Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1918
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1918

The first hospital in the area was a log building, replaced in 1911 when Dr. Lazier built a three-bed wood frame hospital. J. B. Daniell, editor of the Fort George Herald regularly championed the construction of a hospital in his newspaper. He wrote "there are numbers of men employed in hazardous labours - lumbering and steamboating, in sawmills, and in blasting and clearing roadways" who were liable to suffer injury. He implored the owners of those industries to pay a per capita fee monthly to build up a fund for their treatment in a hospital setting. In 1918, the first part of the Prince George Hospital was constructed, and two years after that, an expansion increased the total bed space to thirty.

By October, the influenza epidemic which had affected people province-wide warranted mention regularly as a front-page feature in the Citizen. More than one hundred cases diagnosed during that month caused a shortage of hospital beds and created a nursing shortage. Regular calls were made to recruit "public-spirited ladies" to give some relief to nursing staff. Prince George was a two-doctor town by 1918 with Drs. Edwin Lyon and David Lazier trying to cope with the epidemic. When Dr. Lyon himself fell ill, all supervision of patient care fell to his colleague. The city responded with a declaration by Mayor Harry Perry that no public assemblies would be allowed, to prevent the disease from spreading further. The city's Health Department published dire warnings about the precautions needed to contain the epidemic. By month's end, the worst of the crisis had passed. At that point, twenty-one people had died, six of whom were Prince George residents and the rest from surrounding areas. A week later, the local death toll had risen to forty-six.



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