St. Martin Hospital forms part of the Mission at Desmarais served by the Sisters of Providence under the Oblate Fathers. The Residential School was opened July 13, 1901 but the Hospital itself begins August 17, 1928 with a 16-bed capacity. In January 1935 we find an enlargement to the hospital with a 23-bed capacity. I cannot give you a better description than that received a few weeks ago by Sister Lucienne Bedard, R.N., on mission there.
“St. Martin Hospital was erected on the picturesque site on the bank of South Lake Wabasca. Its personnel serves a Cree Indian and Metis population of approximately 2,000. Two Physicians come each in turn on Monday and Thursday for about three hours. So, the nurses — assisted by a few aides from the reserve — form the permanent staff of this modest Hospital.
This personnel provides nursing care to the hospitalized patients as well as treatments, medications and hygiene services to out-patients who come to the Emergency Department. At times, after care or first aid has been given when needed to seriously ill patients. They are transferred by ambulance to Slave Lake Hospital, a distance of 80 miles on rough roads.
It is imperative that one has some knowledge of midwifery, X-ray, laboratory and making provisional diagnosis, in order to start proper care. Over 50 patients are admitted monthly and over 350 outpatients are taken care of in the Emergency Department.
There is much work to do but the confident and sympathetic character of the people gives to this work a personal satisfaction. Few employments in Nursing offer as interesting and varied tasks which constitute such rich experience in this much needed field.”