Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Stories: Sutherland Hospitals

Alverdale Hospital
The first hospital in Sutherland was opened by Mrs. Henry(Alverda) Coker at her home in northeast Sutherland, outside the city limits. It was located on the property where Jack Humphrey now resides (1991). It was advertised as “being fitted with the latest appliances for caring for all kinds of sickness and operations. A graduate nurse is in attendance at all times. One feature of the Alverdale Hospital has over those in the cities is that patients are not bothered with the noise of city traffic.” The writers of the Sutherland Centennial book had no information as to the number of years it was in operation.

Ambrassat – Greater Community Hospital
In April 1924, Mrs. M. E. Ambrassat bought the George C. White property in southwest Sutherland and planned to convert the residence into a hospital. It was located in the residence that later became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Cox, at 510 South Street.

In September 1928, the Greater Community Hospital announced a change in management. Miss Rachel Bond of Wallace was to be the Superintendent, assisted by Miss Veda Pratt of Omaha. Both ladies were Registered Nurses.
In May 1929, Dr. Shambaugh became the owner of the Greater Community Hospital. He and Dr. Russell operated it jointly. In October 1929, Dr. Russell announced he planned to build a hospital on the three lots formerly owned by Mr. F. F. Briggs. Ground was broken on October 3, 1929. (The Sutherland Clinic now occupies that location). The old hospital continued in operation until 1943 with Dr. Shambaugh in charge, accommodating 4,465 patients in almost 22 years.

Russell Hospital
The formal opening of the new Russell Hospital was held on October 12, 1930. The new facility was built at a cost of $30,000.00.
In the newspaper dated July 1, 1943, apparently a concern for the hospital arose in the community and a fund drive was held with the neighboring towns and trade area placing their dollars as well as their genuine concerns behind the hospital to such an extent that it was assured that the hospital would be able to continue. In one week a total of $7,329.15 was received from residents of the area to buy and remodel the hospital.
Dr. Russell had left the community and Dr. Harlan E. Moore arrived at that time. Plans were being discussed to enlarge the hospital. Dr. Richard Fleebe had joined Dr. Moore at the hospital sometime in 1946 or 1947. Dr. John C. Baker arrived in 1952 to join the staff.

Construction started on the new hospital in 1959, with the projected cost to be $80,000.00. Dedication of the new hospital was held on Sunday, November 11, 1962.

The Sutherland area was jolted in 1964 by the sudden deaths of Dr. Moore and the laboratory technician Paul Maxwell. Dr. Richard Maxwell, Paul’s son, arrived in August 1964 to manage the hospital on an emergency service basis until permanent arrangements could be made.

Dr. Sam Blatspielier came following the death of Dr. Fleebe in 1955. Another doctor serving the community was William Hoeing, who came to join Dr. Richard Maxwell.
Following the close of the hospital after Drs. Maxwell and Hoeing left, the Bethesda Geriatric Foundation took over the hospital in 1968 and plans were made to build a new Rest Home adjoining the hospital.


Drs. Tran Dan Khang and Pham Tuong Do came to Sutherland in 1975. Dr. Dan Nguyen purchased the practice when the other Vietnamese Doctors left and he continues practicing here as well as in North Platte.

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