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A glance through the decades of service

1928Downtown Cape Girardeau was thriving in the late 1920s, and Southeast Missouri Hospital was built at its western most edge.

January 8 - Dedication Day. 5,000 people crowded shoulder to shoulder on "hospital hill" to be a part of dedication ceremonies.

January 9 - Southeast Missouri Hospital opened its doors for business with $200 cash on hand. Guy Lowes, Southeast's first patient, checked in for a tonsillectomy.

January 17 - Rebecca Hahs Bollinger was the first baby born at the Hospital, and also the first occupant of one of Southeast's proudest possessions, its incubator.

September - X-ray technician Otto Mundorf loaded up his radiology gear and put it on display at the Southeast Missouri District Fair, along with an incubator and a crank hospital bed.


By 1930, more patients were utilizing Southeast; but the financial shock waves produced by the stock market crash of October, 1929, had rippled into the Midwest, and the number of charity cases began to soar. Nationwide, 31.4 percent of all hospital work was charity. Time and again, the community rallied to support its hospital. Individuals gave money out of their pockets or store cash registers to make sure the Hospital had everything from butter and meat to needles and syringes. Church groups stepped in, offering to can fruit and vegetables raised in the Hospital gardens.

Food came from many sources, including patients, unable to pay their bill, who brought live hens, a piglet or boxes of sweet corn and tomatoes in return for Hospital care. Some sources were not so usual - such as the time five hunters were apprehended with illegal game resulting in two contraband geese, two raccoons and 29 quail for the Hospital's cooking pots.

Although the financial problems of Southeast Missouri Hospital seemed at times insurmountable, records show that the board never refused at any time to add equipment that the medical staff saw as an improvement in patient care.

1937 - the Hospital Auxiliary was organized.

Financial Security and Growth ahead in 1940s-1960s