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Celebrating 100 Years of Care in the Magic Valley

By Michelle Bartlome, News and Community
June 18, 2018
Dr. Allan Frost is an ophthalmologist and historian for the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Oral History Project.

Documenting and recording history are important so future generations can remember and relate to times gone by.

For one Twin Falls resident, that effort is both personal and public; he’s enjoyed a trip down memory lane and created a library-worthy record of medical care in the Magic Valley, all at the same time.

“I have always been kind of interested in history,” said Dr. Allan Frost, an ophthalmologist and historian for the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Oral History Project.

“I think the oral history idea in general is a really interesting one, and I wish we could do more of this kind of thing,” he said. “I just think of what we have lost by not having these histories.”

Dr. Frost began the project in 2014. Since then, he has spent time with eight local providers, some of whom have since passed on, to share their stories.

His first interview, in 2014, was with Dr. Ben Katz, a long-time, beloved Twin Falls pediatrician. The conversation was the basis for the project.

“I was delighted to get Ben because it was a year or so before he died,” Dr. Frost said. “A little side benefit and Ben Katz is an example. His family didn’t know some of these details and they were delighted to have a copy of the recording and the transcription, so that was a fun part of it as well.”

The providers are chosen by Dr. Frost. Typically, they are retired physicians and nurses. In some cases, they don’t live in the area anymore.

For Dr. Frost, it’s been a lot of reminiscing.

“It’s been fun to talk to physicians about how medicine has changed throughout their careers, and it has changed a whole lot, including mine,” he said.

“Also, it’s fun to find out more about the circumstances of how they got here and who some of their colleagues were, what medical care was like at the time and it was a lot different in the outpatient and inpatient level.”

2018 is a special year for St. Luke’s as the organization takes part in celebrating 100 years of care in the Magic Valley.

“In 1918, there was this incredible epidemic of Spanish flu which involved this area as well,” said Dr. Frost. “I think in fact, it had something to do with the creation of the first hospital that the county was involved in.

“It’s remarkable when you look at the course of history over a century and what has happened and that is a reflection of what has gone on through much of the country,” he said. “We had a lot of advances.”

To learn more

To listen to the recordings from the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Oral History Project, visit the library on the lower level of St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls or the Twin Falls Public Library.

History of care

Twin Falls County Hospital opened in 1918.

By 1946, the need for an entirely new facility capable of housing more patients and modern medical equipment was unquestioned and a $1.25 million bond issue was passed.

In 1950, county voters approve a second bond issue, this time for $300,000, to build a new hospital. In 1951, Magic Valley Memorial Hospital opens.

In 1979, Hospital Board approves $26.7 million expansion project, essentially a complete remodel of the hospital and the addition of a new three-story wing.

In 1982, the renovation project completed; hospital changes its name to Magic Valley Medical Center.

In 2001, Magic Valley Medical Center and the Twin Falls Clinic and Hospital merge.

In 2006, Twin Falls County voters approve sale of hospital and St. Luke’s Health System was created. A new facility west of Twin Falls, St. Luke’s Magic Valley, opened in 2011.

St. Benedict’s integrated with St. Luke’s in 2011 and took on the new name of St. Luke’s Jerome.

Watch the video: Magic Valley’s oral history project

About The Author

Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.

Related Location

St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center
801 Pole Line Road W.
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 814-1000