Please remember the following article is copyrighted
the original submitter and the Highland Echo.
The Paintsville Hospital
By Paul B. Hall
Dr. Hall wrote this article in 1952 and it was reprinted in the Paintsville Herald, August 25, 1993 on the
10th anniversary of Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center and the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the
Paintsville Hospital. Since Dr. Hall was such a part of the Medical History of Johnson County, we felt this article might be of
interest to our members.
The Paintsville Hospital was officially opened November 1920. Aunt Alice Rule of Paintsville,
Tobe Rule was the first patient. Incidentally, a few months later she had the distinction of
having been a patient longer than any other patient admitted to the hospital.
The one person probably responsible for the hospital being built was Dr.
Ernest Elmo Archer. He was president of the institution at the time of his death in September 1934. DR
Archer had just returned from overseas duty in hospital service with his mind made up to build a hospital here in Paintsville, and he soon convinced Drs. J. H.
Holbrook and .James Cecil Sparks that it was the thing to do. These three doctors formed the first staff of
the Paintsville Hospital. They interested the North East Coal Company and Mr. Henry Laviers, their
president, in the project and they helped finance it with the aid of several individuals.
Among the original stockholders besides the above were Judge James Turner, Dan Wheeler, Jim Auxier,
Bill Slone, Mrs. Elizabeth Wells Garriott, Joe Fraley, .Dr. G. V. Daniel, Garland H. Rice, E. J. Evan,
Hopkins Preston, John E. Buckingham, E. M. Brown, Dr. G. M. Stafford, Dr. H. G. Hazelrigg, D. D. H.
Daniel, Sid Webb and Paul C. Hager.
After the construction of the hospital was well along, the three doctors-Archer, Sparks and Left for New
Orleans, where they took a special course in surgery. Of course Dr. Archer had already lots of surgical
experience while in the Army base hospital overseas.
Mr. John Columbus was the contracting builder of the original building of 25 rooms. Beginning in 1934,
there have been four large additions built. One in 1937, and one in 1945, all being built under the
supervision of Leonard Daniels, with Jack Happeny doing the plumbing and electrical work. In the
1945 addition, there was built what was thought at that time the first air conditioned incubator room in
this country. This was done through the efforts of Dr. Lou C. Hall, head of the pediatric department at the
hospital and Andy Kirk. Mr. Kirk was head of the electrical staff of Mayo State Vocational School at that
time. This air conditioned incubator room received national attention in hospital magazines and
newspapers. In this same addition a modern nursery was built to accommodate 20 bassinets.
Only in the last few months had the last and biggest addition been completed in the south side of the
hospital. This was a new three-story fireproof building of brick and concrete with the most modern
materials to complete the entire construction. With this new addition a new basement was built; a covered
driveway for patients and ambulances; a new driveway from the rear of the hospital to Preston Street; a
modern elevator for all four stories; two new operating rooms (one major and one minor) with all new
equipment of the latest design; a new pediatric section of 12 beds on the third floor; 12 new patient rooms
on the first and second floors with four new rooms for isolation the cases across the driveway from the
hospital. All the operating facilites were moved to the new addition on the third floor, and the old rooms
used for this purpose were remodeled into a new laboratory. Along with this new addition, the entire old
building was renovated. Walker Burke, local building contractor was the superintendent of this
construction and Ed Gregg of Louisville the architect. Jack Hanppeny started the heating, plumbing and
electrical work. Due to his untimely, death, Dennis Blair completed this job.
At present the Paintsville Hospital has over 100 beds and 18 bassinets. There is an average of 60 people
employed at the hospital all the time; at rush time, there are several more.
During its 34 years of existence, the following doctors have constituted the staff: E. E. Archer, J. H.
Holbrook, J. (.". Sparks, Paul B. [fall, W. E. Akin, Jas W''. Arches, Geo Archer, Lon C. Hall, John W.
Turner, Bob Hall and M. M. Hall.
The present officers are Paul B. Hall, president: Mrs. E. E. Archer, vice president; J. H. Holbrook,
secretary and treasurer.; and Dan Wheeler and John 'VA'. Turner the other directors. Miss Angie Samons
is the present superintendent. Dr. J. H. C. Sparks was the first president, serving until early 1923. The Dr.
Archer was president until his death in 1934 and dr. Paul B. Hall has been president the past 20 years.
The following nurses have served this institution as its superintendents: Miss Malissa Osborne was the
first and served until her death by drowning four years after the hospital opened. 'Then came Miss Eunice
Lemasters, Miss Amelia K.
Collins, Miss Emma Lou Aonway, Miss Estelle Barnet Taylor, Miss Armstrong, -_
Miss Katherine Harris Wickers and Miss Angie Samons - Miss Samons has served
the longest term of any of the superintendents, having been with the institution as
its head since 1937.
Miss Fannie Blankenship is the present operating room supervisor and has served the hospital in that
capacity for many years. Her instrument nurse at the present is Miss Mary Elizabeth Preston, who came
here soon after graduating from St. Mary's Hospital at Huntington, W. Va.. Before Miss Blankenship,
some of the former operating room supervisors were Miss Opal Richardson, Miss Georgia Atkins, Miss
Tressie Bishop and Miss Zelilah Pechin.
Mr. William Salyer has charge of the laboratory and has had since he came back from the pacific wars.
He also was here for awhile before he left for the service. Miss Maude McFarland Daniel was the
technician for many years before Mr. Salyer. Others serving the hospital in the past as technicians were
Miss Joyce Jansen, Miss Margerite Ray( now Mrs. Geo Archer), Mrs. Leroy Slone, Miss Von Berin,
Martha Greenwell and Mrs. Bertha Benson Spears.
Soon after the hospital started a nurses training school was organized and a
charter was granted by the State Nursing Association. This school functioned for
several years and several nurses graduated, but the school was discontinued along with about 15 other
schools in the state when it was decided there were too many registered nurses in the state. The hospital
still owns and maintains a two story brick building for a nurses home.
Mrs. Lenore Gullett and Mr. Marvin Atkinson have charge of the office and business administration of
the hospital for several years. Miss Sola Puckett has had charge of the culinary department of the hospital
for many years and with the aid of the superintendent serves as dietitian.
Different members of the staff have had special training in the many fields of medicine and surgery and
serve the hospital in their fields. Since the opening of the Paintsville Hospital in 1920 over 16,000 patients
have submitted to major surgical procedures at the hospital. Of course this does not include several
thousand minor operations that have been performed during this time. An average of about 4,000 patients
are admitted to the hospital yearly. Now and during the past 34 years, almost 100,000 patients have been
admitted to the Paintsville Hospital.
Dr. Paul B. Hall, M. D., was the author of a book called
FORTY YEARS PRACTICE OF MEDICINE &
SURGERY IN THE HILLS OF EASTERN KENTUCKY.
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