By Michelle Dupler
Dr. Geraldine Urse has spent nearly all of her 44-year medical career at Doctors Hospital.
She started as a young nurse back in 1969, and left in the mid-70’s to become a certified registered nurse, but returned to practice nursing again for another 11 years.
Urse left again to go to medical school. She worked a brief stint in Las Vegas as a physician, but felt herself drawn back to Doctors West, and has practiced there for the last 20 years.
“The thing that draws me back to Doctors is feeling of family and closeness, to each other as staff and to the patients,” Urse said. “There’s just a more involved feeling.”
It’s that sense of family and community, perhaps more than anything else, which those involved with Doctors Hospital are celebrating as the Westside hospital passed its 50th anniversary earlier this year.
“It was small when it first started — a smaller community hospital,” Urse said. “It has kept that commitment.”
The hospital first known as Doctors Hospital Lincoln Village, and later Doctors West, was opened in 1963 by three local physicians as a satellite hospital for Doctors Hospital in Victorian Village — the first hospital of its kind in the nation.
Marcy Conti, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, said the idea was to complement services rather than duplicating.
“Our founders were very innovative. We strive to continue that,” Conti said.
The original Lincoln Village hospital was small — just two stories — and limited in its scope of practice, but was a place where osteopathic physicians could ply their trade, which includes the same education as an M.D., but also espouses a philosophy of holistic medicine and overall wellness.
Now known as OhioHealth Doctors Hospital since the Victorian Village facility was closed, the Westside facility has grown and morphed from a suburban satellite facility into one of the nation’s top training grounds for osteopathic physicians.
Hospital President Mike Reichfield noted the partnership between the hospital, its parent company OhioHealth and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation as one thing that sets Doctors Hospital apart from other facilities.
That partnership led to the construction of The Heritage Center for Osteopathic Medicine in 2009 and to Doctors Hospital being named one of the Top 100 teaching hospitals in the nation by Thomson Reuters in 2012.
But training the next generation of physicians isn’t the only thing Doctors does these days. Over the years, the hospital has added medical services such as cancer treatment, cardiac surgery, mental health treatment, a recently expanded emergency department, a DaVinci surgery robot, and a neonatal intensive care unit.
“Now we’ve really evolved into this full-service community hospital with a lot of sophisticated services like open heart surgery,” Reichfield said.
Next on the horizon is a renovation of the hospital’s surgery suites to incorporate new technology and make the operating rooms more flexible in their use, Reichfield said.
While technology makes medical procedures safer and more efficient, it’s the atmosphere that defines Doctors Hospital, Reichfield said.
“We have a warm atmosphere where I think the secret ingredient is our care team. Our volunteers and all of our associates really treat the patient with the dignity and respect our patients expect,” he said.