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Wilkes-Barre General Hospital History

1870 DOCTORING UP THE COMMUNITY
Nine Wilkes-Barre physicians meet and claim that the town and outlying areas need BETTER surgical and medical care.

1872 INSPIRATION BY ACCIDENT
Several coal mining accidents occur, and a number of miners die because of insufficient medical care. This unfortunate episode prompts the community to hasten their efforts to create a hospital.

1872 THE GROUND FLOOR
A group of leading Wilkes-Barre citizens meet in the home of ex-Governor Henry M. Hoyt. Their mission: to lay the groundwork for construction of a new Wilkes-Barre hospital.

1875 REAL ESTATE MAKES IT ALL REAL
John W. Hollenback, a successful local business leader, donates 4 acres of land for the site of the new hospital. This land, on River Street, is the hospital's site to this very day. Construction begins.

1876 OPEN WITH A VIEW TOWARD EXCELLENT HEALTH CARE
Wilkes-Barre City Hospital officially opens. Community residents herald its "commanding view of the most interesting part of Wyoming Valley."

1887 NURSING THE COMMUNITY
The hospital's Nurse Training School opens and offers a three-year course of study.

1902 X-RAYS MARK THE SPOT
The hospital opens an X-ray department. During the first year of operation, the unit admits 72 patients for "radiographs."

1920 GROWING UP...WITHOUT GROWING PAINS
By now, the hospital has grown into several new buildings consisting of patient wards, medical services and a prominent nursing school. Volunteers, spearheaded by the Ladies Auxiliary (otherwise known as The Board of Managers), are responsible for much of the ongoing growth and activity.

1925 'THE GENERAL' ARRIVES
The hospital officially changes its name to that for which it has been known for over 80 years – Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

1959 NEWER, BIGGER, BETTER
The hospital's original (and now obsolete) buildings are razed. In their place, a single modern hospital structure is erected. Among the new facilities is a Poison Control Center.

1963 GONE FISSION
The Nuclear Medicine Department is opened.

1964 INTENSIVE IMPROVEMENT
Intensive Care and Electroencephalogram units are opened.

1966 CORONARY CARE FOR YOU
The Chest Clinic and a Coronary Care Unit are opened.

1968 EMERGENCE OF THE ER
The hospital adds a 24-hour Emergency Room.

1970 BUILDING UPON SUCCESS
The hospital's administrative departments are expanded and modernized. Another major building phase begins.

1972 INUNDATED BECAUSE OF THE FLOOD
The hospital serves as a major hub for disaster relief after flood waters (from Hurricane Agnes) inundate the community. People pour in for a wide range of treatments, including typhoid and tetanus inoculation.

1974 FIRST IN CANCER CARE!
The Cancer Treatment Center opens, and the nursing school graduates its final class.

1981 THE BEST IN THE EAST
The East Tower is opened.

1984 THE CENTER OF IT ALL
The Center for Intensive Care & Surgery, a three-floor, 45,000 square-foot addition to the hospital's north side, is opened.

1987 THE HOSPITAL WITH HEART
Introduction of the hospital's Cardiac Surgery program, which later comes The Heart and Vascular Institute.

1992 MERGER
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Nesbitt Memorial Hospital merge to form Wyoming Valley Health Care System.

2001 TRANSITION OF SERVICES
All acute care services at Nesbitt Memorial Hospital – including labor and delivery, the nursery and pediatrics – relocate to an expanded and improved Nesbitt Women's and Children's Center at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

2006 THE FACE OF HEALTH CARE CHANGES QUICKLY
Three major initiatives are unveiled:

  • The Center for Advanced Surgery at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital – the region's most advanced minimally invasive surgery program – is formed.
  • IMRIS – the world's first dual-use interoperative MRI becomes part of the Center for Advanced Surgery's leading edge technology.
 
  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital
575 North River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18764
(570) 829-8111
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