Chester County Hospital first opened its doors in 1892 as a small ten-bed dispensary located just a few hundred yards from its current location. Founded by members of the community and as Chester County’s first hospital, it ultimately became a leading healthcare provider and a referral center for patients needing care for heart and vascular disease, cancer, orthopaedics, maternal and child health and many other services.
1892 - A charter was granted to the founds of the West Chester Hospital on September 12, 1892.
1893 - The hospital opened in March 1893 with just five patient beds.
- The hospital's first surgery was performed on March 1894 on patient Benjamin Bush. Bush was discovered lying near the railroad tracks with both legs badly mangled. His legs were amputated and against the odds of the time he survived. This case strengthened community support for the new hospital.
- The Women's Auxiliary was organized.
1894 - The Nursing School opened.
1895 - The main building of the original hospital was completed.
1896 - Men's and Women's wards were added to the hospital.
1897 - Laboratories were added to the hospital.
1904 - The Contagious Ward was erected to provide separate quarters for patients with infectious diseases.
1905 - An X-Ray Department opened treating 48 patients in its first year.
1908 - The Children's Ward and the Maternity Ward were added to the hospital.
1914 - Despite the advances in the physical growth of the hospital it was in need of larger and more modern facilities.
In 1918, philanthropist Pierre S. du Pont, saddened by the death of friend and employee Lewes A. Mason, donated more than one million dollars to build a hospital in Mr. Mason's memory. The new hospital, Italian Renaissance in style, opened in 1925 with 145 beds. Through the years, the hospital expanded with the addition of new wings and key facilities to keep pace with both the advances in medical technology and the needs of its patients.
We are grateful to the Hagley Museum and Library and the many individuals who loaned or donated photographs to the Hospital Archives.
1918 - Mr. Lewes A. Mason, a personal employee of Mr. Pierre S. du Pont, was among the people who contracted influenza during the 1918 pandemic of the Spanish Flu. The flu claimed Mr. Mason's life in 1918.
- Appreciative of the good care the physicians at Chester County Hospital gave his good friend and employee Mr. du Pont donated a $1,000,000.00 gift as a lasting tribute to Mr. Mason. In memoriam, a large gold seal was inlayed in the floor of the oldes part of the hospital. It reads, "Erected in 1924 to the memory of Lewes A. Mason - 1896-1918."
1923 - It was decided that an entirely new hospital facility was the only suitable means of expanding and modernizing the hospital.
1924 - Ground was broken for the new hospital on March 20, 1924.
1925 - The new hospital, Italian Renaissance in style, opened in 1925 with 145 beds.
The Cardiology Department was founded.
The hospital admitted 2,013 patients.
A wing on the west side of the hospital opened on May 8, 1931.
1955 - Three patient care wings were built.
- The hospital admitted 5,774 patients, with a staff of 255 employees and a medical staff of 55 physicians.
The Rhoads Education building was opened. Named in honor of Emily C.S. Rhoads for her dedication to the School of Nursing through her service to the hospital Board of Mangers and the Nursing Committee.
- The Chester County Hospital School of Nursing achieved full accrediation from the National League of Nursing, a validation of the high scholastic standards set by the School.
The West Wing as we know it today was added.
1975 - A new Emergency Room was opened.
1979 - Intensive Care and Coronary Care Units were built.
The first paramedic unit in Chester County, Medic 91, went into service.
The addition of the North Pavilion provided new Obstetrics, Nursery and Pediatric units. The North Pavilion was dedicated to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Pierre S. du Pont. This state-of-the-art addition houses many of the Hospital's inpatient units, as well as some of the most advanced equipment in Radiology and Emergency Medicine.
Through a unique partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, Chester County Hospital, together with its physician specialists in medical oncology, formed The Cancer Center of Chester County. In what would be foreshadowing, the goal was to build a premier cancer program which would provide the latest in clinical trials, research and treatment.
Since its founding, Chester County Hospital has provided a full range of services for women, including a Maternal/Infant Health Program. During the 1990’s, the hospital partnered with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to provide Neonatal Intensive Care and a full service inpatient pediatric unit to Chester County. Both are staffed full time by specialists and physicians with clinical appointments at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The hospital became the first in the county to perform cardiac catheterizations.
