True Care Through the Years

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Read about the hospital’s storied history in our commemorative book: A Century of True Care.View e-book

See the publication produced by Business First highlighting a Century of Care.View publication

On March 19, 1918, the new City Hospital at 462 Grider Street opened as a public general hospital with 415 beds and the resources to provide special care for tuberculosis patients and those with acute communicable diseases. The following year, the City Hospital School of Nursing was founded , becoming the first diploma nursing school in Buffalo to include university courses, racially integrate students, and admit men. The transformation of an 82-acre farm on Buffalo’s East Side into a healthcare campus opened a century of delivering quality medical services that continues today at ECMC. From the early vision of physicians, nurses, and support staff who addressed the healthcare needs of Buffalo’s and Western New York’s residents at the turn of the 20th Century to today’s dedicated caregivers in the 21st Century, this healthcare institution continues to provide excellent patient care across multiple medical service lines, ensuring that every individual receives the care they expect and deserve.

This webpage is designed to share the remarkable history of ECMC as we continue to move forward. Please enjoy the legacy of this groundbreaking healthcare institution that has for 100 years delivered True Care to the residents of our region, maintaining the highest level of quality healthcare services for all.

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  • December 28 – On March 19, 1918, the new City Hospital at 462 Grider Street opens as a public general hospital with 415 beds and the resources to provide special care for tuberculosis patients and those with acute communicable diseases.
  • December 29 – City Hospital School of Nursing is founded in 1919. It was the first diploma nursing school in Buffalo to include university courses, racially integrate students, and admit men.
  • December 30 – The Crippled Children’s School opens at City Hospital in 1924. Starting with one teacher and 12 pupils, within ten years it grew to 15 teachers and 195 pupils.
  • December 31 – In 1926, Dr. Daniel H. Squire, the dean of UB School of Dentistry, establishes a dental department at City Hospital, the first hospital department in the country to be part of a dental school.
  • January 1 – Buffalo City Hospital’s three-year residency program in medicine begins in 1930. Also in the 1930s, the hospital receives the full and unqualified approval of the American College of Surgeons as being acceptable for graduate training in surgery and surgical specialties.
  • January 2 – In 1931, City Hospital creates a 70-acre arboretum with a water garden. With more than 850 varieties of shrubs, evergreens, flowering plants and trees, the grounds are regarded as a national horticultural showplace.
  • January 3 – City Hospital is approved by the American Medical Association for a student doctors teaching program in 1936 and the AMA ranked it among the best-staffed and highest credentialed hospitals in the country.
  • January 4 – Schizophrenia is successfully treated at City Hospital in 1937. Dr. Emerick Friedman demonstrates results of 75 to 80 percent remissions using a recently discovered metrazol shock treatment.
  • January 5 – City Hospital opens the first blood bank in Buffalo in 1938. The blood bank eliminates the frantic effort to get blood in emergencies when oftentimes 20 or 25 persons were tested before blood of the right type and untainted by disease was found.
  • January 6 – On January 24, 1939, the name of Buffalo City Hospital is changed to the Dr. Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital to honor the man who had served as president of its board of managers for nearly 24 years, from the inception of the hospital to the death of Dr. Meyer in 1935.
  • January 7 – Eva Noles, the first African-American student at the Buffalo City Hospital School of Nursing, graduates at the top of her class in 1940 and later goes on to a distinguished career as a registered nurse at Meyer Memorial and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
  • January 8 – The Outpatient Fracture Clinic opens in 1940, the first in the city. Today, ECMC’s Center for Orthopaedic Care offers comprehensive orthopedic care to manage disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) system.
  • January 9 – In 1941, Dr. John D. Stewart is appointed surgeon in chief at Meyer Memorial and a surgical teaching program comes into being and grows to vigorous maturity under his directorship.
  • January 10 – Dr. William Clarke is appointed to succeed Dr. Walter Goodale as superintendent of Meyer Memorial in 1941. Dr. Clarke becomes only the second superintendent in the history of the hospital.
  • January 11 – In 1942, the buildings for the treatment of tuberculosis at the Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital were dedicated to Dr. Walter Goodale, the first superintendent of City Hospital, with this tribute: “Positive in his considered beliefs, emphatic and forceful in his advocacy of any cause to which he subscribed, he maintained his principles with small regard to personal interests or expediency.”
