McKay-Dee Hospital

(801) 387-2800Map4401 Harrison Blvd.Ogden, UT 84403

With construction underway, the original Hospital began to prepare for the advent of Medicare. The Administrator reported a significant drop in admission of patients over age 65, as they waited for the Medicare Act to become official to help them pay for the cost of their medical care.

In July, an agreement was finalized with the State of Utah to take over the care of the tubercular patients housed in the State Sanitarium on North Harrison Boulevard.

Medical Director

Mr. Knapp had been investigating the role and function of a Medical Director in the Hospital and, in October, Dr. Kenneth J. Williams, Medical Director of St. John Hospital in Detroit, appeared before the Board to discuss his work. After further consultations with other Hospitals, Dr. William P. Daines was appointed to the post of Medical Director of the Dee Hospital.

In August, 1966, 24-hour physician coverage of the Emergency Room began with Dr. Jay McEntire, Dr. Charles Pennington and Dr. Arthur Davenport assuming the responsibilities.

As the fund drive for the new Hospital continued, famed comedian Jack Benny was brought to Valley Music Hall in Bountiful by the Maurice Warshaw family of Salt Lake City as their contribution. Mr. Warshaw, owner of Grand Central Markets, pledged to match the profit from the Benny appearance, and asked that the $61,000 realized be used for TV sets in the patient rooms.

Hospital architect Keith Wilcox and builder Jack Okland announced plans to construct a professional building adjacent to the McKay.

In the meantime, an investigation was begun into the future of the original Dee Hospital. By June, 1968, it was decided the Dee could best serve the community by converting its assets into a new hospital plant adjacent to the McKay. This would fulfill the LDS Church commitment to the Dee family, made in 1916, that "there will always be a Dee Hospital in Ogden." Alternative plans for use of the building were suggested and architectural planning for the new Dee began.

Laundry to Close

Mention of plans to close the Hospital laundry first appeared in the Board Minutes of July, 1969. A joint laundry in Salt Lake City would provide service for the McKay, LDS, Primary Children's and Cottonwood Hospitals.

Dr. Leland H. Monson, retired Dean of the Humanities department at Weber State College, was employed to develop a permanent fundraising and planning foundation for the Hospital. In October, he outlined its purposes and structure to the Board.

By December, the First Presidency announced $2,100,000 would be available for building of the new Dee Hospital, and a Medical Staff committee to help in its planning was announced, chaired by Dr. John D. Newton.

With the coming of 1969, the McKay-Dee Foundation was organized and Ogden industrialist George H. Horsley, Sr., was selected as its first president.

The new Hospital, plagued by construction problems since the groundbreaking, encountered yet another setback in February when the vinyl flooring did not meet specifications. Its opening was postponed until mid-May. In actuality, it was July 9, 1969, before the Hospital was ready.

President McKay Attends

True to his promise, President McKay was in attendance, although confined to his limousine because of his frail health. His son, David Lawrence McKay, represented the Church leader on the speakers' stand. Other speakers were Bishop Vandenberg, Ogden Mayor Bart Wolthuis, and Medical Staff President Joe Amano, M.D.

Administrator Kenneth Knapp presented the keys to the front door of the Hospital to the venerable Church leader, promising "these doors will never be locked again."

One-hundred-fifty-four patients were transferred to the McKay from the Dee on July 12, 1969, in two hours and 40 minutes. The flawlessly executed move was unmarred by incident, and patients and visitors alike exclaimed, "It isn't like a hospital at all ... it's more like a beautiful hotel."

The only unit remaining open in the Dee Hospital was the Tuberculosis Ward.

As patients and personnel settled into the new facility, three graduate physicians from the University of Utah began surgery residencies at the McKay under the direction of Dr. John A. Dixon. The new program sent surgery residents to the Hospital on a three to six months' rotation to work with local surgeons holding University faculty appointments.

Bids for the new Dee Hospital were opened January 15 in the office of the LDS Church Building Committee. They proved to be considerably higher than the money available and the architect was asked to prepare modifications in the plans.

Lawrence T. Dee and his son, Thomas D. Dee II, had been present at the bid opening and they were unwilling to compromise. In his understated way, "Laurie" Dee said, "So, we went back to Ogden and did a little telephoning around to the family and were able to come up with a quarter of a million dollars so we could have it like we wanted it."

The contract was awarded to Culp Construction Co. of Salt Lake City; test drilling on the site began March 16, 1970.

"Dee Day"

The community paid honor to the Dee Family on April 29, when Mayor Bart Wolthuis officially proclaimed "Dee Day," and community leaders gathered on the patio overlooking the beginnings of the new Dee Hospital. Bishop John H. Vandenberg thanked the family publicly for its "gracious contributions and support."

