St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital

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St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital

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The history of the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital began with the establishment in 1891 of its first predecessor institution, the Amasa Wood Hospital, named for its founder, the Elgin County philanthropist Amasa Wood. The Amasa Wood Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1892. When the City of St. Thomas required expanded hospital services following the First World War, the new Memorial Hospital was built in 1923-1924. Nursing education in the city continued under the auspices of the new hospital, under the name Memorial Hospital Training School for Nurses.

A further expansion of hospital services was required following the Second World War and, consequently, the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital was constructed, and opened on May 11, 1954. That same year the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital School of Nursing accepted its first students. Memorial Hospital continued to operate, as a chronic care unit of the new hospital. Beginning in the late 1950s, the hospital's School of Nursing facilities were modernized and expanded and re-opened in August, 1959 as the Dr. J.W. Snell School of Nursing.

In 1961, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital established a 10 year plan for enlarging and updating its facilities. Construction began in 1964. By 1966 a new paediatric wing, emergency department, radiology, physiotherapy and male surgery wing were added giving a total of 301 beds in the active unit, and in 1970 the hospital's Cardiac Unit opened. In 1974, the Province of Ontario transferred responsibility for nursing education from hospitals to community colleges. Beginning in 1975, the former St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital School of Nursing began operating as the St. Thomas campus of London, Ontario-based Fanshawe College.

The 1980s brought development of an ICU/CCU progressive care area with a bed capacity of thirteen, and the operating rooms were renovated, bringing the total of operating rooms to six, plus one recovery room. Major construction again took place in 1990, providing new space for Materials Management (including Central Stores and Central Supply), Rehabilitation Services and Long Term Care beds in the Continuing Care Centre (CCC). Patients were transferred to the new CCC from the old Memorial Hospital, which was then closed. Improvements in services continued through the 1990s, with advances in information technology and the addition of a CT Scanner, Bone Mineral Densitometer, Sleep Lab, and Mammography Suite.

The St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Archives was founded in 2000, with the assistance of hospital staff and volunteers including Donna Bethune, Mary Jane Doan, Susan Gordon, Steve Peters, Chris Stinson and Sue Wadley. The Archives was disbanded and its collection donated to the Elgin County Archives and Elgin County Museum in June, 2008.


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