The hospital opened the NICU.
The Cancer Center of Chester County was established.
The Fern Hill Medical Campus opened. A full range of services, including a Radiology center and a Physical Rehabilitation Program, continue to provide diagnostic, orthopaedic care and specialty programs in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.
- Parke Maternity Center opened featuring a 12-bed NICU.
Chester County Hospital marked the establishment of an innovative, comprehensive program in the lifetime management of cardiovascular disease in 2001.
The CardioVascular Center became the first full service Interventional Cardiac and Open Heart Surgery Program in Chester County. The first Open Heart surgery was performed in September of 2001.
The Wound Care Center opened at Fern Hill.
Chester County Hospital became the first and only NICU in the county to receive Level III designation.
2007 - Congestive Heart Failure Telemonitoring Program was founded.
The hospital performed its 1,000th Open Heart Surgery.
- The hospital became the first in Pennsylvania to receive six certifications from the Joint Commission.
- The A-Fib center opened.
- The hospital was designated a primary stroke center.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was introduced.
The Women’s Specialty Center opened at Fern Hill. Here, patients with breast and gynecological cancers are treated in one convenient location, with diagnostic Radiology, Laboratory Services, and Genetic Counseling just steps away.
The hospital’s acumen in technology was recognized when we received the Innovators Award from Healthcare Informatics Magazine.
- The hospital went smoke free.
- The Breast Program received accreditation by the National Program of Breast Centers.
2011 marked the retirement of the hospital’s beloved President H.L. Perry Pepper. Known by his trademark bow tie and called Mr. Pepper by all, Perry was one of the longest tenured hospital presidents in the state of Pennsylvania. For 34 years his insight, his vision and his compassion shaped the hospital he held so dear, into what it is today.
Mike Duncan succeeded Perry and embraced the uniquely personal culture of the hospital. Mike committed to preserving, what he calls, our “Secret Sauce” while continuing the hospital’s tradition of healthcare innovation for our community. In becoming President, Mike also instilled infused a new business philosophy: Love people. Expect excellence.
2011 - The Robotics Program was launched.
- Thomas Reurters recognized Chester County Hospital as one of the nation's Top Cardiovascular Hospitals.
- The hospital adopted the ICARE Values; Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence.
The addition of the Lasko Tower was initiated.
After a long and comprehensive search, Chester County Hospital became part of Penn Medicine in September of 2013.
The integration would bring with it the introduction of expanded clinical subspecialty offerings and the completion of the Lasko Tower.
For patients needing treatment only available in Philadelphia, their care is carefully coordinated with our downtown colleagues with most follow-up care provided here, at home.
2013 - The Lasko Tower was completed.
- Radiation Oncology brought the state-of-the-art True Beam Linear Accelerator on-line.
- An increase in patient volumes in the Emergency Department spurred a re-engineered way to triage patients. When arriving, patients would now see a provider upon registration. Tests and treatments would be administered at the initial point of contact to decrease waiting times.
Chester County Hospital achieved Magnet® recognition as a reflection of its nursing professionalism, teamwork, and superiority in patient care. Years in the making, the distinction was a crowning achievement for our Nurses and Nursing leadership.
Chester County Hospital expanded its reach to Southern Chester County in 2015 when it opened its new satellite location Penn Medicine Southern Chester County. Located on 45 acres, the site provides full service healthcare – and a soon to be outpatient surgical center – to residents living in Oxford, Avondale and beyond.
2015 - Chester County Hospital's cancer program officially became the Abramson Cancer Center, a proud member of Penn Medicine's prominence as a world leader in cancer treatment and research.
2016 - The hospital received national recognition for its commitment to quality. U.S. News and World Report ranked Chester County Hospital 6th in the Philadelphia region and 12th in the state. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the hospital a 5 star rating - achieved by only 2% of hospitals nationwide - and the Leapfrog Group’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel recognized the hospital with an “A” Grade for Safety.
- PennChart was launched. This platform will allow Penn Medicine to further provide coherent and comprehensive patient care across all of its entities while delivering a consistent and outstanding experience to our patients.
- The Robotics Program reached its 2,000th case milestone.
- The hospital added a parking garage. The hospital's lot can now accommodate more than 1,000 cars.