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It’s a 10/10 for Madison Hospital as they celebrate their 10th anniversary by reflecting on the decade’s most life-changing stories

Feb. 28 marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of Madison Hospital. It’s been a roaring success of a decade – more than 41,000 admitted patients treated, more than 35,000 surgeries performed, and 8,800 babies brought safely into the world. But that’s only part of the story. While the hospital exists to help people, it has also been a boon to the local economy by creating hundreds of jobs. And it has helped solidify Madison’s reputation as one of the best places in Alabama to live, work and retire. Here’s a look back at the 10 biggest stories of Madison Hospital’s first 10 years.

Baby boom
Madison is a young community, so it makes sense that Madison Hospital would have a busy Labor & Delivery program. The number of babies delivered annually has more than quadrupled over the past decade – from 254 the first year, 2012, to more than 1,400 a year today. Many expectant moms are drawn by Madison’s commitment to fostering a strong mother-baby bond through breastfeeding, rooming in and skin-to-skin contact. That commitment has earned the hospital praise from Baby Friendly USA and the Alabama Breastfeeding Coalition, among others.

24-7 peace of mind
Going to the Emergency Department isn’t high on anyone’s wish list, but it sure is comforting knowing there is one nearby if needed. As Madison has grown, lots of people have needed the services of Madison Hospital’s ER. Last year, a record 53,000 patients were seen in the ER. The hospital has responded by expanding the ER not once, not twice but four times, adding a total of eight new emergency exam rooms and opening a Fast Track treatment area for less-serious problems in 2018.

Growing with the community
Madison Hospital’s hard-to-beat combination of quality care and small-town feel has helped it become one of the region’s most popular medical facilities. A staggering 640,000 patients have come through the doors since opening day. Last year set a new record with 5,700 patient admissions. Fortunately, hospital leaders saw the growth coming and designed the building with extra space on the 4th and 5thfloors that could be filled in as needed. A major addition in 2017 turned what began as a relatively small 60-bed community hospital into today’s 90-bed facility.

ICU expansion
In 2018, the hospital doubled the size of its Intensive Care Unit to eight beds. The timing, just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, couldn’t have been better. Because of the expansion, more Madison-area residents with severe COVID – and other critical health problems – can get the advanced care they need close to home, which is easier on patients and their loved ones.

Surgical surge
Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright has a background as a surgical nurse, so a strong surgery program was a given. But even she couldn’t have anticipated the community’s response. During its first year, 2012, the hospital performed 500 surgical procedures. By last year that had jumped to more than 4,400 procedures. Safety is top of mind: in 2019, the hospital installed germ-resistant stainless steel walls in two ORs to reduce the chances of infection. A dedicated outpatient endoscopy center also opened on the hospital campus in 2019, providing a state-of-the-art space for colonoscopies, EEGs and other endoscopic procedures.

Specialists for a special place
From neonatology, radiology and gastroenterology to cardiology, pulmonology and orthopedic surgery, Madison Hospital’s medical staff now includes more than 100 physician specialists. That’s rare for a hospital this size. It’s also a huge convenience for Madison families who no longer have to drive to Huntsville, Birmingham or Nashville to consult with an expert.

Transforming Highway 72
It’s hard to remember now, but there wasn’t much on U.S. 72 west of Wall-Triana Highway before Madison Hospital opened. The hospital’s arrival helped trigger a building boom that began with Wal-Mart and Target and continues today with Clift Farms, the massive mixed-use development directly across from the hospital.

COVID response
COVID-19 has shown why it matters to have a quality hospital nearby. Since the start of the pandemic, Madison Hospital has nursed about 2,000 COVID patients back to health – including 103-year-old World War II veteran Major Wooten, whose recovery made headlines around the globe. The hospital has also worked to slow the virus’ spread by hosting numerous vaccination clinics and opening a testing site outside the Wellness Center.

Caring for people outside the hospital
Madison Hospital’s commitment to caring extends well beyond the walls of the hospital. From donating coats to families in need to helping feed the homeless at Manna House, hospital employees are serious about their mission to serve the community. A new work-based learning program offers 12-week internships to young adults from Madison City Schools’ special education program.  The interns spend three hours a day learning about – and working in – the hospital’s Food Services, Environmental Services and Landscaping departments under the watchful eye of a professional job coach.

What’s next?
Madison Hospital’s first decade will be hard to top, but there are several exciting projects on the drawing board for the future including a major expansion of the Level II Special Care Nursery, an even larger ER and a new bed tower that would roughly double the hospital’s capacity to 200 inpatients.

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