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50 years young and still growing

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Fisher-Titus Medical Center threw a birthday bash Sunday and invited the community to help celebrate 50 years of community health care.

About 400 people attended the event.

"Countless lives have been touched by Fisher-Titus and the family of people behind that name," said Bob Bleile, chairman of the board of directors for the Norwalk Area Health Systems Inc.

FTMC received proclamations to honor service to the community from the city, the county and the state. Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said the hospital has a legacy of generosity, of excellence and of service. "Fisher-Titus gives back to this community," she said.

Huron County Commissioner Ralph Fegley noted that FTMC's roots date back to 1916 when the Norwalk Memorial Hospital was built on West Main Street and said FTMC has continued to serve the community as it grew from about 100,000 square feet to 330,000 square feet.

State Rep. Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst) said he remembers the hospital's initials with the phrase "Families Together Managing Care." He said FTMC President Pat Martin has worked with him on legislation to advance health care. "We're proud of what you've done here," Barrett said.

Martin presented Dean and Norma Jones with framed pictures of their daughter Terri Jones-Forte, the first baby born at FTMC. She is now a veterinarian in Westerville.

Martin also said the hospital's auxiliary organization has donated more than $500,000 to the hospital, including $130,000 for a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine to screen for breast cancer that will be installed in 2008. "Success comes from a team and that includes our employees and our volunteers," Martin said.

In 1957, Fisher-Titus opened as a state-of-the-art facility with 13 private rooms, 24 semiprivate rooms and 10 four-bed wards. The hospital also boasted two operating rooms, a 20-bed maternity ward and a 24-bassinet nursery. The maternity wing featured a lounge where prospective fathers could wait for their "arrivals" in air-conditioned comfort.

In 50 years, Fisher-Titus Medical Center has grown from 16 to 79 doctors, four to 35 medical specialties and 112 to 896 employees. Along the way, the hospital has added Norwalk Memorial Home, the Carriage House and a home health center.

Many departments have been added to the original FTMC physical therapy, radiology, mental health, a kidney center, physicians' offices, an ambulatory surgery unit, rehabilitation services, cancer services, cardiac rehabilitation, a birthing center and a transitional care unit.

FTMC broke ground for a new heart and vascular center in October. The $11.3 million, 22,000-square-foot addition will open in 2008 and will house a new cardiac catheterization lab.

Sunday's celebration featured 1957 cafeteria prices and a ceremony to highlight past and present hospital leaders. Fisher-Titus was built after William and Lura Titus Fisher donated $1.2 million and John Ernsthausen joined in a campaign to raise funds for a $1.8 million hospital. The building was designed to be the most modern hospital in the nation with 17 acres of landscaped grounds and a central garden court where patients and personnel could take time to relax in sunshine.

After more than 30 expansions and renovations, FTMC offers unique services to area residents. It is the only hospital between Cleveland and Toledo to have an EEG and EEG lab. FTMC is one of only 19 Ohio hospitals to earn the gold seal of approval as a primary stroke center. The hospital also received the 2007 Arbor Award for exceeding patient expectations.

1958 Statistics

Admissions: 3,403

Surgical Procedures: 1,154

Lab Tests: 2,000

2006 Statistics

Admissions: 3,856

Births: 646

Emergency Visits: 26,430

Surgical Procedures: 6,750

Imaging Tests: 57,687

Outpatient Visits: 108,800

Rehab Visits: 122,575

Lab Tests: 443,241

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