A 1910 train wreck and 1913 flood forced Middletown residents to seek medical treatment in Cincinnati or Dayton and led community leaders on a mission to ensure the community had its own hospital.
Their efforts led to Middletown Hospital, which opened its doors March 5, 1917 as a 28-bed facility, an occasion celebrated Sunday at the 328-bed facility that continues its legacy, Premier Health’s Atrium Medical Center.
Being in existence for 100 years has given the hospital “a tremendous view” on the services its been able to provide to the community over the past century, said Atrium Medical Center President Michael Uhl during a private reception marking the milestone.
“It gives us a lot of other experiences that we’re able to build upon and continue to figure out how we continue to provide outstanding high-quality services to the community of Middletown and all of our surrounding communities, and what additional technologies and advancements we need to bring,” Uhl said. “There’s a lot we can learn from our past history, in terms of what we experience today and also there’s a lot of history that allows us to figure out our strategies moving forward. “
Sunday’s reception followed a fall 2016 gala that helped kick off the hospital’s 100th anniversary celebrations, which continue this summer as the hospital celebrates with the communities it serves as a sponsor of Middletown’s fireworks display, scheduled for July 3 at Smith Park.
Live music will be provided at the event by Broad Street Bash.
Sponsoring the fireworks celebrates not just the hospital’s 100-year investment in the community, but also “great things in the city of Middletown,” Uhl said.
City Manager Doug Adkins said Middletown is fortunate to have “a great corporate partner” in Atrium Medical Center and Mayor Larry Mulligan said the hospital is a “valuable, integral part of the community.”
“Middletown would not be the same without the hospital here and we look forward to another 100 years with them,” Mulligan said.
Chris Goforth, a great-great grandson of the Gardners, one of the hospital’s founding families, said its important for people to be involved with Atrium Medical Center by dedicating their ideas, time or money to its continued success.
“It makes you part of the community and you know that by being part of it, you can help out others,” Goforth said. “You might be able to help somebody that day that, (by) your volunteering, that didn’t have the time maybe to get help for dealing with an issue.”
The hospital’s longevity is “a great testament” to the previous generations who saw a problem and banded together to find a solution to not only correct the situation but set a path for it to be successful 100 years later, said Rick Pearce, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe & Trenton.
“If you transported them now to this date, could they even fathom what this facility is and what does and all the services it offers?” Pearce said.
Atrium, by being in “the people business” and “the caring business,” sets a great example and could influence other long-term area companies to be more community minded, he said.
Marcia Jones, who started a 35-year career as a X-ray technician at the hospital in 1964, said she never thought she’d witness the hospital’s presence in the community reach the century mark.
“I’m glad I came here today,” said Jones, who has been a hospital volunteer for about 12 years. “I’ve seen a lot of improvements here and it means that they are trying to really bring this hospital … comparable to what we have in Cincinnati and Dayton. This hospital is there. It’s there. I see it coming in here when we do the volunteer work.”