Department of Respiratory Care Services
UHC Respiratory History

In 1967, oxygen orderlies were hired for cleaning and maintaining oxygen-breathing equipment. Through on-the-job training, these oxygen orderlies became inhalation tech's. In 1968, Don McNeil began organizing a department consisting of four tech's, a team leader, and a director. Their primary responsibilities were to administer oxygen and intermittent positive pressure breathing treatments; and set up mist-tents, thermal blankets, and the only MA-1 ventilator that the hospital owned. 


The department’s original location was in the west wing of the basement floor (pharmacy’s current location.)  In 1984, the department moved to its current location on the second floor of the old adult hospital, which was previously the surgery department where Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first heart transplant in 1964.    


Along with formal and advanced education and developments in our international professional society, across the world our occupational titles and skills have evolved from being simple oxygen orderlies to performing as diverse health care team members currently called respiratory therapist.  Our Department of Respiratory Care continues to thrive and grow.  Today we have 80 full time employees providing 24-hour coverage to the hospital and clinics.  We are expanding our responsibilities while maintaining focus on our mission and vision.