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November 19, 2008 > Washington Hospital Commemorates 50 Years of Quality Care

Washington Hospital Commemorates 50 Years of Quality Care

Washington Hospital is a story of "firsts" - of pioneers who didn't hesitate to venture places where other community hospitals had not gone. It is also about leading edge health care as, over the years, Washington Hospital has provided the latest technology and highest level of care to serve the needs of our community.

Even before Washington Hospital opened its doors on November 24, 1958, residents who believed in the importance of high quality, locally-based health care were taking action. In 1948, when orchards and cauliflower fields still stretched across the landscape, Washington Hospital was merely a dream in the minds of a small group of civic-minded citizens. That year, thanks to an overwhelming majority vote, residents approved the creation of a hospital district that would later become known as Washington Township Health Care District.

On May 11, 1955, 75 women attended the first meeting of the newly established volunteer organization, the Washington Hospital Service League, which would go on to play a major role in supporting the hospital's growth to the present day. During the next decade, the Washington Hospital Medical Staff - with a total of nine physicians - was organized to care for 18,000 residents and plans were under way to build a 50-bed hospital. As the community grew rapidly around the hospital, early hospital leadership soon decided to increase capacity to a 150-bed facility.

For people in the Tri-City area, the hospital couldn't begin providing care soon enough. In fact, the doors were opened earlier than anticipated in response to the request of a local obstetrician so he could deliver Michaela Parrish, the first baby born at Washington Hospital.

In 1963, the opening of the hospital's Intensive Care Unit made it the first ICU west of the Mississippi River not affiliated with a larger teaching facility. Six years later, Washington Township residents approved a bond issue that would support construction of the six additional floors seen today and increase the number of beds from 150 to 265.

Today, Washington Hospital Healthcare System is a 359-bed acute care hospital that serves approximately 320,000 residents in Fremont, Newark, Union City, part of South Hayward and unincorporated Sunol.


New Avenues of Support

Over the years, as the hospital and the community grew, so did Washington's need for support. In 1983, the Washington Hospital Foundation was formed, with Don Amsbaugh as its first president. In 1987, The Foundation held its first Top Hat Dinner Dance to help raise funds for necessary equipment, projects and programs for the Washington Township Health Care District.


Expanding into the community

Expansion continued rapidly during the 1980s with the opening of the first community-based clinic in Fremont, followed in the next two years by three more clinics in Newark, Warm Springs and Union City.

Before the close of the decade, Mitchell John Thompson of Fremont would be the first baby born at the new Washington Birthing Center, the nation's largest freestanding facility, which would see 190 babies born in the center's first year. Five years later, the freestanding center would be incorporated into an upgraded unit on the hospital's second floor.

The 1990s saw a flurry of expansion, including the opening of the Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center and Outpatient Catheterization Laboratory in 1992. That year, the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors approved a $47.2 million, six-year expansion project that would increase Washington Hospital Healthcare System's main campus to 25 acres, including the purchase of the former Emporium Capwell department store at 2500 Mowry Avenue.

In 1995, Washington opened its new Level II Special Care Nursery in a partnership with Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital to serve newborns needing specialized care.

Three years later, the Washington West building opened and featured a number of outpatient services, including an expanded urgent care clinic, lymphedema clinic, Washington Clinic/Fremont, as well as the new Community Health Resource Library and expanded cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Just a year later in 1999, the Center for Joint Replacement opened, offering state-of-the-art services and pioneering minimally invasive hip surgery in the Bay Area. Today, the center's team of joint care specialists including Medical Director John Dearborn, M.D., are among the world's best in joint replacement, performing hundreds of successful total joint replacements each year using the most advanced surgical procedures available.


Innovative Services

In recent years, Washington Hospital's dedication to high quality, leading-edge medicine has led to the development of exciting new programs. Some of the hospital's newest additions, including the Washington Women's Center, Outpatient Imaging Center and Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute all began operating within Washington West.

In 2007, Washington Hospital's Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute began offering a comprehensive array of world-class programs to treat serious neurological disorders using minimally invasive techniques. The technological cornerstone of the Institute is the Leksell Gamma Knife(r) PerfexionTM, the gold standard worldwide for non-invasive, radiosurgical treatment of many conditions involving the head and neck.

Since opening in 2007, the Washington Women's Center has combined advanced diagnostic services and an expert clinical staff with a host of wellness and support programs for local women. An innovative program that has been especially beneficial is the Breast Care Conference, which offers a learning opportunity for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and their families to actively participate in their own care.

Washington Hospital's long-term vision is to keep providing the best possible health care to the community. So, as we enter the next 50 years of our history, you can expect that Washington Hospital will continue to embrace more exciting innovations and improvements to keep you and your family as healthy as possible.


Half a century of excellence

To see a complete history of Washington Township Health Care District visit www.whhs.com, click on "About Us" and select "Our History" from the drop-down menu. Click on "Services & Programs" to learn more about Washington Hospital's acclaimed programs and technology, including the American Diabetes Association certified Diabetes Education Program and the new Leksell Gamma Knife(r) Perfexion(tm), the most advanced non-invasive device for the treatment of brain disorders.

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