Dr. M.E. Corbett
Dr. M. E. Corbett was one of the first surgeons to come to Oshkosh. He secured a small frame building on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Hazel Street and named it Lakeside Sanatorium.
When St. Mary’s, the first full service hospital in Oshkosh, was completed in 1895, Dr. Corbett was on its staff. However, he left St. Mary’s in 1912 to open Lakeside Hospital, a brand new facility on Hazel Street facing Menominee Park and Lake Winnebago. It was considered practically fireproof in its day and featured the latest equipment in its operating room.
According to Sister M. Thomasina, "Dr. Corbett bought this place because it was so beautifully located near the lake. To make his hospital attractive, he bought the best of everything – the most expensive and the finest he could find on the market. Another proof of how he tried to outshine St. Mary’s are the beautiful shrubs all over the premises, for which he spent about $5,000, even importing some from Canada."
However, Lakeside Hospital proved to be a money-losing proposition. In 1918, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother agreed to buy Lakeside Hospital, renaming it Mercy Hospital.
Sister M. Thomasina detailed the transition from Lakeside to Mercy: "The linens at Lakeside were all worn out, torn and dirty. It was a job to make order of the chaos. Rats and mice were without number! Because things had gotten so bad, Dr. Corbett couldn’t keep a cook anymore. Every day he had to look for another one. The nurses and others had to eat sauerkraut every day. For breakfast, each had two pancakes, but no bread."
After all his troubles, Dr. Corbett came back to the hospital he had built, to die. Sister M. Eleanora reported that "in his suffering he was very patient, and he died very peacefully." Mrs. Corbett, Father Rice, the hospital chaplain and a few Sisters were at his side when he died.