It all started on Jan. 19, 1911, when the Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital opened in the Christopher L. Magee homestead known as The Maples, located on Forbes Avenue and Halket Street. Upon Mr. Magee’s death in 1901, he stipulated in his will that after his wife’s death, the estate should be used to build and endow a hospital. This institution would be named Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital, in honor of his mother, and would “be open to the sick and injured of all classes without respect to their religion, creed, color, or previous condition ... I especially desire the admission to this hospital of all females who may apply for admission thereto for lying-in purposes and as to all such I direct that they be admitted without any question asked as to their lives or names,” Mr. Magee directed.
And so was the birth of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. This month, Magee begins a yearlong celebration of 100 years of excellence in the care of women and infants, which started in 1911 with just 14 new mothers and their babies. Since Mrs. Alfred Birdsall gave birth to the first Magee baby on Jan. 19, 1911, more than 500,000 babies have been born at Magee during the last 100 years, and outpatient visits have grown to 200,000 a year.
During World War I, the hospital closed temporarily in 1918 while it was leased to the United States Army for treatment of stricken soldiers. This was during the worst influenza epidemic in U.S. history. The hospital reopened in 1920, and a nurses’ home was added in 1939.
The facility expanded in 1952, and a new maternity suite was installed in 1956. The hospital added a research wing in 1959 and an antepartum and premature nursery in 1961.
In 1962, Woman’s Hospital, a facility physically linked to Presbyterian Hospital that specialized in the treatment of diseases and conditions for women, merged with Magee Hospital to become Magee-Womens Hospital. The merger was tangibly symbolized by the addition of the Miller Wing to Magee’s facility, which housed eight operating rooms, 69 patient beds, two nurseries, offices for administrative and nursing personnel, and research laboratories and offices for the Department of Medicine.
In the last few decades, Magee’s physical facility has been remodeled, expanded, and updated dramatically. This process continues today. Increasing numbers of highly trained personnel care for patients, performing diagnostic and treatment procedures unknown 25 years ago.
In 2010, Magee ranked sixth in gynecologic care in the annual U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. Magee also ranked 42nd in cancer care.
Magee is not only a full-service women's hospital, it has recently expanded to include a range of services for women and men. From quality women's health and care to minimally invasive surgery, orthopaedic and spine surgery, plastic surgery and state-of-the-art imaging, geriatrics, and ultrasound — Magee has it all.
To celebrate this historic milestone, the Magee family will celebrate all year long with monthly ceremonies, including opening and closing ceremonies on Jan. 10 and Dec. 18, 2011, respectively.