January 21, 1962
Mrs. Edward Stein, head nurse, checks the Circ-O-Lectric bed in the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s in Janu-ary 1962. Ethan A. Phillips, 57, of West Allis, Wis., has occupied the bed since a recent operation for a cerebral hemorrhage. Mrs. Phillips is at left. The bed can be turned in a circle so the patient, usually paralyzed, can be moved to different positions. News Tribune file photo
The intensive care unit, or ICU, is a standard feature of today’s medical centers. But back in 1962, the concept was relatively new. This photo accompanied a Jan. 21, 1962, News Tribune article marking the first anniversary of the ICU at St. Luke’s hospital. Here are some excerpts:
ST. LUKE’S UNIT BOON TO PATIENTS, HOSPITAL
By David L. Gardner, News-Tribune staff writer
Several persons were sitting in the small waiting room on the fifth floor of St. Luke’s Hospital. A telephone at one side of the room was the center of attention.
"That’s a direct line into the unit" the resident administrator was saying. "If a person wants to see a patient, he calls into the unit to find out if he may."
"The unit" is the intensive care section now nearing its first year of operation and considered one of the most important departments of the hospital. …
As the name implies, it accommodates in one area critically ill patients in need of close supervision. It also provides supplementary service when the post-anesthesia recovery room is closed and a treatment center for accident victims when emergency rooms are filled. …
From the "nerve center" of the St. Luke’s intensive care unit, all 16 patients in the section can be seen. News Tribune file photo
The efficiency of the unit is noticeable when one first enters the room. From her desk in one corner, Head Nurse Mrs. Edward Stein can see all of the room’s 16 beds unless the curtains have been drawn around a patient for breathing or examination.
Resident Administrator David Schmauss said the unit “virtually does away with the special duty nurse.
“Before the cost to the family for a room and a special duty nurse was about $80 a day,” Schmauss continued. “It costs a person $40 a day in the intensive care unit and he still receives the special care his condition demands.” …
Visitors are allowed in the unit only five minutes out of every hour, at any time during the day. Only one person may see a patient at a time and that one must be a relative.
I would have like to have included the first name of the ICU’s head nurse, but — in a sign of the era — she was referred to only as “Mrs. Edward Stein.”