Maple Hill Hospital

From the book "The Country Doctor" by Floyd B. Hay, transcribed and submitted by Lisa Haug.

To the people of Clinton County, a history would be incomplete without a section on the old Maple Hill Hospital, owned and operated by Clinton County native Dr. Floyd B. Hay. Because a great number of the adults in Clinton and surrounding counties were either born there or had their children delivered there, the old Maple Hill Hospital holds a dear place in many hearts.

Maple Hill Hospital was opened Jan. 1, 1942 in an old dwelling on Hospital Street which has now been restored. Walter Robertson was the first superintendent, followed by Horace Hay.

Among the first employees were nurses Evelyn Sconyers (Mrs. Porter Beaty) and Sara Cooper, anesthetist Ineze Harris, nurse’s aides Elise Carr and Dorris Jennings, and cooks Hershel and Dora Pierce, Mary Little and Grace Sloan. Other doctors assisting Dr. Hay in this pioneer effort were board surgeon Leo Harris and Dr. E. A. Barnes. After Harris and Hay were called to active duty in the U. S. Army, Dr. Woods and Dr. Irvin Asrel continued to serve Clinton County as doctors in this hospital.

The following quote was taken from Hay’s book, “The Country Doctor.”
“After I was discharged, I immediately applied for a residence in surgery at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis. I stayed there for four years, and then after this spell of residency, I returned to the Maple Hill Hospital as the first full-time Clinton County trained surgeon. I did some repair work on the hospital and we started operating again.”

The Maple Hill Hospital, with approximately 15 beds, an operating room, a delivery, a nursery and laboratory, served the community for 25 years. Services provided ranged from office visits to general surgery.

One interesting observation about the early days of surgery is that Hay was among the very first surgical patients. Harris performed an appendectomy on Hay early in 1942.

Maple Hill Hospital closed in 1966 due to changes in federal regulations and Medicare.

Floyd B. Hay was killed at age 79 in a car accident. The following poem was given to his family by a friend shortly after his death in April 1985. His wife, Rose, and his daughters, Janice Warhurst and Nancy Boyd, would like to share it with the former employees, the many patients, and the people of Clinton County who have special memories of Dr. and the old Maple Hill Hospital.

The Country Doctor

There’s a gathering in the village, that has never been outdone
Since the soldiers took their muskets to the war of ‘61,
And a lot of lumber wagons near the church upon the hill.
And a crowd of country people,
Sunday dressed and very still.
Now each window is pre-empted by a dozen heads or more,
Now the spacious pews are crowded from the pulpit to the door,
For with coverlet of blackness on his portly figure spread,
Lies the grim old country doctor,
in a massive oaken bed,
Lies the fierce old country doctor,
Lies the kind old country doctor,
Whom the populace considered with a mingled love and dread.
Maybe half the congregation, now of great or little worth,
Found this watcher waiting for them, when they came upon the earth;
This undecorated soldier, of a hard, unequal strife,
Fought in many stubborn battles with the sought their life.
In the nighttime or the daytime, he would rally brave and well,
Though the summer lark was fifing or the frozen lances fell;
Knowing, if he won the battle, they would praise their Maker’s name,
Knowing, if he lost the battle, then the doctor was to blame.
“Twas the good old faulty doctor,
“Twas the faithful country doctor-fighting stoutly all the same.

When so many pined in sickness he had stood so strongly by,
Half the people felt a notion that the doctor couldn’t die;
They must slowly learn the lesson how to live from day to day,
And have somehow lost their bearings--now this landmark is away.
But perhaps it still is better that his busy life is done;
He has seen old views and patients disappearing, one by one;
He has learned that Death is master both of science and of art;
He has done his duty fairly and has acted out his part.
And the strong old country doctor,
And the weak old country doctor,
Is entitled to a furlough for his brain and for his heart.

WILL M. CARLETON

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