One of the last tasks Toni Rae Gaskill had at the old Good Samaritan hospital was to hand draw maps for the ambulances so they could find the new hospital from the old location near the Oregon State University campus.
That was in 1975 almost a year to the day when she delivered her second child, Myranda at Good Samaritan Hospital Harrison Boulevard location. On the day of the move, Gaskill, an admitting clerk, drew the maps and distributed them to awaiting ambulance crews and Army National Guard medics who were transporting the 78 patients to rooms in the new $13.5 million hospital.
Gaskill recalls arriving at the new hospital and finding some new conveniences. One Gaskill said was a call transfer system to replace the plug-in switchboard of the old reception desk.
“Oh, that was just exciting,” said Gaskill who also noted it was challenging finding rooms in the bigger facility.
Gaskill hand drew maps for each Oregon Army National Guard driver assisting in the move to the new hospital.
Babies were escorted by nurses on their ride to the new hospital while moms rode in separate ambulances.
Now more than 55 years after starting at Good Samaritan, Gaskill reflects on those days while sitting in her daughter, Myranda “Mandy” Clark’s office nestled in a hallway behind Good Sam’s admissions office. Mandy is the Regional Operations Manager of Patient Access for the GSRMC and SAGH sites.
“I was in Admitting at the old hospital, and now Mandy is in Admitting, I think that’s pretty cool,” said Gaskill.
“I always feel really happy to know that people know my mom,” said Clark. “They’ll be like, Toni was your mom. Oh my gosh. She had a good reputation.”
“We were excited to get in a new place,” Gaskill recalled. “The old hospital’s makeup was a bit different. Admitting was right by the business office where they did the cashiering.”
When working evening shifts Gaskill would round patient floors and log in the daily Medicare information.
“At times I would be the emergency room secretary at night,” said Gaskill. “That was fun working with the nurses and the doctors.”
Rules were different back then recalls Gaskill, doctors would walk around the hospital smoking cigarettes. An article in the 1987 Gazette-Times noted that the hospital board of directors voted to ban all smoking in hospital areas on March 1 of that year with the exception made for “patients who have their physician’s permission.”
Gaskill transferred from Good Samaritan after working in IS ushering in the electronic health records system Epic. Gaskill retired from Samaritan working her last position in the front office of Samaritan OB/GYN in Albany.
The accounting office in the old Good Samaritan hospital, circa early 1970s.
Gaskill’s daughter Mandy started at Samaritan as a unit clerk in 2000 a year after her son Max was born at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Mandy transferred to admitting in 2013 and during COVID was promoted to her current position.
“It’s so nice seeing Mandy, where she started and where she’s come,” said Gaskill. “She just truly loves her job.”
In the final in person orientation before the pandemic Max Clark entered the Good Samaritan family as a unit clerk on the third floor just like his mother, Mandy, 20 years earlier. Max’s wife, Annie also works for Samaritan in Albany.
“It made me so proud,” said Mandy. “I was a unit clerk for twelve years on the second floor on Two Center.”
Since then, Max has transferred to work at Samaritan physical therapy clinic in Albany.
“I’ve been and feel roots here,” said Mandy. “Max was born here and my daughter Hailey too. I think that’s why I just love it so much — there are there’s just so many connections that make me know that I love it. I am happy to come here.
On a wall behind the enclosed information desk in the Good Samaritan lobby is the painting of a fishing troller motoring off into the sunset. It was a painting Gaskill created while in high school. You can see the old painting in the accompanying color photo of Max, Mandy and Toni.
Gaskill wanted to toss the painting out, but Mandy rescued it to hang at Samaritan.
“Prior to that, the painting also hung at my grandma and grandpa’s home for a while,” said Clark. Both her grandparents spent their last days at Samaritan before they passed away.
Clark also met her significant other at Good Sam.
Samaritan family has been part of life, death and recovery for Clark and her family.
“My daughter was diagnosed here with type one diabetes,” said Clark. “We have all these layers of happy and sad things that we think about.”
“I don’t know the word, it’s not palpable,” said Clark. “But I feel the love when I walk in here. And that’s why I think of patients and registration as my favorite department, we get to introduce people into the hospital or welcome them in.”
“I pretend everybody’s my mom, no matter who they are, and I just think, how would they want to be treated?”
Watch for more articles about Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center as we celebrate 75 years of service to the mid-Willamette Valley and central Oregon coast.