Norfolk, Virginia - March 26, 2003 - Sentara Leigh Hospital staff are celebrating their 100-year history this week with displays set up throughout the facility, 100-year lapel pins and other memorabilia and a visit from City of Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim Friday, March 28 at 10 a.m.
Fraim will read a proclamation honoring Sentara Leigh Hospital's 100 years of service to Norfolk and the Hampton Roads community. A reception in the main lobby, attended by two descendants of the family of Dr. Southgate Leigh, hospital founder, will follow.
"As we reflect on the 100-year legacy of Sentara Leigh Hospital, we also celebrate our vision for its future," said Larry T. DePriest, hospital administrator. "That vision includes employing talented health care professionals and the latest technology to help us deliver high quality patient care and customer service to the residents of Hampton Roads."
The hospital is in the planning stages for a major facility update, with some renovation projects already underway or complete. A new Ambulatory Surgery Center and Heart Center debuted in the fall of 2001, the outpatient lobby area was recently renovated and 42 beds were added this year, bringing total hospital capacity to 250 beds. Other improvements in progress include various equipment upgrades and cosmetic enhancements to areas like labor and delivery.
In 1903, Dr. Southgate Leigh established Sarah Leigh Hospital as a private, 35-bed hospital in the Ghent section of Norfolk overlooking the Hague and named it for the aunt who raised him. The hospital was considered an innovative facility at that time with one operating room, a state-of-the-art design including rounded corners for easy cleaning, a basement-based air-cooling system, fire protection and sound control features. The hospital rapidly developed a reputation for providing high quality health care.
In 1936, after Dr. Leigh's death, the hospital was reorganized as a non-profit institution and renamed Leigh Memorial Hospital. In 1972, Norfolk General Hospital and Leigh Memorial Hospital merged to form Medical Center Hospitals and, by combining resources, were able to broaden the scope of health care services delivered to a growing population in Hampton Roads.
Leigh Memorial Hospital moved to its present site on Kempsville Road in 1977 and debuted as Sentara Leigh Hospital. The new, $21 million facility was positioned on 23.5 acres and featured all private rooms, an emphasis on natural light and a campus design that allowed functions to be clustered around a core of emergency, radiology, surgery and intensive care services.
Today, Sentara Leigh Hospital is a 250-bed facility featuring all private rooms and specializing in orthopedic, gynecological, general and urological services. Its Family Maternity Suite features 16 labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum suites and nine additional beds for other obstetric patients. . The hospital-based Breast Cancer Center features an all-female staff. The hospital also houses a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber to help speed the recovery of patients with major wounds, decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning.