The first unit of organized healthcare in Paducah was Riverside Hospital, built on the Civil War site of Fort Anderson at the corner of Fourth and Clay Streets in 1905. The city-owned hospital experienced the historic 1937 flood, followed by a fire that destroyed the facility’s rear wing.
The Diocese of Owensboro purchased Riverside in 1959, and on September 18, seven nuns arrived to operate the hospital which was renamed Lourdes. A daily diary kept by one of the sisters recorded that they experienced a grand welcome, and that Sister Gerard unexpectedly delivered a baby and “now feels very much at home.”
As the population grew, the old building at Fourth and Clay became inadequate, and plans were underway by the late 1960s for a modern new facility on Lone Oak Road (pictured right). With the opening of the new hospital in January 1973, a new era in service to the region began.
Today, Lourdes offers the region’s only bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery), inpatient physical rehabilitation unit, behavioral health center, dialysis, and hospice. The Lourdes Heart and Vascular Centers have achieved many area “firsts” in cardiovascular care.
The Marshall Nemer Pavilion on the Lourdes campus opened in October 2004 and houses physicians’ office space, outpatient services, registration, and a community meeting room. The 133- square foot project was named for long-time board member and volunteer Marshall Nemer who died in 2002.
A plaza connects the pavilion to the lobby of the hospital and contains the region’s only Starbucks, Subway, an expanded gift shop, a computer resource center for the public, and the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel.
The hospital’s Operative Care Center renovation was also completed in 2004 and included the addition of holding room beds, endoscopy beds, and an enlarged family waiting room. An MRI Imaging Center and third Cardiac Cath Lab will open in July 2005.
“The numerous expansion projects in the last few years were designed to facilitate an increase in patient volumes while ensuring efficiency, convenience, and comfort for visitors,” commented Dr. William Wheeler, President and CEO. “Everyone here at Lourdes stands on the shoulders of so many dedicated and visionary professionals who preceded us. It gives all of us a sense of pride in our history as well as great confidence in our future in this community.”
And speaking of a sense of community. “Our friends at Paducah Bank consistently focus on the needs of their customers with an emphasis on providing the very best in customer service just as we do at Lourdes,” added Dr. Wheeler. “That’s why we appreciate our relationship, and why we consider ourselves partners in making our community a better place.”
Lourdes Reaches Endowment Milestone
Lourdes has more than just an anniversary to celebrate. The hospital’s Foundation has reached a record $1 million investment in its Endowment Fund, marking a major milestone in the Foundation’s five-year history. Established in February 2002 by the Lourdes Foundation Board of Directors, the Endowment Fund forms a permanent support structure to assist Lourdes in fulfilling the mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus by improving the health of the surrounding communities.
“It took a strong spiritual and financial commitment to put resources aside in the Endowment Fund to fulfill the mission for our patients, employees, and communities,” noted Missy Hendley, Foundation Director. “This special fund was formed with the future in mind, accumulating money and interest that will benefit Lourdes as we face the challenges of providing excellence in health care for years to come.” Donations from employees, patients, physicians, businesses, and organizations, along with the earned interest, will be reinvested into the fund to continue its growth to support programs that promote health, comfort families, and inspire hope.
Since the Foundation was incorporated in 2000, Lourdes Foundation has received nearly $3.6 million in total contributions. The responsibility to build a strong Foundation was recognized with distribution of nearly $1.2 million to help patients and support Lourdes clinical areas while building the Endowment Fund to the $1 million mark.
The Foundation proudly partners with donors to provide compassionate healthcare to enhance the region’s quality of life. “The financial security provided by the Foundation’s Endowment Fund is valuable to ensure that Lourdes can continue to keep pace with rapid changes in healthcare technology, purchase cutting-edge medical equipment, and initiate special projects,” said Dr. Bill Wheeler, Lourdes President and CEO.
“It is due to the philanthropy of corporate sponsors, such as Paducah Bank, that Lourdes Foundation has been able to host successful community events including Mardi Gras and All That Jazz! and the Great Pumpkin Race that support our mission,” commented Hendley. “And Susan Guess, as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, brings vast experience and energy to guide our future endeavors.”
Lourdes Foundation acknowledges the generosity of its donors and honors the trust that has been placed in its efforts to continue the healing ministry of Jesus. “The Endowment Fund is a testament to the Lourdes mission,” said Sister Marie Moore, Vice President of Mission Services. “Endowment income will provide the assistance to sustain the good works of Lourdes Foundation for the rest of Lourdes’ history.”