Indiana Hospital: 100 years of “family treating family”

By Jacob Zelmore

Hospital 1

Indiana Hospital Today

If you travel down Wayne Avenue heading towards IUP, you are sure to notice a rather large structure sitting on top of a hill. The building as we know it today is Indiana Regional Medical Center (IRMC) a regional based hospital that serves all of Indiana County. Though its appearance is rather large and powerful today, it has always been that way throughout time.

During the time of coal and powerful industry in Indiana, around the turn of the twentieth century, people began to take notice of a void in the community: A hospital was needed and in 1902 from the recommendation of a Grand Jury, the venture began..[1] The current hospital is not the first however; several other hospitals had appeared as ventures by local doctors whom also understood the need to have facilities to treat and care for people of the area in addition to the miners.[2] The creation of Indiana Hospital was a 12-year process with many ups and downs, which started in 1902. After 12 years, the current Indiana Hospital had opened its doors to the public. The hospital was made possible by the efforts of the Indiana County Hospital Association, the Adrian Iselin Family, and the community.[3] The Iselin family contributed forty thousand dollars towards the creation of the hospital, provided the citizens locate a site and then take charge of the hospital once it was built.   The citizens lived up to their word and Indiana Hospital opened their doors.

Hospital 2

The original hospital building is still in use today.

From the time of its opening, expansion and community investment have been major themes of creating Indiana Hospital’s identity. Indiana Hospital has continuously invested in the citizens of Indiana County by not only medical care, but by the Nursing School created in 1915 which educated women into nurses for the area and charity work done by the Auxiliary to invest in the hospital and community. The creation of the Mack wing in 1938, the 1958 wing, and the tower in 1979 have been tremendously beneficial in creating the Indiana Hospital that we know today. By erecting these new wings, the hospital was able to expand the services that it offers and modernize itself in the developing world of medicine. Ultimately, a word that best describes the hospital is innovation. Throughout the hospital’s history, the charity of the Hospital Auxiliary and Community to the hospital itself has been tremendous. Medical equipment and money donated by philanthropists and the community have sustained the hospital since the beginning keeping Indiana Hospital state of the art. In addition, the hospital Auxiliary created the famous pantry at the hospital. In addition to serving the patients between visits, the pantry also serves the community seeking a quick lunch.

Today Indiana Hospital—or (IRMC) as it is know today has stood the test of time. IRMC continues to grow and thrive thanks to the support of the community and its patients. Most recently, in 2002 the Bork Emergency center was constructed expanding the hospitals emergency services and even today it continues to grow. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura Jeffery in the Marketing Department of IRMC. During this meeting she discussed the current expansion at the hospital. The expansion will house a new Intensive Care Unit, Ambulatory Care, Hospital Central Supply, and new operating rooms. In addition, we also discussed the centennial celebration of the hospital, which is currently underway.

Though Indiana is a small town, small is not a word to describe it’s healthcare infrastructure. Today, IRMC offers several services in Cancer Care, General Surgery, Nuclear Medicine, Maternity Care, Cardiology Services, and many other services allowing people to stay in their hometown rather than traveling away for quality healthcare. In addition, the community spirit has never left IRMC and never will. Many doctors at the hospital have treated generations of patients and taken care of generations of families, as Laura Jeffrey described it best, IRMC is “Family treating Family.” As soon as you enter the IRMC you feel the family atmosphere. While I was completing this project, I treated myself to lunch in the infamous pantry and felt the friendly atmosphere.

Hospital 3

IRMC today looking down on the town as a Guardian Angel

Today, as it always has for the past 100 years, Indiana Hospital (IRMC) sits atop its hill looking down on Indiana waiting to care of us. I would personally like to congratulate the entire staff and committees of the hospital on their centennial and wish IRMC many more anniversaries!

[1] Swinger, Patricia. Indiana Regional Medical Center 1914-2014: Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future. Virginia Beach,: Donning, 2014. Print. Pp.11

[2] Ibid. 11

[3]Ibid. 15

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