Martha Jefferson Hospital History
Martha Jefferson Hospital was founded in September, 1903, by seven local physicians; and in July, 1904, the new hospital opened its doors. The following is a timeline of our rich history.
"It is our aim to make this institution a blessing to this community."
—Dr. J. Hamilton Browning, 1906
A Martha Jefferson Hospital Founder
To view our history, you can advance the timeline below by using the navigation arrows to the right and left of the timeline entries. To view a particular phase of our development, you can select the slides you would like to view by slide number.
Community healthcare in Charlottesville is transformed with the development of Martha Jefferson Hospital
View slides 1-11
The hospital experiences the challenges of wartime staffing even as it doubles its bed capacity to meet the growing needs of the community
View slides 12-16
The hospital experiences tremendous clinical and technological advances from the establishment of its first cardiac monitoring unit to the opening of its comprehensive cancer care center
View slides 17-25
The Women's Committee hosts its first Martha's Market and ushers in an era of tremendous support and recognition for Martha Jefferson Hospital as plans begin for developing a new hospital campus at Peter Jefferson Place.
View slides 26-34
Martha Jefferson celebrates its centennial with the opening of the Outpatient Care Center and breaks ground on the site of the new hospital.
View slides 35 and forward
Population of Charlottesville is 6,449; Albemarle County, 28,437. There are no hospitals — doctors care for patients in their homes.
Seven physicians establish The Martha Jefferson Sanatorium Association, Incorporated, named for the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and great-great-grandmother of William M. Randolph, MD, one of the founders. The other founding physicians are Hugh T. Nelson, Edward M. Magruder, J. Hamilton Browning, William D. Macon, Charles S. Venable and Halstead S. Hedges.
The State Corporation Commission grants a charter for the new hospital.
The newly constructed 25-bed hospital is opened at 919 East High Street at a cost of $8,637. Semi-private room rate, $14 per week; $15-20 for a private room. Dr. Browning performs the first surgery, an emergency appendectomy.
The Daily Progress reports, "The new Martha Jefferson Sanatorium, on High Street, now has fifteen patients, many of whom are from a distance."
Dr. Browning states in the first annual hospital report:
I have the honor of presenting to you the following report of work accomplished, and our financial standing, from July 11th, 1904, day of opening, to December 31st, 1904, about six months. The work and worry of organizing I will leave to your imagination; and say by the efficient and harmonious support of the Staff we have organized a very able Corpse (sic), consisting of Superintendent, Resident Physician, House Keeper, and six pupil nurses... By close economy we have gotten equipped so far for $15,900, instead of $18,000 as estimated.
Our Treasurer's report shows we have received from patients $3,080.66 and our expenses have been $2,823.75 giving us a balance of $256.91...
I wish to extend my thanks to the Staff and Corpse for the courtesy and consideration shown me, and to say, so far as I know peace and harmony have prevailed.
Several improvements were reported by Dr. Magruder in his annual report to the Stockholders:
A Hennery... has been erected in the back yard, at a cost of $70.76. This has been a good investment enabling the management to buy poultry at an advantage from the market wagons and adding a good deal to the egg supply at no extra cost. A new X-ray apparatus has been added at a cost of $280.85 which was also an absolute necessity and has been of great benefit and convenience to the institution besides being an excellent investment.
The sanatorium name is changed to Martha Jefferson Hospital Inc.
Influenza pandemic crowds the Hospital to capacity, with patients lining even corridors and porches; nurses work 12 to 15 hours a day.
Mr. and Mrs. James Addison Patterson donate $100,000 for the purpose of building a new hospital. In December, construction begins at High Street and Locust Avenue.
The new, 50-bed hospital is opened. The Daily Progress reports:
The new $100,000 Martha Jefferson Hospital... was formally opened this morning. All equipment and patients were moved from the old building Saturday. The new plant . . . is well and modernly equipped. Eleven rooms have already been furnished by funds from people interested in the institution. The structure itself is considered one of the handsomest in the city. The old hospital will be utilized as a home for nurses.
Martha Jefferson Hospital is reorganized as a not-for-profit community hospital.
Mr. Patterson donates a Cadillac, which is converted to an ambulance. The charge for an ambulance call in the city is $3; in the county, $5 for the first mile and $0.50 per mile after that.
Surgeon Arthur M. Smith becomes the first board-certified specialist on staff and supervises medical records.
