History of Holy Name Hospital*

In 1920 and the following three years, the population of Bergen County increase so rapidly that the general hospital of the County, namely Englewood and Hackensack Hospitals, where frequently filled beyond their normal capacity.  The possible recurrence of an experience similar to the so-called "Flu Epidemic" of 1918 and 1919, meant that either both hospitals would have to greatly increase their bed capacity or the construction of a new hospital in the County would be a necessary undertaking.  Encouraged by the enthusiastic agreement of many citizens and physicians that an urgent need for a their hospital existed, Dr. F. C. McCormack of Englewood, New Jersey who had been associated professionally for many years with the Sisters of St. Joseph, as attending physician to St. Michael's Orphanage and Novitiate, of Englewood Cliffs, and Villa Marie Clare, of Hohokus, and Dr. George Pitkin of Bergenfield, New jersey, consulted many times with the Reverend Mother General Agatha and the Counselor Board of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark, with reference to the establishment of a general hospital in Bergen County.  After carefully investigating the apparent need and future possibilities of a general hospital in this location, the final decision was made in 1924 by the Mother General and the Counselor Board, to build a general, non-sectarian hospital, to be called the "Holy Name Hospital," on the site of the Colonel Phelps estate in Teaneck.

Mr. William Conklin, of Englewood, New Jersey, at that time Chairman of the Bergen County Board of Taxation, was named Chairman of the General Advisory Board, and Mr. Conklin, of Englewood still retains that Chairmanship.

Dr. Frank C. McCormack was appointed Medical Director.  Ground was broken for the erection of the new hospital in June, 1924, and the hospital was ready for the reception of patients on October 12, 1925.  During the building of the hospital, Dr. McCormack was authorized to organize a county wide representative Medical Advisory Committee.  The following physicians from different parts of the County accepted an invitation to serve on that Committee; Dr. Frank C. McCormack, Englewood, New Jersey, Chairman; Dr. George P. Pitkin, Bergenfield; Dr. Frank Freeland, Hackensack; Dr. George L. Edwards, Bogota; Dr. G. H. Ward, Englewood; Dr. Fred Fin, Jersey City; and Dr. E. P. Essertier, Hackensack, The duty of the medical Advisory Committee was to recommend the necessary hospital plans and equipment, and to establish standards of medical practice that would meet with requirements of the Catholic Hospital Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association.  The Hospital passed the inspections of each and was approved and accepted by these organizations in 1926, one year after the opening of the hospital.

The School of Nursing was established 1926.  The first class of Graduates was in 1928.  The first internes, appointed in 1925 at the opening of the Hospital, were Dr. Maurice M. Lynch, of Winchester, Virginia, now located in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Dr. John Hillsman, also of Winchester, Virginia, now located in Calgary, Manitoba Providence, Canada.  The Nurses' Home Building was completed and dedicated in February, 1928.  Governor A. Harry Moore was the principal speaker, and Right Reverend Monsignor Duffy, Chancellor of Newark Diocese, now Bishop of Buffalo, dedicated the building.  During the years 1928 and 1929 the demand for  extra beds was so great that in 1930 a new wing was added to the main building, increasing the capacity by seventy-five beds.  A complete Out-patient Clinic and a new Department of Pathology was provided.  A central heating plant was also constructed in 1930.  The new building was dedicated in May, 1931, by the Most Right Reverend Monsignor Duffy, now Bishop of Buffalo, and Mr. William Conklin who were the speakers of the day.

It will be of historical interest to mention the following events that happened during the early years of the Hospital.  Shortly after the Hospital opened, Dr. George Pitkin started the internationally known work on controllable spinal anesthesia.  As a result of his arduous research, numerous experiments, demonstrations, talks and papers on that topic, spinal anesthesia was popularized throughout the surgical world.  The Holy Name Hospital became widely known throughout the United States.  As an epic event in 1928, the Medical Director, Dr. Frank C. McCormack, planned a joint Round-Table Conference and Dinner for the Staffs of the Hackensack, Englewood and Holy Name Hospitals.  The conference was held in the Auditorium of the Nurses' home.  The staff had as its guest of honor, the Reverend Father Molinier, President of the Catholic Hospital Association, Dr. Malcolm McEachern, Director General of the American College of Surgeons, and Dr. Edward Cowell, Executive Secretary of the American Hospital Association.

During the first five years of its organization, the Executive Committee established with no little difficulty, a number of precedent staff regulations in hospital practice in Bergen County.

  1. The regular committee secured reciprocal surgical privileges among the three general hospitals of the County.

  2. Mandatory consultations in all major obstetrical procedures were instituted in 1930.

  3. A standardized Orthopedic and Fracture Service, a genito-Urinary Surgical Service, a Specialized Closed Anesthetic Service, and a Closed Department of Otolaryngology were formed and headed by a fully qualified specialist in that particular branch of surgery.

  4. A full time Pathologist, Dr. L. A. Markley, was added to the staff in 1929.

  5. After proper and prescribed training, the Attending Obstetrical Staff were full qualified for performing Caesarean Sections.  Dr. Maurice H. Lynch, Attending Surgeon, is the youngest surgeon, and Dr. Henry D'Agostin, Attending in Obstetrics, was the first Obstetrician in the County to be admitted to the American College of Surgeons.

At the present time, construction is underway to greatly enlarge the hospital's capacity with a new wing.

*Source unknown, a pamphlet published by Bergen County Medical Society.

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