  • January 12 – Control of the hospital passes from the City of Buffalo to the County of Erie in 1946. As the county hospital, it is considered a general hospital because all patients are admitted regardless of the nature of their illness. It is a public hospital because it accepts those patients regardless of their ability to pay.
  • January 13 – In 1946, a new alcoholism clinic opens led by Dr. David K. Miller who came to Meyer Memorial Hospital in 1937 as director of laboratories and in 1939 became director of the Department of Medicine.
  • January 14 – Dr. Donald C. O’Connor is appointed the new superintendent of Meyer Memorial Hospital in 1946. Dr. O’Connor is a physician, surgeon, and a 1922 University of Buffalo medical graduate.
  • January 15 – In 1951, a new psychiatric building is completed with 150 beds, doubling the capacity of the former quarters. Because of the many windows in the new $800,000 wing, the effect is described as like “walls of daylight.”
  • January 16 – Meyer Memorial opens a new outpatient clinic for children with polio in 1952. One of the worst outbreaks of disease in the nation’s history, the polio epidemic reached its peak in 1952 with over 57,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths.
  • January 17 – In 1952, Meyer Memorial’s private greenhouse produces a crop of 2,500 geraniums, 300 poinsettias for Christmas and 1,500 chrysanthemums for Thanksgiving.
  • January 18 – A Primary Medical Rehabilitation Center opens at Meyer Memorial in 1963 and is called “the keystone in the arch of rehabilitation services in upstate New York.”
  • January 19 – Dr. W. Yerby Jones, the first black department head at Meyer Memorial, is elected president of the hospital’s medical staff in 1964. Four years later, Dr. Jones becomes head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University at Buffalo.
  • January 20 – In 1965, the Intensive Care Unit opens to provide highly concentrated medical and nursing care. Other special medical services at Meyer Memorial include an artificial kidney unit, a cardiac care unit, and a pediatric service.
  • January 21 – In 1968, the hospital’s 50th year in operation, it is an 825-bed hospital offering the only acute alcoholic treatment in Erie County, the treatment of TB, the only bone pathology lab in the region, and the only amputee clinic operated jointly by surgery, orthopaedic, and rehabilitation services in Western New York.
  • January 22 – Meyer Memorial’s Anita Dorr, R.N., develops the first crash cart built with her husband in the basement of their home in 1968. It was designed to hold all the most essential tools and drugs needed in a medical crisis, particularly a patient in cardiac arrest. Originally known as the Dorr Cart, today’s crash cart contains defibrillators, advanced cardiac life support drugs, and other emergency medical items.
  • January 23 – Dr. John R. Border and others establish the American Trauma Society (ATS) in 1968. Today the ATS works to strengthen trauma centers, advises trauma patients and their families, and champions the establishment of injury prevention programs.
  • January 24 – The hospital begins performing kidney transplants in 1968. Today, ECMC remains in the forefront of major innovations in transplantation at the Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care.
  • January 25 – Meyer Memorial meets and surpasses the standards set by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals in 1969. Founded in 1951, today the Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S.
  • January 26 – In 1969, Meyer adds nurses to ambulances when time may be a factor in saving a life. Ambulances were first used for emergency transport by the Spanish military in 1487 and put into operation for civilians in the 1830s. The modern ambulance appeared shortly before World War II.
  • January 27 – The new $4 million School 84 for disabled children opens on the hospital campus in 1971. Today, School 84 Health Care Center for Children at ECMC is the designated school in the district for students with severe disabilities and illnesses and has 165 students in grades K-12.
  • January 28 – Construction begins on the new ECMC building in 1971. The time to build it was estimated at five years and the cost at $91.7 million. It is the largest construction project ever undertaken by Erie County.
  • January 29 – In 1971, Dr. H. Courtenay Clarke, a gynecologist and resident physician, devises a new surgical method through the use of laparoscopic surgery at Meyer Memorial. Dr. Clarke also recorded laparoscopic surgery on film, with instruments made by the Ven Instrument Company of Buffalo.
  • January 30 – Dr. John Border, international pioneer of trauma care and research, creates the Trauma Care Center at Meyer Memorial in 1972. He was convinced that trauma patients should only be taken to hospitals which are set up and equipped to treat patients suffering from trauma.
