St. Clair Hospital HouseCall _Vol V Issue 4

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St. Clair Hospital’s community newsletter sharing new medical technologies, patient stories and health tips. This special issue celebrates the Hospital's 60 years of exceptional care with a look back at how a community vision came to life.

Transcript of St. Clair Hospital HouseCall _Vol V Issue 4


    St. Clair Hospital marks its 60th anniversary with a timeline and reflections on how the Hospital has changed lives and the community.inside

    60Years AgoA Community Vision

    Came to Life


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    The history of St. Clair Hospital is distinctive.

    This is not a hospital that was built solely by banks,

    foundations and corporations, but by ordinary

    people who wanted a hospital of their own,

    close to home. On this anniversary, we remember

    the volunteers who went door-to-door soliciting

    donations, the children who sold flowers, the womens groups

    who united to form an extraordinarily effective auxiliary, and

    the business leaders who volunteered their expertise. Imagine

    the joy and pride they all felt when, after years of fundraising,

    St. Clair Hospital opened its doors in February 1954.

    In these pages, we celebrate St. Clairs achievements, in pictures

    and words, and there is much to celebrate: six decades of

    expansions, innovations, improvements and awards. The spirit of

    this special Hospital is evident: the dedication to excellence, the

    responsiveness to community need, and the humanity of the

    physicians, nurses and caregiving staff.

    In 60 years, St. Clair has come far, from a small general hospital

    offering medical-surgical, maternity and emergency care to a

    highly honored, independent, acute care medical center with

    328 beds and five satellite locations, offering advanced, high-quality

    care in multiple specialties, including heart, oncology, orthopaedics,

    mental health, womens and childrens services, stroke care, and

    more. St. Clairs evolution mirrors the history of the South Hills;

    the Hospital expanded its reach into northern Washington County

    and the western Allegheny County suburbs to keep pace with

    population growth, and innovated to keep pace with medical

    advancements, all to improve the lives of its patients. Change has

    been constant at St. Clair, a sign of health and vitality.

    Celebrating 60YEARSof qualitycare, growth, and medical innovations

    This aerial photo of St. Clair Hospitals main campus in Mt. Lebanon shows how the Hospital has grown since it was originally built in 1954.

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    Great Vision and Tenacity Inspire a Community

    Arthur S. Haines, M.D., a Mt. Lebanon physician, beginshis campaign for a hospital in South County as the SouthHills was then known. Dr. Haines was concerned aboutthe healthcare needs of this surging population, and hehad an idea: to build a hospital to serve the South Hillsresidents, in their own community. Pittsburgh had plentyof good hospitals, but the people of the South Hills hada disadvantage. Getting to those hospitals was difficult,especially in emergencies, and time consuming, as traffic tended to bottleneck at the tunnels. It could take45 minutes to drive to the city hospitals. To Dr. Haines,this was unacceptable. He met with local leaders andheld community meetings, and before long, he wasleading a coalition of like-minded people. It would take

    almost 10 years, with setbacks and obstacles along the way.Haines never gave up. He was a man of both vision and tenacity.His vision inspired an entire community and his tenacity madethe vision a reality.


    A community vision comes

    to life.A group of devoted

    volunteers begins work to build a hospital.

    PITTSBURGH, IN 1944. A nationat war and a city at work. Pittsburgh wasa booming manufacturing center and factorieslined the riverbanks. The city was bursting at theseams, and inevitably, people began moving to theoutskirts, where there was space, clean air andthe promise of new modern housing.

    That movement started in the 20s and 30s withthe development of the automobile and bus. To accommodate these vehicles, Allegheny Countybegan building roads in the city and out into thenew suburbs. The so-called South County regionwas slow to develop, however, as it was not easilyaccessed there was that massive obstacleknown as Mt. Washington. South County, therefore,was considered the country a bucolic region of large farms and coal fields, with rollinghills dotted by grazing cattle, and few paved roads.

