Oral Histories

Hannah Pittman

Hannah Pittman in nurse uniform.

In the late summer of 1939, both Elizabeth and I left Moab. She worked in the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City and I at St. Mark’s. Emit Pittman kept coming to SLC and he and I were married in Dec. that year.

In August 1940 I returned to Moab to make my home. Yes, I began working again in Moab.

When Liz and I left, we were replace by Vera Wood (of Monticello; who is now Vera Hazleton) and by Zina Anderson. Vera later went to war. The Nurse shortage during the war, caused Dr. Allen to have some other local girls “trained” to help at thehospital. By this time, we did have a steam sterilizer for the instruments; and a very old autoclave. One that had to be shut off if we got busy, or it popped off its steam valve, which was noisy and frightening to both patients and nurses.

Along the way, Ruth Brown became quite adept as a nurses’ aide; and also in giving drop ether. One of the front rooms of the hospital was occupied by a dentist, Dr. Sanford Ballinger. He was a very kind person, and served both Grand and San Juan Counties, He was a very busy man.

Yes, Dr. Allen was the only Doctor for a large . From here to Cortez, all of San Juan County, parts of Emery County, and the Paradox Basin of Colorado, and LaSal Creek people, too.

I must also mention the services of Mattie Holyoak. She took a nursing course by mail, and Dr. Allen agreed to let her get practice at the hospital. She learned to take care of patients, and often had shifts by herself, later. She worked quite a few years, and then became a telephone operator for many years, working for the old Midland Telephone Co.

Blanding had a Dr. Austin there about 1941, I think. He also brought his patients to Moab. He left, to goto Utah County where he helped establish a clinic. Dr. Wesley Bayles followed Dr. Austin to Blanding. He also was a native of Blanding. He, too, had to useour hospital for his patients, as San Juan County had none.

When Dr. Allen thought he ought to retire, he began looking for a Doctor to replace him. He finally chose Dr. Herbert Temple, who moved to Moab with his wife and two sons. His wife, Dorothy, now retired, is loved by many Moab people. She was a kind and compassionate nurse. It was Dorothy went to Salt lake City, and took a “crash” course in anesthesia, so that our patients could be put to sleep with “gas” instead of drop ether. That was a big step!

For many years, I was a part-time R.N. at the hospital; was “on call” for surgery, or whatever, when Dr.Allen needed my services, and later did a lot of surgery with Dr. Temple, until retirement.

Betty Dravage came in the Fifties, and she can take up the story of our hospital from here. It was a happy day for all, when Moab got the new hospital, with more modem conveniences. Probably, most local people, do not realize that Dr. Allen was one of the pioneers of health insurance. He devised a plan, where all citizens of Grand and San Juan Counties (families) could pay $35 per year which entitled them to free Doctor services (no matter what their problem was) and a hospital bed and full care for $5. per day. This plan was in effect several years until the World War II changed our economy.

Yes, $35 per year for all Doctor services for one family!!!

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