  • January 31 – In 1972, Dr. Helen Ranney receives a Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Achievement Award in recognition for her research in sickle cell anemia. Through her research, Dr. Ranney hoped to make it possible for patients to more easily manage this disease.
  • February 1 – Meyer Memorial establishes an alcoholism clinic in downtown Buffalo in 1973. It departs from longstanding alcoholism treatment programs by offering psychiatric and medical aid to persons with alcohol problems in efforts to change their behavior patterns, the most effective way of treating patients’ alcohol addiction.
  • February 2 – In 1973, the Psychiatry Department at Meyer Memorial receives a $30,000 grant from McNeil Laboratories Pharmaceutical Co. to study a new type of long-acting antipsychotic drug called Pimozide which promised to help reduce hospitalization of mental patients.
  • February 3 – The new Family Care Center opens at Meyer Memorial and begins registering patients in 1974. Occupying a large part of the old School 84 building on the grounds of the hospital, the center is designed to serve residents of the neighborhood and the East Side in general.
  • February 4 – In 1975, Meyer Hospital installs the area’s first cataract surgery machine, the phacoemulsifier, that uses a modified form of the surgery which is applied with congenital cataracts.
  • February 5 – Erie County’s only methadone detox program is conducted by the Emergency Drug Abuse Service at Meyer Memorial Hospital in 1975. This medication-based program is also known as replacement therapy.
  • February 6 – In 1977, the Volunteer Services Department has 442 registered volunteers who donate 43,988 hours of time to the hospital. Throughout the history of ECMC and its predecessor hospitals, our volunteers have provided an invaluable service to our patients and staff.
  • February 7 – In July, 1978, the Erie County Medical Center opens its doors after decades of planning and construction. As the community served by the hospital expands beyond the city of Buffalo, its new name reflects its importance to the entire county and the greater community of Western New York.
  • February 8 – The ECMC Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) unit opens in 1982. Today, the medical center offers outpatient and inpatient dialysis as well as options for kidney dialysis at home.
  • February 9 – In 1984, a clinical symposium is held at ECMC in honor of Dr. David Miller’s 80th birthday in conjunction with the dedication of the David K. Miller Medical Office Building.
  • February 10 – In 1986, Dr. Lawrence Bone, who holds certifications in both general surgery and orthopaedic surgery and was a student of Dr. John Border, joins the department of orthopaedic surgery to direct orthopaedic trauma, enhancing the developing Level 1 trauma center at ECMC.
  • February 11 – In 1988, the New York State Department of Health funds ECMC to be the diagnostic and medical headquarters for the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center of WNY.
  • February 12 – In 1988, the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine receives a $500,000 grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to investigate the therapeutic value of exercise in alleviating the pain of arthritis.
  • February 13 – Thanks to its high standards of care, ECMC is named the region’s designated trauma center in 1989. A study at Johns Hopkins confirmed that hospitals with trauma centers have 25% higher survival rates than those of other hospitals.
  • February 14 – In 1989, the hospital opens the Regional Burn Treatment Center and is designated the regional center for spinal cord injury, acute traumatic brain injury, and AIDS.
  • February 15 – ECMC’s End Stage Renal Disease program opens its renovated hemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis units in 1989. Today, at the Regional Transplantation and Kidney Care Center of Excellence at ECMC, we are equipped to treat patients at every stage of kidney disease or kidney failure.
  • February 16 – In 1990, ECMC initiates the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP), one of only five designated sites in New York State. CPEP is a hospital-based emergency psychiatric service open 24/7 to treat patients of all ages.
  • February 17 – ECMC emergency physicians are the first in the U.S. to use trauma ultrasound in 1991. The use of focused ultrasonography has now become an extension of the physical examination of the trauma patient.
  • February 18 – ECMC institutes WNY’s first home care program in 1992. Under the right conditions, patients are allowed to return home for continued care.
  • February 19 – Patient Advocate, a new volunteer program, is initiated in 1994 to provide assistance and support to families and friends of critical care patients in the ER and Trauma Center.
