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, or Gray Nuns, was founded by Marguerite d'Youville in 1737 in Montreal.

Since its foundation, the Gray Nuns community has set up and managed dozens of establishments working in the field of health and social services, in Canada and the United States.

For several years, the Gray Nuns reigned over many of our hospitals, but with the secularization of Quebec society, they gradually disappeared from the spheres that were once reserved for them.

In Quebec, we owe to the Gray Nuns the hospitals of Notre-Dame, Maisonneuve-Rosemont and the Montreal Heart Institute, which are now administered by the government.

With the advent of health insurance in the early 1970s, the Gray Nuns left the province of Quebec. But, in Western Canada, particularly at the Saint-Boniface Hospital, they continued their work with the sick.

“I think that d'Youville's mother really had a technique. She was said to have a charisma, a gift for others, and she was a good manager. »

—Sister Marie Bonin, provincial superior in Saint-Boniface, 1986

After more than 200 years, their reputation as hospital managers is solid and recognized. The well-being of the patient has always been at the heart of their mission statement.

When the Gray Nuns manage health facilities, they do so by imposing their conditions. Thus, in 1985, they closed the door to in vitro fertilization. St. Boniface Hospital also does not perform abortions, and requests for paperclip ligations or vasectomies are considered on a case-by-case basis.

In 2000, The Gray Nuns transferred to the Catholic Corporation of Manitoba the management and property rights of their health works, in particular the Saint-Boniface General Hospital.

Members of the Corporation Manitoba Catholic Health Care are appointed by the Gray Nuns. The Board of Directors is made up of 14 members, who represent each of the establishments in the network. St. Boniface General Hospital is also affiliated with the University of Manitoba.

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