In June, Mr. Knapp accepted yet another contribution from a member of the Dee family, $25,000 from Joseph F. Barker to be used to memorialize his wife, the late Rosabelle Dee Barker.

The original Dee Hospital was officially closed on June 30 when patients in the State Tuberculosis Ward were moved to the Weber County Hospital. A farewell party was held for patients and staff.

HSC Formed

A new operating structure for the LDS Church Hospitals was revealed in July, 1970, with the announcement of the formation of Health Services Corporation and the appointment of James O. Mason, M.D., as Commissioner of Health Services for the Church. Dr. Mason, deputy director of the National Communicable Diseases Center in Atlanta, Georgia, took over his new position in September, 1970.

A new Board of Trustees was called for HSC by the Presiding Bishop and the Governing Board of McKay-Dee was reorganized into a nine-member board with Stake President Albert L. Bott as chairman and Lawrence T. Dee as vice-chairman.

Contributions began to flow into the very successful Foundation. A special procedures operating room was endowed by Mrs. Clark Rich and her daughters in memory of their husband and father, Clark L. Rich, M.D.

Mrs. Margaret Dee Higginbotham made a $25,000 contribution to the Hospital. The new dining room in the Dee was named in her honor.

The J. Clyde Buehler family revealed plans to underwrite the construction of a helistop on the Hospital grounds close to the Emergency Room entrance.

The long-awaited mural for the lobby of the McKay was unveiled in special ceremonies on February 5, 1971. Mr. and Mrs. Norman B. Bingham and their children, donors of the mural, and artist Lorin Folland of Salt Lake City took part in the program. The mural is based on the philosophies of LDS Church President David O. McKay, as exemplified in his writings.

Family Practice Residency

Six young doctors began three-year family practice residencies on July 1. Dr. George F. Snell, a family practitioner from Kaysville, was named to direct the University of Utah program at McKay-Dee.

The new residency ended the well-established internship program begun at the Dee in 1912, which trained some of Utah's finest physicians.

The Hospital helistop was officially opened on July 28 when donors Clyde and Eleanor Buehler were flown onto the pad by Key Airlines. Ceremonies were held on a warm afternoon in the shade of the Engineering building adjacent to the landing spot.

The first open heart surgery performed in the Ogden area was done at the McKay during November. Establishment of the unit and training of 40 perfusionists to operate the heart-lung by-pass pump were approved by the Governing Board after a comprehensive study by a medical staff and administration committee demonstrated a community need for the service. With three qualified thoracic surgeons on the staff, it was no longer necessary for patients to go to Salt Lake City for this life-saving surgery.

New Dee Opens

The new Dee Hospital was opened in special ceremonies on the afternoon of November 10, 1971 -- the 127th anniversary of the birth of Thomas D. Dee, in whose memory the original Dee Hospital was founded in 1910.

Thomas D. Dee II, speaking to some 200 members of the Hospital family and community leaders who gathered in Barker-Higginbotham Halls for the ceremonies, pledged the Dee family's continuing support.

With the opening of the new Dee, a new principle of patient care was introduced to the community. Called "Multi-Level Care," it was designed to admit the patient to the exact level of care required by the intensity of his illness and to provide him with the exact amount of professional and technological support he needs to overcome that illness.

In May, 1972, the Hospital was shaken when Mr. Knapp, administrator for 21 years, was named Associate Commissioner for Health Services Corporation, the hospital-operating entity of the LDS Church. A well-qualified successor, Kenneth C. Johnson, was transferred from Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City to become administrator of McKay-Dee.

Mr. Johnson began the first major remodeling project in the McKay early in 1973 on the second floor. It included addition of two more private labor rooms for a total of ten, and all labor rooms were enlarged to accommodate fetal heart monitoring equipment. The capacity of the Intensive Care Nursery was increased to eight isolettes, and a high risk delivery room was created adjacent to the ICN. A recovery area for mothers following delivery was added in the post-partum wing, and a fathers' waiting room was built. Total cost of the remodeling was $250,000.

Green Auditorium Gift

Mrs. Edith Dee Mack Green, one of the Hospital's surviving founders, celebrated her 90th birthday on May 3, by giving $250,000 to build an auditorium and learning center complex on the B-level of the McKay.

Not more than six months later, her sons, Wade and Harold Mack and her granddaughter, Dee Ann Nye, memorialized the Physical Therapy department to their brother and father, Glen Dee Mack. Mrs. Nye followed this gift later by memorializing the Speech Pathology area to her son, Scott, who was killed in a climbing accident.

The area's first physiatrist, John M. Bender, M.D., joined the Hospital-based physician staff on July 1, 1974, to direct a new physical medicine and rehabilitation program, based in the Dee Hospital.

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