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Our Patients & Their Families Share Their Stories

Memories of My Mother from Maria McDaniel Heyssel
My maiden name was Maria McDaniel and I grew up in Bonne Terre. I was born in Bonne Terre Hospital in August of 1934.

I remember well many of the people in the pictures and mentioned in the 100th Anniversary piece. One person not mentioned and who played a pivotal role in Bonne Terre Hospital’s history is my mother, Estella P. McDaniel. My father’s name was Olin McDaniel.
In the late 1940’s, I believe, my mother was asked by Bill Gnadt, or his predecessor, to help the Hospital with a very big problem that was beginning to need attention – medical records. She went to work and also became a medical records librarian, but without the education and credentials one would have today. 

She set up the department and kept all the records for all the doctors and patients at the Hospital. She also handled the coding for Blue Cross and then Blue Shield for billing purposes. She soon had to have some assistants who worked with her. She knew everything there was to know about the medical records and transcribed all the medical notes for the doctors. When the time came for accreditation, it was largely due to my mother that they accredited by the JCAH. She had everything in order. She was truly an unsung hero, or heroine. 

Unfortunately, essentially all the doctors and nurses, all the administration from those days are no longer with us, nor is my mother. She does deserve a place in history of the Hospital. She worked there for at least 25-30 years in the medical records department. 


Memories of the Pharmacy Department from Dr. Jim Hart
I was the first pharmacist to be employed by Bonne Terre Hospital. I came to the area to organize shared services between local hospitals in 1971. Bill Gnadt was the administrator at the time.


Memories: A Great Staff from Dianne Lee, RN (with love and respect) 
After relocating from St. Louis, I joined the staff of the Bonne Terre Emergency Department. I came from a large ED in St. Louis that provided great care and empathy to patients. I soon found out that no matter the size, finances or prestige, the devotion and commitment of the staff at Bonne Terre was unequaled. 

After my six years as a PRN RN, my memories of employment are rewarding ones. The staff embraced me with friendship and acceptance. They function as a family and show deep caring for the community. 

I congratulate all of them and those who have come before. Keep the flames of your 100 years going. We need more like you. 


Some Memories of Bonne Terre Hospital from Helen Williams Roche 
One word that reminds me of the old Hospital is “homey.” It was such a part of our lives that it was hard when the changes came. We arrived in Bonne Terre in 1946 with our first child who was 1. Several years later, Dr. Van Taylor sent me to the Hospital because of a severe sinus infection and I came home with my second bouncing baby boy. Several years later I went to the Hospital to have a girl, and again went home with a bouncing baby boy. Several years later I went to the Hospital to have a girl, and left with a bouncing baby girl. My treatment each time was personal and excellent. 


Memories from Mrs. Billie Klesch-Sheeran (Calvert) RN, BSN, MSN -- A Day in the Life of Mrs. Schramm 
From the time I was 15, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. With Bonne Terre Hospital three blocks from our house, I became a candy striper. Mom said she literally had to pull me out of there. I volunteered over 300 hours there one summer. 

There was a tall, thin nurse named Mrs. Schramm who took me under her wing. She taught me how to take a blood pressure, a pulse and how to read a thermometer. Perhaps she saw my thirst for knowledge and decided to let me see what nurses really did. Mrs. Schramm wore a long starched white uniform, white hose, very polished shoes and a large white hat with a black velvet ribbon from end to end. 

She was caring for a cancer patient who needed to be given morphine and wanted to know if I was interested in watching . . . of course I was. I distinctly remember Mrs. Schramm carefully unwrapping from a linen cloth a glass syringe complete with plunger and needle. She took a pair of forceps and carefully attached the needle to draw up some clear liquid. She unlocked a cabinet and took a tiny white pill and dropped it into the liquid in the syringe. She shook the syringe until the pill was dissolved and administered it to the patient. She sat at the man's bedside for at least an hour consoling him and placed a wet cloth on his forehead. She held his hand and told him everything would be OK. She gave him a backrub, turned out the light and promised him she would be back to check on him. She did as promised but when we returned it was all over for the gentleman. 

I watched Mrs. Schramm as she respectfully and carefully washed and prepared the body and carefully wrapped it in a stark white sheet. She explained to me that just because it was a body, the person was still to be respected and handled with dignity. 

She proceeded to give nursing care to at least 10 other patients that day and I spent the whole day with her . . . soaking up as much knowledge as I could. She moved slowly but methodically down the long tile-covered hallways, always answering the call lights as they rang. I remember the old enema cans with the red rubber tubing that to a 15-year-old looked like a garden hose. And then there were the metal bedpans and the old hopper with the spray . . . and boy did it spray. Mrs. Schramm didn't sit down but twice during her shift. She busily explained that the patient's needs came first and that the reason she was there was to ease pain and suffering and that she was there for the patients. 

Mrs. Shramm certainly influenced my career as I went on to get an associate degree from Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Missouri, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, and a master’s degree in nursing, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky. 

To this day, I will never forget the day in the life of Mrs. Schramm when I was 15. I thought then -- and think now -- how special she was and how I felt privileged and honored to have known her. Here's to you Mrs. Schramm. I hope I carried on your legacy proudly. 


Memories from Suzanne Kiser Weakly, Story, Wyoming 
Just before entering kindergarten, I fell onto a broken bottle and cut my hand badly, exposing all the tendons. My father, John Kiser, drove me to the Hospital for Dr. Taylor to sew up my hand. I cried quietly but held my hand very still while he sutured the cut. 

My father, however, who accompanied me into the operating room, became pale, nauseous, and dizzy. Dr. Taylor told him to throw open the window, hang his head out and get some fresh air as he could only handle one patient at a time. 

While my father's faintness of heart is amusing, the interesting fact here is that the windows in the operating room opened to the outdoors. 

Those were the days. I wish I could join in the 100th anniversary celebration. 


Memories from Jeanne Boyer, nursing director, Emergency Department, Parkland Health Center -- Bonne Terre 
We all enjoyed the Christmas get-togethers. I recall Dr. Jack Mullen holding my son Brian, who was about 6 months old, while I went through the food line. Dr. Mullen thoroughly enjoyed that and often mentioned it to me in later years. 

Grace Lawrence came to work one day, through the ER entrance. She suddenly collapsed with a heart attack, right in front of Donna Yates, our ICU nurse. Donna performed CPR on Grace and she was resuscitated. Grace fully recovered, was able to return to work. 

Teri Wells and Susan Politte recall the baby they delivered in the back of a Bronco, in the middle of the night, in the parking lot! That baby is now 28 years old. 

I am sure you have heard of the wedding performed on the Hospital grounds. 


Memories from Meg (Williams) Reiner, specialist, Marketing and Community Relations Parkland Health Center -- Farmington 
I grew up near Bonne Terre Hospital, and it was always part of the community and the neighborhood. I was born there as well as two of my three brothers, and the story goes that I was born during the World Series. Dr. Van Taylor delivered me, and he had to miss part of the game! Dr. Mullen was our family doctor and I can remember going to see him at his office on Allen Street; I also remember Dr. Mullen making house calls and bringing his black doctor bag along. I think there were times when he examined all four of us kids during a visit. I can remember thinking that administrators Bill Gnadt and Forrest Craig were doctors because they worked at the Hospital -- they were always Dr. Craig and Dr. Gnadt to me when I was very young. My father was on the Hospital board and my mother was a volunteer with the auxiliary, so Bonne Terre Hospital was very much in my family's life as we were growing up.
Parkland Health Center
Bonne Terre
7245 Raider Road
Bonne Terre, Missouri 63628
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Farmington, Missouri 63640
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