  • February 20 – In 1995, Dr. Michael A. Meyer, chief of Neurology and Stroke Services at ECMC, co-authors a landmark paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine on a new and aggressive approach to acute stroke that utilized a clot-busting medication, tPA.
  • February 21 – By referendum, Erie County residents vote to consolidate the Erie County Home and the Erie County Home Care Agency into the ECMC Healthcare Network in 1996. The ECMC Healthcare Network opens three new community-based health centers to serve the primary care health needs of the WNY community.
  • February 22 – The Immunodeficiency Services (IDS) group is created in 1998 as a research center that also provides clinical care to improve the quality of life for HIV-positive patients through early intervention and care.
  • February 23 – In 1999, the Buffalo Professional Firefighters (rooftop) Heliport opens at ECMC, saving time and saving lives. The new helicopter landing structure enables the most critically ill or injured patients to be transported directly from the rooftop heliport to the adjacent emergency department.
  • February 24 – In July, 2000, ECMC is rated among the top 100 hospitals in the country for heart care, as published in Modern Healthcare, a national healthcare news magazine.
  • February 25 – In 2001, ECMC is the only hospital in Western New York named as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals for two medical services – Intensive Care and Cardiac Care – in an independent study released by the Solucient Leadership Institute.
  • February 26 – ECMC upgrades its MRI unit with the addition of state-of-the-art technology to enhance image quality in 2001. Today, the hospital performs more than 170,000 radiology and imaging procedures annually—more than any other single healthcare facility in Western New York.
  • February 27 – In 2001, ECMC opens an all new Heart Care Center featuring digital cardiac catheterization laboratories. Cardiac catheterization involves the passage of a catheter through an artery in the arm, leg, or neck for evaluation or treatment of blockage.
  • February 28 – In 2001, The Center for Cancer Care at ECMC is awarded a $30,000 grant from the WNY Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
  • March 1 – Dr. James J. Reidy’s study at ECMC of a large clinical population of patients with recurrent erosions of the cornea is published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology in 2001.
  • March 2 – In 2002, ECMC opens a new, technologically advanced electrophysiology lab, used to evaluate and manage patients’ heart rhythm disorders.
  • March 3 – In 2003, the Medical Center opens its new Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, the first and most technologically advanced adult surgical suite in the region.
  • March 4 – The ECMC Healthcare Network becomes an autonomous health system as a not-for-profit public benefit corporation and is renamed the Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) in 2004.
  • March 5 – In 2005, The Journal of Trauma publishes the results of a study by ECMC emergency physician Dietrich Jehle, MD, which showed that police officers not wearing seatbelts were 2.6 times more likely to die in a patrol car crash than officers who were belted.
  • March 6 – ECMC ranks first among 50 New York trauma hospitals for trauma survival rates in 2006. Through the medical center’s research program, our physicians pioneered trauma care which is now considered to be the standard of care throughout the region.
  • March 7 – In 2006, the hospital installs an advanced web-based digital imaging system enabling radiologists and physicians to quickly access x-rays and images on diagnostic workstations or personal computers from any location.
  • March 8 – A report by the New York State Department of Health announces in 2006 that ECMC has the best cardiac surgery survival rates in Western New York. When a heart attack strikes, every minute counts. After a heart attack, the shorter the time it takes to open up the vessel to the heart, the more cardiac muscle you save.
  • March 9 – The Medical Center is recognized in the 2007 “America’s Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines program in an ad for our performance achievement in cardiac patient care.
  • March 10 – In 2007, ECMC implements the Bedside Medication Verification System to protect patients from medication errors. The initiative addresses the five rights of a patient for medication safety: right patient, right dose, right medication, right time, and the right way.
  • March 11 – ECMC creates a Breast Health Center and a Bone Health Center in 2007. Patients with breast problems can now be thoroughly examined and treated by a breast specialist through the services of the Breast Health Center. The Bone Health Center focuses on helping patients increase bone health and reducing related symptoms.
  • March 12 – To make health care more efficient, improve quality, avoid duplication of medical services and make them more accessible, ECMCC and Kaleida Health join forces in 2008 to create the Great Lakes Health System of Western New York, which also includes the University at Buffalo and The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care.
  • March 13 – In 2008, in ECMC’s Cath Lab its door-to-balloon time—from a patient’s arrival to when a balloon catheter helps open the blood vessel—is nearly 20 minutes faster than the national guidelines.
