Memorial Hospital is  celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, since   opening its doors on May 2, 1969. Memorial was founded by a group of local physicians and community leaders seeking to increase access to healthcare for Jacksonville residents. While many obstacles were encountered, Dr. Brooks Brown, Dr. Max Karrer, Dr. Frank Costanza, Dr. Herbert Burke,

Fran Sherman, I.M. Sulzbacher, John C. Galvin and Leo A. Brinkley, successfully built the much needed hospital.

Today, Memorial has emerged as a state-of-the-art, 353-bed, full-service, acute care medical facility.  Premier service lines include the Heart Center, Bariatric Surgery Center, Chest Pain Center and CyberKnife® Cancer Center, to name a few.

“Memorial has a rich history of being a proactive hospital, which allows us to remain at the forefront of medical advances,” James B. Wood, President & CEO of Memorial Hospital said. “There were so many firsts here, such as the first hospital to admit a patient via helicopter, the first laparoscopic surgery, the first accredited Chest Pain Center. I could go and on.”

Additionally, construction has occurred several times since 1969, the most recent is the new West Tower, scheduled to open in November 2009. This Tower will offer 72 private patient rooms, a new entrance, waiting areas and reception area. Further renovations throughout the hospital will include a new cafeteria and remodeling of all existing areas. The Heart Center renovation and expansion was recently completed and includes a new cath lab, a new EP lab with state-of-the-art 3D mapping software and 24 pre/post OP procedure rooms, a new entrance and waiting areas. This makes it the largest cath lab of any hospital in northeast Florida with five cath labs and two EP labs. The Heart Center at Memorial is also recognized as the busiest in northeast Florida with over 6,000 caths annually.

For the third consecutive year, the Bariatric Surgery Center at Memorial Hospital is the only HealthGrades 5-star rated weight-loss surgery center in northeast Florida. The Center is also recognized as a prestigious American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery - Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida Blue Distinction Center and an Aetna Preferred Provider. Memorial Hospital is consistently recognized as a leader for bariatric surgery in Florida and the nation. In 2008, over 800 patients from across the country chose Memorial Hospital for bariatric surgery, making it the largest program in the state of Florida.

The new Chest Pain Center, a unit of the Heart Center and the Emergency Department, was designed for patients who require further testing and treatment. Memorial’s Chest Pain Center met the American College of Cardiology standard of door-to-balloon time in less than 90 minutes – 100 percent of the time during the 4th quarter 2008.

Memorial’s CyberKnife® Cancer Center treated over 250 patients in 2008 using CyberKnife technology - making it the third busiest in the country. The CyberKnife at Memorial Hospital, under the guidance of Dr. Allison Grow, is also ranked as #1 in the world for the treatment of lung cancer using the state-of-the-art radiosurgery modality.

Memorial has developed an extensive team of more than 800 physicians, providing access to some of the area’s most highly qualified medical experts. Its employees are critical to its ongoing success. Memorial’s diverse and highly skilled work force of 1,800 employees embraces a common goal: to provide the community with the highest quality of healthcare possible. 

Memorial looks forward to continuing to grow with the community over the coming years, and being the hospital of choice for northeast Florida residents by continuing in the tradition of providing exceptional patient care.