    That changed with the construction of the LibertyTunnels and Bridge in the mid-20s, which openedup South County and triggered its dramatic trans-formation from farm community to residentialsuburb. The tunnel and the new roads paved theway, and the people came: from 2,258 in 1920 to45,000 in 1936. Housing developments, schools,churches and businesses replaced the farms, andcommunities were born. In the 40s, post-warprosperity and returning soldiers, eager to havehomes and families, fostered further development.By 1944, the population of the South Hills hadswelled to more than 104,000.

    C E L E B R A T I N G

    Y E A R S

    1 9 5 4 - 2 0 1 4

    The first meeting

    at Mt. Lebanon

    Presbyterian Church

    attracts 22 community


  • Planning BeginsPlanning for St. Clair Memorial Hospital

    begins in 1944. The name honors

    Arthur St. Clair, a patriot, statesman,

    and Revolutionary War general, who

    became president of the Continental

    Congress during the period of the

    Articles of Confederation, making him,

    in effect, the president of the United

    States. A charter for a non-profit

    corporation is obtained.

    A Location is SecuredNearly two dozen sites are considered forthe new Hospital. Local businessman andcivic leader Arthur Silhol, recognizing theneed for the Hospital, agrees to purchase

    a 30-acre plot of land on Bower Hill Road

    and hold it until there is adequate funding

    to buy the land and build the Hospital there.

    The Community Comes TogetherA group of 40 women, representing various service

    clubs, meets with Dr. Haines to form an auxiliary

    to raise money for the Hospital. With 28 vanguard

    members, the Womens Hospital Auxiliary sets

    up shop in the Washington School in Mt. Lebanon

    and launches a colossal effort called Together

    We Can Do It. Fundraising efforts include bake

    sales, raffles, card

    parties and fashion

    shows. Children

    participate by

    selling flowers.

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    AREA POPULATION BOOMS!The areas population rises dramatically as soldiers returnfrom World War II; many move to the South Hills area and start families.

    1920 1936 1944




  • Construction BeginsAfter years of planning and fundraising, ground is broken onBower Hill Road on October 20,1951 and Hospital constructionbegins.

    First Hospital Administrator Takes PostCourtland E. Chandlee is named first Hospital Administrator.

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    Women's Auxiliary Harlequin Ball to Raise FundsThe first Harlequin Ball is held October 29, 1954, beginning a 50-year tradition with this highly successful fundraising event. The Womens Auxiliary membership swells to 1,000 members.

    A new hospital is born.

    And the numberof patients exceedsall expectations.

    The Building Cornerstone is LaidThe cornerstone for the Hospital

    is laid on May 23, 1953 by local

    civic leaders. The front lobby

    features a bronze plaque honoring

    the soldiers of World War II,

    donated by Arthur and Sara Silhol.

  • A Grand Openingfor Patients and the CommunitySt. Clair Hospital opens February 22,

    1954 with 104 beds and 35 bassinets.

    The new ultra-modern hospital is the

    first in the region to have piped-in

    oxygen and a voice intercom

    in every room. Over 10,000

    people come to the open

    house and police are needed

    to direct traffic.

    Patients FirstOn February 22, 1954 two-year-old

    Antonietta Daris arrives as the first

    patient, several hours before the doors

    are due to open. The staff admits her

    and treats her for an infection.

    On February 23, Mary Clair Barszczowski

    is the first baby born at St. Clair; her

    middle name marks the occasion.

    Population Boom Creates Need for ExpansionIn just two years, St. Clair is operating at capacity, treating

    50 percent more patients than two years earlier. At its

    current size, the Hospital can barely accommodate the

    explosive growth of the South Hills the population has

    more than tripled in a 20-year period.

    An expansion is urgently needed

    and another $600,000 is raised,

    culminating in a new wing housing

    an additional 40 beds and offering

    new services.

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    First Year Exceeds All Expectations4,500 patients are admitted, 1,200 babies

    are born and 8,500 are treated in the ER,

    immediately validating the great need for

    the Hospital. The Hospital reaches full

    occupancy within months. The medical

    staff numbers 120 physicians.

    Caring NursesIn addition to their regularclinical duties, nurses continue to cook and serve all meals to patients.

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    Expansions meet new needs of