Lourdes Medical Center celebrates 60th anniversary

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CAMDEN — It was right after World War II and thousands of new residents were heading for Camden whose health care needs had to be addressed.

Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center was the response to this community need and the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y. agreed to build the hospital.

In 1947 ground was broken and two and a half years later, on March 15, 1950, construction was completed. More than 3,000 people — patients, physicians, and civic leaders, among others — attended a dedication ceremony.

Sixty years later Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center has evolved into a 410-bed regional facility and is part of the Lourdes Health System: Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County and the Lourdes Wellness Center. Lourdes Health System is a member of Catholic Health East with 34 hospitals on the East Coast.

To help celebrate its 60th anniversary, employees and patients gathered together in the lobby on Aug. 11 from 2-4 p.m. to feast on a 3 ft. x 4 ft., three-dimensional cake that was a replica of the hospital. Historical photos were on display.

Some of the medical center’s services include The New Jersey Heart Institute at Lourdes, one of the largest providers of cardiac services in the Delaware Valley; Regional Perinatal Center for high-risk mothers and infants; Lourdes Regional Rehabilitation Center; Southern New Jersey Regional Dialysis Center; and Center for Organ Transplantation, the only hospital in the state approved to perform kidney, pancreas, and liver transplants.

Lourdes’ expansion and renovations over the years have included a $54 million Pavilion which houses a state-of-the art emergency department, ICU and progressive care units; LIFE (Living Independently for Elders), a service designed to meet the chronic-care needs of the frail elderly and their families; a School of Nursing; The Sister M. Elizabeth Corry Ambulatory Care Center, which houses the Osborn Family Health Center; and outpatient dialysis centers located within the Southern New Jersey community.

In 1995, Our Lady of Lourdes was named a Foster G. McGaw Prize Winner for its successes, and throughout its history, the hospital has remained focused on its mission to serve the community. For example, Our Lady of Lourdes Burlington County, a 249-bed community hospital in Willingboro, provides technologically advanced diagnostic and treatment services in a caring, close-to-home environment for patients with acute and chronic medical conditions, thus expanding on the original founders’ vision.

This year, surgeons at Lourdes performed the 1,000th robotic procedure with the da Vinci Surgical System, more than any other hospital in South Jersey.

Lourdes has also seen dramatic decreases in infant mortality and premature deliveries, and low-birth weight babies, as well as gains in thousands of seniors’ health status.