The Bethesda Hospital, Goessel, Kansas, was established on 20 June 1899, by the Mennonite Bethesda Hospital Society at Goessel, The immediate cause for erecting a hospital was the fact that when Dr. Peter Richert started his practice in the year 1894 at Goessel, he found a well-settled community but no place where difficult cases of illness could be taken care of adequately. He urged the building of a hospital, and after a number of meetings with the local civic leaders, a society was organized and incorporated on 20 June 1899 as the Mennonite Bethesda Hospital Society. Funds were collected and a hospital building was erected. A gift of $10.00 secured a membership with the right to vote at the annual meetings. The first building was a two-story frame structure 30 x 40 ft. over a 15 x 30 ft. basement. Katharine Schellenberg was the first matron and Dr. Charles Henry Kaiser the first physician and surgeon, Dr. Peter Richert having left for California.
The hospital was soon found to be too small for the needs of the community, and so on 10 May 1903 a second 30 x 40 ft. building was completed. These two main buildings were then connected by a passageway which gave room for a kitchen, a dining room, a chapel, and bedrooms for workers. Since a part of the hospital was used as a home for the aged, even this added space did not suffice for long. In 1928-1929 a new fireproof two-story brick building was erected across the street from the old hospital. The old building was then used entirely as a home for the aged. The new building opened its doors for service on 16 October 1929, with 15 beds.
Soon after the original Bethesda hospital was established, the need was felt for trained helpers, and so the board of directors decided to open a nurses' training school. The school was established on 19 December 1910 under the direction of Sister Margaret Richert, a deaconess who succeeded Katharina Schellenberg and Mrs. Wilhelmina Schwake as superintendent of nurses. Sister Richert was followed by Sister Anna Schmidt, a deaconess, and Emma Bartel and Tena Heinrichs, all registered nurses. This nurses' school, however, operated under difficulties; most of the students had only grade and parochial schooling which was inadequate. Then too there was only one resident doctor most of the time and he had a practice too large to keep up scheduled classwork. Doctors from neighboring towns helped out and the students received good practical training in bedside nursing but the school did not progress. The course was at first only two years. In 1913 it was made a three-year course and arrangements were made for classwork with other hospitals. In 1912 five students were in training, but only one, Katharina Nikkel, finished the full course. In 1913 Elizabeth L. W. Regier was graduated and in 1916 Helen Neufeld completed the course. Other graduates of the school were Marie Siemens, Sister Anna Schmidt, Mary Duerksen, Agnes Pankratz, and Anna Siemens. Many of the girls who entered the school did not stay to finish the course as the hospital in the beginning always had a department for the aged and it was difficult to interest the girls in the twofold work. When the requirements for training schools became more difficult to meet, Bethesda's school was discontinued in 1926-27; however, the work of the hospital continued. X-ray apparatus was installed and the hospital itself possessed up-to-date equipment for the time. In 1950 the hospital had two good doctors and surgeons and it was to be extended with a new addition to the main building to give more room for hospital beds.
In 1973 a new hospital was built at a cost of $473,000. However this hospital closed in 1983, and the beds were converted into long term care beds of the Bethesda Home.
Bethesda Home. "Information About Bethesda Home." June 2005. http://www.bethesdahome.org/about.html (accessed 1 January 2007).
|Author(s)||C. C. Wedel|
 Cite This Article
Wedel, C. C. and Sam Steiner. "Bethesda Hospital (Goessel, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2006. Web. 7 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethesda_Hospital_(Goessel,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=91096.
Wedel, C. C. and Sam Steiner. (2006). Bethesda Hospital (Goessel, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethesda_Hospital_(Goessel,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=91096.
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