Center’s Roots Run Deep
On January 15, 2020, OakBend Medical
Center celebrates its 70th Birthday. During the past 70 years, the
hospital has continued to service the community and to expand and grow. Today
it is the largest healthcare system in Fort Bend County, and the only remaining
independent hospital in the Greater Houston area. The hospital’s roots run deep
in the community.
On July 23, 1947, A.P. George, Mamie E.
George, A.E. Myers, C.L. Dutton, J.A. Wessendorff, W.C. Minkwitz, Wharton
Weems, Colonel P.E. Peareson, R.M. Darst, W.H. Morehead, and John M. Moore, Jr.
met at the A.P. George farm. Invited by Mr. and Mrs. A.P. George, these
public-spirited citizens came together for the purpose of organizing and establishing
a hospital in Fort Bend County. This group of individuals unanimously agreed to
associate themselves with the hospital.
During this meeting, they reviewed
findings on the health needs of Fort Bend County and concluded that a real need
existed for a hospital in the area. Mr. and Mrs. A.P. George donated The J.H.P.
Davis home, which consisted of approximately twenty-five acres, as the site for
In October 1947, Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital
was chartered as a nonprofit hospital. A.E. Myers was elected President of the
Board of Directors. Other board members included John M. Moore, C.L. Dutton,
W.C. Minkwitz, A.P. George, Mrs. Mamie E. George, Joe A. Wessendorff, Wharton
Weems, R.M. Darst, P.E. Peareson and W.H. Morehead.
The hospital was completed with 51 fully
equipped beds, and on January 15, 1950, the formal opening ceremonies of the
hospital were held. The first patient was admitted at 8:00 p.m. on the same
day. Since that time, the hospital has not wavered from its mission: To provide
exceptional, compassionate health care for our community, regardless of ability
Due to the increasing number of patients
requiring hospital treatment, in 1957 the facilities of Polly Ryon Memorial
Hospital were expanded to include a new patient wing consisting of 26 private
and two semi-private rooms and a nursing station with storage area. Other
features included an emergency area, an autopsy room and storage space.
The needs of the community continued to
grow and in 1962 and 1963, Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital spent over half a
million dollars in renovations and expansion.
The additions included a Physical Therapy Department and a surgery and
recovery room. A complete Obstetrical Department, with 14 patient beds, four
labor rooms, two delivery rooms and a nursery was also added. During the
renovations and additions, the Business Office was remodeled and expanded along
with the construction of the Administrator’s Office and Medical Records
Department and the C.V. Nichols Memorial.
In 1969 it was necessary for the facilities
of Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital to be expanded once again. A complete new wing
was added which included 36 patient beds, a Coronary Care Unit with five beds,
lobby, waiting rooms and modern nurses’ station with a separate unit for
preparing medications. Additionally, other areas that were added or expanded
included a new Laboratory, X-ray, dietary, mechanical and storage facilities. Once
again, the cost was over half a million dollars to renovate the hospital.
On October 29, 1986, all but one wing of
the facility was demolished and a new 185-bed facility was opened to better
serve the community. In 2004, Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital changed its name to
OakBend Medical Center.
Continuing to grow and serve the
community, in 2009 OakBend Medical Center opened its Williams Way Campus at
22003 Southwest Freeway, Richmond, Texas 77469 with 57 beds and in 2012,
OakBend Medical Center’s Jackson Street location at 1705 Jackson Street,
Richmond, Texas 77469 expanded to 184 beds.
In 2015, OakBend created a first-ever capital
campaign. Vision 2020, a five-year campaign, provided for the comprehensive
renovation of its Jackson Street Campus. It was designed to create an
environment that reflects OakBend’s commitment to excellence. The completed
projects included the renovation of the exterior of the building, improvements
to the ICU, emergency and skilled nursing departments, and the full renovation
of both the 4th and 5th floors. Remaining projects included in Vision 2020
include improvements to the first floor common spaces and elevators, along with
additional upgrades in the emergency department and skilled nursing facility.
After Gulf Coast Medical Center in
Wharton, Texas, closed its doors in November of 2016, the sign on the front
door directed people to a hospital 20 minutes away. That can seem like an
eternity if the patient is in pain or in need of urgent medical care. After a
long and sometimes bumpy ride, OakBend Medical Center took on the challenge to
establish a hospital in the building that formerly housed Gulf Coast Medical
Center and bring emergency and medical services back to Wharton. It opened its
emergency room doors on June 4, 2018.
Eight weeks after opening OakBend
Medical Center-Wharton Hospital Campus, the hospital was exceeding
expectations. From the opening on June 4th through July 30th, the hospital’s
signature No Wait Hospital Emergency Room saw more than 1,500 patients. The
radiology department had been busy as well, handling more than 1,300 patients
with CT, ultrasound and x-ray services.
OakBend houses several unique programs
and facilities including the county’s only no-wait emergency departments,
hospital-based skilled nursing facility, advanced trauma program, acute care
for the elderly (ACE) unit, geriatric psychiatric program, and permanent
hospital-based air ambulance. It also has numerous programs designed to meet
the needs of the community including advanced wound care services, a heart
attack program, and a Gold Plus-rated stroke program.