Hospital celebrates centennial

Enthusiastic and interested visitors braved triple-digit temperatures Sunday to tour new facilities at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell and celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Enthusiastic and interested visitors braved triple-digit temperatures Sunday to tour new facilities at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell and celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Trish Stevens, vice president for marketing, said about 500 visitors toured the hospital's new Maternal Care Center, Cancer Center, Same Day Services and diagnostic imaging facilities. About $6 million was spent on the expansion.

Heat did reduce turnout for a community picnic following the tours, Stevens said, but she was pleased with attendance.

Sunday's fete was an attempt to say thanks to the community, said Tom Rasmusson, president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Health Services.

"We just thought 100 years was something to really celebrate," he said.


The hospital opened Nov. 15, 1906, Rasmusson said.

"I think we've served Mitchell well over the last 100 years," he said, "and hopefully we can continue to do so."

Rasmusson greeted visitors at the hospital entrance, some of whom were taxied by golf cart. Those who parked in remote lots were appreciative of the lift, Rasmusson said.

A more formal gala party to celebrate the hospital's centennial will be held at the Corn Palace in November, he said.

As temperatures soared to 106 degrees, plans for an outdoor concert by the Mitchell Municipal Band were shifted indoors to the hospital's smaller, but considerably cooler, Community Room.

More than 100 spectators avoided the heat, munched on birthday cookies, and enjoyed the band's repertoire of pop music.

Crowds appeared impressed by the new Maternal Care Center, which features numerous decorative touches as well as electronic security upgrades.

Director Linda Hafner said the center's new infant security system will keep children safe.


Immediately after birth, infants are issued a special band which is programmed into the center's computers. The special band triggers an alarm if an attempt is made to remove a child from the wing. Computers also visually indicate the attempted exit point.

Hafner said central fetal monitoring will allow staff to use telemetry to monitor babies continually.

Previously, a nurse had to attend a patient personally to get similar information, Hafner said. The computerized system also allows hospital staff to send a baby's information directly to the attending physician's home or office if a concern arises.

Hafner said the nursery is bigger and windows are lower for brothers and sisters, so they can see the new baby from the outside more easily. There are also steps to boost very small children, she said.

The new center has 10 patient rooms and three labor and delivery rooms.

Visitors also toured new orthopedic and women's clinic offices at the attached Physicians Plaza, a Cancer Center and new diagnostic imaging facilities.

The new private rooms of the Same Day Surgery center impressed Maurice Hartmann and his wife, Julie, of Mitchell.

Mr. Hartmann used the old surgical facility and considered the renovations a vast improvement.


"It used to be all curtains. You could see out over and under them and hear all the conversations," he said.

They also liked the idea that families could be in the room with the patient until the patient is moved to surgery. Family members are then moved to spacious waiting rooms.

Those rooms particularly impressed Jim and Doris Schaffer, of Mitchell.

"I like the openness and cheeriness of the waiting rooms," said Mrs.


Mr. Schaffer gave a more inclusive stamp of approval.

"I liked all of it," he said.

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