A look back through time: The history of Mayo Clinic

A look back through time: The history of Mayo Clinic

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(ABC 6 News) – It has been nearly one month since Rochester’s world-renown hospital, Mayo Clinic, announced it was undertaking a $5 billion dollar expansion plan throughout the Med City and now we are learning more about all of its accomplishments throughout its 160 years.

It all started in 1883, when a cyclone tore through Rochester and Olmsted County.

“Causing damage, trauma, you can imagine the injuries that people suffered,” explained Matt Dacy, the Director of Heritage Hall with Mayo Clinic. “Dr. William Mayo, the father of the Mayo brothers, was in charge of helping the wounded survivors and he needed help. That’s the number one lesson in healthcare, is that no one can do it alone, we need each other.”

Amid the carnage, it was a sister of the church who stepped forward alongside Mayo and proposed a plan.

“She came back with a vision, she said ‘we the sisters will build a hospital if you and your sons will work there,” explained Dacy.

Decades later, Sister Cashel Weiler joined the Mayo ranks when she was just 18 years old.

Cashel saw the miracle of modern medicine first-hand, including the discovery and invention of the heart monitor, now known as an electrocardiogram (EKG).

An innovation, people now see everyday.

“It went ‘beep, beep, beep’ and we had to listen to it and if started beeping [really fast], we had to go in the room and find out what was wrong,” said Cashel. “We thought it was marvelous.”

However, it was not discoveries like the invention of cortisone or the top secret research that brought WW2 pilots oxygen masks and a G-suit that stand out most for Cashel.

She says, it was the memories, including the ones that have been passed on for generations.

“When it got close to Christmas, the doctors, Mayo being one of them, would ski down the hill out here and the kids would watch out the window,” explained Cashel. “They would say, ‘here they come!’ and they would be yelling and so excited and everything.”

While famous doctors come and go, and buildings grow wider and taller, Cashel’s pride will stay forever.

“It is a real privilege to work in a place like the Mayo Clinic, with the doctors,” Sister Cashel said. “I am always amazed at how they are just here to give the best care they can to the patients and they want to help everybody else do the best job they can.”

This year’s $5 billion dollar expansion plan is something that Mayo Clinic staff say, even the Mayo brother’s themselves would have been proud of.

“They had a firm belief in the future and they would say ‘we have no desire to control what you do, we will give you ideas and values and then you run with it’,” said Dacy. “So, all of the things we are hearing about today, I think they would be smiling and saying ‘go for it’.”