  • March 14 – In 2008, ECMC introduces its Vascular Access Center to manage and maintain optimum vascular access for dialysis patients. This can be done through interventions including rebuilding or revising the access or by an angioplasty, the clearing of blockage in a blood vessel.
  • March 15 – ECMC is approved as a Designated Stroke Center in 2008. The Stroke Team is comprised of physicians from multiple specialties including emergency department physicians, who are trained and certified to perform the NIH Stroke Scale evaluations.
  • March 16 – In 2008, the Computerized Physician Order Entry System further improves patient safety. The system provides physicians and other clinicians with ease of access to patient information and records and achieves a number of patient safety improvements.
  • March 17 – ECMC opens the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine in 2010. The Center provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds, which are defined as sores or wounds that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments.
  • March 18 – In 2010, a research study at UB led by Dr. Jehle found that obese people are more likely to die in an automobile crash. Researchers found that the more obese the driver, the less likely that seatbelts were used.
  • The Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation and Kidney Care opens at ECMC in 2011 to provide treatment to patients at every stage of kidney disease or kidney failure.
  • In 2011, ECMC is the first hospital in Buffalo to implement a pharmaceutical waste compliance program, and it continues its sustainable solutions for managing hospital waste.
  • The Mobile Mammography Coach hits the road in 2012 to provide convenient breast cancer screenings to area women, most of whom probably would not otherwise receive the examinations.
  • The Grider Family Health Center opens on the ECMC Health Campus in 2012. Located on the third floor in the Ambulatory Center building on the ECMC Health Campus, the Center serves adults, children, and the elderly, offering proactive, team-based care.
  • In 2012, Russell Salvatore donates 350 flat screen TVs to the hospital which enables all patients to have access to television at no charge.
  • Terrace View, a spacious, contemporary long-term care residence opens on the ECMC Health Campus in 2013. Terrace View comprises a 390-bed nursing home, a 66-bed short-term rehabilitation area, and dedicated specialty beds for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • In 2014, ECMC opens the Regional Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health with its own psychiatric emergency room. The Center was the third major initiative of Great Lakes Health to merge the services of ECMC and Kaleida.
  • The Center for Oncology Care opens in 2014 on the second floor of the new Ambulatory Center building at ECMC. The Center comprises head and neck surgical oncology, dental oncology and maxillofacial prosthetics, breast oncology, and medical oncology.
  • Terrace View Long-Term Care Facility is named the Best Medical Complex at the 11th annual Business First “Brick by Brick” awards in 2014. Terrace View is designed to be patient-centered with a neighborhood design that focuses on the best care.
  • In 2015, the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons Verified ECMC a Level 1 Trauma Center and the New York State Department of Health Designated ECMC a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center only the fifth in New York State.
  • The Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEM) is created in 2015 to serve area workers who have work-related health issues. The COEM aims to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries through health education, early diagnosis, and treatment.
  • In 2015, ECMC opens the Russell J. Salvatore Orthopaedic Unit, named as such as a result of a generous contribution from Buffalo restaurateur and philanthropist Russell Salvatore.
  • In 2015, Carestream, a medical imaging company, and UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine begin clinical studies at ECMC on a new diagnostic imaging system used to treat orthopaedic conditions.
  • ECMC opens the new Center for Orthopaedic Care in 2016. It includes 14 spacious exam rooms, new safety features, and improved patient amenities designed to ensure a better overall patient experience.
  • In 2016, the ECMC Foundation receives a $71,598 grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, helping to fund additional breast cancer education and screening services.
  • In 2016, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs into law an amendment that permits ECMCC to enter into agreements for the creation and operation of integrated health care delivery services in collaboration with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo.
  • Buffalo Spree names 22 ECMC physicians to its 2017 America’s Top Doctors list. Thanks to our doctors, we’ve been able to establish leading medical programs in Western New York to better care for everyone in our community.
  • In 2017, Russell J. Salvatore donates $1 million to the hospital’s capital campaign for the building of a new trauma center and emergency department.

Read about the hospital’s storied history in our commemorative book: A Century of True Care.View e-book

See the publication produced by Business First highlighting a Century of Care.View publication

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