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St. Mary Celebrates 40 Years of Healing
From its opening in 1973, St. Mary Medical Center has grown into the most trusted and preferred healthcare provider in Bucks County.

LANGHORNE, Pa., May 1, 2013 – When the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded a “city of healing” in 1973 on what was then a horse farm in rural Bucks County, the only diagnostic test available was an X-ray.

About 415,000 people lived in Bucks County at the time, and the nurses who staffed the newly opened St. Mary Hospital wore dress whites, down to white stockings and starched caps.

Fast forward four decades and the St. Mary of today has grown into Bucks County’s largest employer and its most trusted and preferred healthcare provider. The evolution continues daily, as St. Mary attracts top doctors, introduces cutting-edge technologies and implements advanced procedures to meet the healthcare needs of the people it serves, including the nearly 630,000 residents of Bucks County.

“We are committed to continually enhancing and expanding our services to meet the needs of this growing community,” said St. Mary President and CEO Greg Wozniak.

Home to Bucks County’s only state-certified Trauma Center, St. Mary’s Emergency Department now is equipped to treat more than 100,000 patients each year and is the only ED in the county with dedicated emergency pediatric care. St. Mary also has developed centers of excellence in the fields of heart and vascular care, orthopedics, cancer treatment and neurosciences.

The St. Mary difference, though, is the spirit of love and humility that underpins everything it does, a foundation that dates back more than 150 years to a group of women dedicated to serving others.

“We strive every day to continue the legacy of love set forth by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia,” Wozniak said. “The Sisters had the vision to open St. Mary long ago, and we are now the current stewards of that vision.”

St. Mary Medical Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Bucks County throughout 2013, including a week-long slate of events during Hospital and Nurses Week, May 6 – May 10. Activities will honor the Medical Center’s 3,200 dedicated employees, including a staff picnic and a celebration to recognize nursing excellence.

“A Good View”

Though St. Mary is marking four decades in Bucks County, its roots stretch back 158 years, to Philadelphia and a German immigrant named Maria Anna Boll Bachmann. Committed to helping the poor and the sick, Bachmann secured the blessing of Bishop John Neumann to form the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in 1855, becoming Mother Francis, its spiritual leader.

A smallpox epidemic a few years later pressed the Sisters into service, where they discovered that they were adept at nursing. In 1860, they opened the first St. Mary Hospital in Philadelphia.

Nearly 100 years later, eyeing the burgeoning population growth in Bucks County, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia bought a 73-acre horse farm in rural Bucks called Buena Vista, or “good view.”

The building of Levittown in the 1950s sparked a population boom in Lower Bucks – a population that would need a hospital.

Breaking Ground

Planning for the hospital began in the 1960s when a group of the Sisters of St. Francis travelled to Langhorne to survey the land. Ground was broken in 1970, and St. Mary Hospital opened in February 1973. The one-building hospital had 128 beds and was staffed by nearly 200 physicians.

But society’s healthcare needs soon began to change, so St. Mary changed, too.

Hospitals evolved from caring for the acutely sick and injured to preventing and treating chronic or complex conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Through the years, St. Mary has remained in the vanguard, adding new programs, technology and services to meet every need.

St. Mary started the first exercise stress testing in Bucks County in 1976. In 1991, it opened the first cardiac catheterization lab in the county, followed a few years later by an open heart surgery program.

In the 1990s, the hospital became St. Mary Medical Center, to better reflect the nature and variety of healthcare services offered on its 53-acre campus and at its diverse satellite locations.<.p>

Raising the Bar

At St. Mary, the quest for excellence continues every day.

The Medical Center consistently ranks among Bucks County’s top employers. It recently topped the list in three key categories of Greater Philadelphia Media’s Job Now! Best Places to Work 2013: Best Hospital, Best Employer for Entry Level, and Best Employer Overall.

Doctors implement new procedures, such as the minimally invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, approved by the FDA in 2011. TAVR is an alternative treatment option for patients who may not be able to tolerate open-heart valve-replacement surgery.

And on April 9, St. Mary celebrated the opening of the second phase of an expansion and renovation of the Emergency Department and Trauma Center, a vital community asset. The $22 million, three-phase project is expected to be completed in August.

St. Mary recognizes and thanks its physicians, nurses, colleagues and volunteers for their dedication and professionalism in caring for those in our community throughout activities planned during National Hospital Week.

These include a special Mass, health screenings, a raffle drawing, a hospital-wide picnic, and a giveaway of a special T-shirt commemorating our 40th anniversary.<.p>