Mt. Carmel St. Ann's Hospital is 100 years old
by Janice Piscitelli
Mt. Carmel Health Systems
Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Bishop Frederick Campbell will celebrate a Mass marking the centennial at noon Friday, June 27, at the hospital, 500 S. Cleveland Ave., Westerville.
The hospital began as an infant asylum and home for unwed mothers, a vision realized by Bishop James J. Hartley. Msgr. J.R. Goldschmidt, a priest of the Columbus Diocese, purchased and donated property across from the old St. Vincent’s Orphanage (now St. Vincent Family Center) at Bryden Road and Kelton Avenue.
The Sisters of St. Francis, who already were in charge of the orphanage, agreed to provide staff members. Funds were raised by the diocese to build the structure, which Bishop James Hartley blessed and dedicated on June 14, 1908.
During its first year, the St. Ann’s Foundation was formed, and many auxiliaries and guilds were organized to support the charitable works of the sisters.
Twenty-five unwed mothers delivered babies at the hospital in its first year. Most mothers chose to give their children up for adoption. Children who were not adopted stayed at St. Ann’s until age six, when they would make their first Communion and “graduate” across the street from St. Vincent’s to begin elementary school.
St. Ann’s closed its infant asylum in 1964 and the home for unwed mothers the following year. The Sisters of St. Francis staffed St. Vincent’s Orphanage until 1994.
St. Ann’s Maternity Hospital opened in 1920 and welcomed the births of 240 infants. By 1950, the hospital was known as St. Ann’s Hospital for Women, with a renovation that included 40 maternity beds and 20 gynecologic beds.
The hospital received approval to begin a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology in 1953. Three years later, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology granted approval for a three-year combined residency program between White Cross (now Riverside Methodist) Hospital and St. Ann’s to train resident physicians in obstetrics and gynecology.
The Ohio State University College of Medicine began sending medical students to St. Ann’s for ob-gyn experience in 1965. In 1976, orthopedic residents from Doctors Hospital began training at St. Ann’s.
Currently, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s has obstetrics residents from the OSU medical college. In July, the hospital will be home to the Mount Carmel family practice residency program.
St. Ann’s was the first central Ohio hospital to establish a cancer registry program, permit fathers into the delivery room, use fetal heart monitors, and employ physician assistants.
In 1972, the hospital opened admission to male patients. Through the 1970s, it expanded services to include a neonatal care unit, a psychiatric unit, and reconstructive orthopedic surgery.
The hospital moved to its current location, 500 S. Cleveland Ave. in Westerville, on July 17, 1984. Here it could offer emergency medicine, general surgery, intensive care, and other services to fully realize its evolution into a full-service community hospital.
Hospitals would begin to feel mounting pressures in the 1990s as labor shortages, declining government reimbursements, and rising costs would drive the creation of health care systems to ensure that the Catholic health care tradition would continue in Columbus.
In July 1995, St. Ann’s was acquired by the Mount Carmel Health System and the Mount Carmel name was added to the hospital.
In 2001, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s expanded its emergency and intensive care services. Last year, more than 73,000 patients were treated in its emergency room. Its new maternity pavilion was added in 2003. Last year, more than 4,800 babies were delivered at the hospital. Surgery and radiology additions were completed in 2005.
“The expansion of Mount Carmel St. Ann’s is in keeping with the growing needs of the community, as well as our commitment to be an excellent full-service community hospital,” said Janet Meeks, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s president and chief operating officer.
“This centennial year has given us a chance to reflect on our wonderful Catholic heritage, the way we always have adapted to meet the needs of the community, and how we will continue to fulfill our mission into the next 100 years.”