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The Mayo clinic’s millionth patient

Updated: Aug 15, 2018

Is being a hospital’s one millionth patient an honour?

It was in January 1938, when Florence Lumsden of Salmo registered at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. as patient No. 1,000,000. The numbering system was inaugurated in 1907 by Dr. Henry S. Plummer.

(Wikipedia photo)

It’s not clear what Lumsden was being treated for, but according to a story in the Nakusp Silver Standard on March 3 of that year, she was “thrilled” and “very proud that the honour is putting her home town on the map.”

She and husband David spoke with a Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin reporter during a tour of the facility.

Mrs. Lumsden, Canadian housewife, like many others who have sought medical treatment here marveled at the system of examinations employed at the clinic. They certainly leave no doubt in one’s mind about the thoroughness of the examinations here, both Mr. and Mrs. Lumsden observed … As she and her husband with more visitors toured the building, she, like the others stood in the quiet of Plummer hall, gazing with admiration on the portraits of men who have brought distinction to the profession in the clinic.

“It’s simply wonderful,” Florence said. The story added that she had not yet told her friends in Salmo and Golden of the “unexpected honour” which had come to her.

I can’t add much except to say that David Lumsden was a truck driver. He was listed in the 1939 and 1940 civic directories as working for Salmo’s M.C. (Caddy) Donaldson. He was not listed from 1941 onward.

Florence died in Abbotsford on July 25, 1990, age 78. David died there as well on Oct. 18, 1991, age 83. I don’t know if they had any children.

Today the Mayo Clinic sees about 1.3 million people per year at its campuses in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona, and network of hospitals and clinics across Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

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