The hospital operations report of December 31, 1942 relates challenges of staffing during wartime:
There was a total of 28 resignations from the nursing staff in 1942... Because of the shortage of graduate nurses the hospital has been unable to replace nurses who have left. The Red Cross Nurse Aides have been a great help with the routine work of the wards.The following Doctors have left and are now serving in the Armed Forces:
Dr. Arthur M. Smith
Dr. Byrd Leavell
Dr. Slaughter Fitzhugh
Dr. R.G. Magruder
Dr. W.H. Paine
Dr. W.H. Wood
The Rucker wing is opened, providing for expansion of all hospital services and additional bed capacity, now totaling 116. Touted among the new hospital's features are: a new X-ray department; shiny, new operating rooms; a newborn nursery and maternity department; an elevator system that operates quietly and stops automatically at floors; rooms for patient care "that you'd expect to see in a first-rate hotel"; a nurse-call system; and a kitchen large enough to prepare 600 meals a day.
Hospital capacity is expanded with a 20-bed addition to the Rucker wing. At the same time, a new recovery room is added adjacent to operating rooms.
Martha Jefferson establishes a cardiac monitoring unit, forerunner of the present-day critical care unit.
First full-time pharmacist is hired; inhalation therapy begins; physical therapy becomes available.
Construction of the South wing is completed in phases and put into use, and the Rucker wing is modernized. The South wing is dedicated on July 11, 1977, the Hospital's 73rd anniversary. The new building provides new and larger clinical space for medical imaging, laboratory, surgery and post-surgical recovery, emergency care, intensive care, pharmacy and other clinical support services.
The Emergency Department is expanded again, with 24/7 physician coverage.
An eight-bed step-down unit, the forerunner of the present-day telemetry care unit, is established to provide another level of care for patients recovering from a critical illness.
Mammography service is begun and ultrasound service is expanded. Cardiac rehabilitation is established.
Martha Jefferson Hospital undergoes an expansion and renovation project that results in inpatient care improvements with the addition of two floors to create two 30-bed nursing units. Critical care and post-anesthesia care units are also expanded and renovated. A state-of-the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit is installed.
The Cancer Care Center is created with the start-up of radiation oncology and the relocation of infusion therapy, medical oncology and cancer support services to the Cardwell Center.
Martha Jefferson Hospital's Cancer Care program gains recognition by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer.
The Cardwell Center opens in July 1992; it is named in memory of James Robert (Jay) Cardwell, the father of Mrs. K.K. Knickerbocker, a longtime benefactor of the Hospital.
The first annual Martha's Market, organized by The Women's Committee, is launched. In the first nine years this fund-raising event contributes $1.25 million to Martha Jefferson Hospital's breast-health outreach programs and other important initiatives to improve women's health.
Martha Jefferson Hospital expands its cardiology services by establishing a diagnostic cardiac catheterization laboratory in cooperation with the University of Virginia.
A system-wide endeavor begins to build an integrated, state-of-the-art clinical information system to make information readily available to caregivers and to streamline critical decision-making regarding patient care.
Martha Jefferson receives recognition for being among the "100 Top Hospitals" in the nation for excellence in quality of care, efficiency of operations and sustainability of overall performance.
Vascular and Interventional Radiology opens, offering a new range of sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic services to Martha Jefferson patients. Robotic technology arrives at the hospital pharmacy for filling patients' medications orders, a proven patient-safety measure.
Martha Jefferson Health Services agrees to purchase 84 acres of land at Peter Jefferson Place from Gene and Anne Worrell for future expansion.
The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to the radiation oncology service, making Martha Jefferson Hospital one of only four hospitals in the state to receive this prestigious quality accreditation.
The future begins to take shape as ground is broken for the 94,000 square-feet Outpatient Care Center at Peter Jefferson Place.
Martha Jefferson is ranked among "America's Best Hospitals" for 2002 by U.S.News & World Report.
Patients rank their satisfaction with Martha Jefferson Hospital the highest in the nation in the category "patients recommending to friends and relatives," as measured by a national survey firm.
Martha Jefferson Hospital celebrates its centennial anniversary.
Martha Jefferson expands cardiology services by offering cardiac angioplasty and stent placement.
The Outpatient Care Center is dedicated, and a celebration of the hospital's founding begins.
Planning begins for replacement hospital to be located on 84-acre campus on Pantops.
Martha Jefferson Hospital is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center since 2006 as the first independent community hospital in the Commonwealth of Virginia to attain Magnet status, joining 5 percent of hospitals nationwide.
Construction begins on replacement hospital. The 500,000 square-foot facility costs $275 million and will be located on an 84-acre campus. Construction is set to be completed in 2012.
Martha Jefferson Hospital performs its first cranial Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS).
Final steel beam of structure placed on the replacement hospital, signifying completion of structural work.
The new Martha Jefferson Hospital opens at 500 Martha Jefferson Drive, Charlottesville, on Pantops.