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St.Vincent Clay Hospital

Early Medical History of Clay County

Clay County was organized in 1825 from the territory that was originally Vigo, Owen and Sullivan Counties.

The first physicians in Clay County were Dr. Andrew Davis and Dr. Absolom Briley, neither of which were Medical College men. The average physician of that day were first farmers and woodsmen and became “Doctors” by having an extensive knowledge of roots and herbs, coupled with a good knowledge of caring for the sick.

There were two women, Mrs. Mollie Cromwell and her daughter Sara Cromwell Mills, who were pioneer mid-wives and physicians to children. Their services covered a period of sixty years from 1825 to 1885.

Another pioneer medical woman of the county and the state at large was Mrs. Lydia Moss who practiced mid-wifery and treated women and children for a period of thirty years. Mrs. Moss is probably the first woman in Clay County to deliver a woman in childbirth with instruments.

In 1880 Dr. J.F. Smith entered the field of medicine. Dr. Smith was the first surgeon in Indiana to successfully perform the bloodless amputation of the hip joint in 1891. In 1898 Dr. Smith had another “first”, the first successful operation for multiple perforations of the intestines by gun shot as reported to the Indiana Medical Association in 1901.

The first successful laminectomy, resulting in the cure of total paralysis of seven years duration, from a miners broken back, was done in Brazil, in 1899 by Dr. G. W. Finley. As of 1916 the patient was still living and was a useful citizen.

Prior to the construction of Clay County Hospital the county had the services of three private “hospitals”, all in Brazil. The Lester Smith Hospital, the Sourwine Hospital, housed above the Souwine Opera House, and the Rawley Hospital which was known for their use of Radium.

As of April, 1916 Clay County towns had the services of 40 physicians and twenty years prior to that supported 60 practicing physicians.

Clay County Hospital admitted its first patient in December, 1928.It has continued to serve the people of Clay and surrounding counties, updating and adding additional services in 1959. The new Emergency Services wing was opened in 1995. In 2000 the hospital affiliated with St. Vincent Health, and the Ambulatory Surgery/Diagnostic Center was opened in 2003.
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St. Vincent Clay Hospital Celebrates Five Years

September 14, 2005

St. Vincent Clay Hospital (SVCH) is celebrating their Five-Year Anniversary as a local health ministry of St. Vincent Health. A member of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest not-for-profit and Catholic healthcare system, St.Vincent Health is among state’s largest healthcare employer, with 16 health ministries serving 45 counties in central Indiana.

In September 2000, Clay County Hospital joined the St.Vincent Health family and has experienced a renewed spirit of highly compassionate, high-level care. Although the hospital’s name changed, its location has stayed the same. Since that time, the hospital has become a Critical Access Hospital and has continued to expand with the addition of new ambulatory surgery and diagnostic departments in 2003. In the fall of 2004, the hospital also expanded the physical therapy services into a 3,000 square-foot facility that offers private physical therapy rooms and an area equipped specifically for children. In addition the hospital has experienced growth in outpatient services including ambulatory surgery and emergency room visits.

In 2004, the hospital received the Press Ganey Compass Award. The award recognizes those facilities that showed the most improvement in their overall satisfaction scores. The hospital also participates in the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Hospital Quality Initiative. This program focuses on improving patient outcomes while enhancing patient safety.

The hospital is actively engaged in the community. SVCH currently sponsors a school-based Certified Athletic Trainer, and serves as the corporate sponsor for the Western Indiana Conference. SVCH also partners with the school corporation to offer health-related education such as job shadowing, CPR training and kindergarten tours. Other community-related activities include the Poverty Experience, Safe Sitter program, flu vaccination campaign and diabetes education. Health awareness and prevention is core to the community outreach of the hospital. The hospital participates in health awareness programs through the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen Foundation. The hospital also serves as a clinical site for both Indiana State University College of Nursing and IVY Tech.

“We are excited to be celebrating five years of growth and success with St. Vincent Health,” Jerry Laue, SVCH Administrator, said. “The relationship has generated the resources we need to continue to develop as the healthcare provider of choice in Clay County. Our associates and medical staff are core to our continued growth and we take great pride in providing them with the tools they need to provide high quality care in an environment whose focus is on patient safety.”

Over the last five years the affiliation with St.Vincent Health has provided stability and quality health care to the community while positioning the hospital for future growth opportunities. In addition to a 24-hour physician staffed emergency department, the hospital has a 25-bed inpatient unit and ambulatory services including general and orthopedic surgery, endoscopy, CT scans, MRI, nuclear medicine, mammography,

ultrasound, laboratory, cardiology, pulmonary, bone density, physical and occupational therapy.

St.Vincent Clay Hospital’s mission is rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer. We commit ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Our Catholic health ministry is dedicated to spiritually-centered, holistic care, which sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities. We are advocates for a compassionate and just society through our actions and our words.
The hospital supports the medical needs of the community with a 24-hour physician staffed emergency department. Inpatient and ambulatory services include: surgery, radiology, cardiology, pulmonology, laboratory, speech, physical and occupational therapy. Medical specialties available at the facility include: general surgery, orthopaedics, cardiology, oncology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and podiatry.
1206 East National Avenue
Brazil, Indiana 47824