Northwest Hospital recently celebrated a milestone anniversary, marking half a century of service to the Randallstown community and beyond. Founded September 19, 1962, as the Liberty Court Rehabilitation Center, in 1963 the facility became Baltimore County General, a 93-bed medical/surgical hospital. The original hospital building still stands and today houses some of Northwest’s departmental and support services offices. Baltimore County General was very much a community effort, and many volunteered their time and talents during the hospital’s first few years to ensure its financial stability so it could stay open to treat patients. Local community members founded and organized the hospital Auxiliary in 1964 and the Baltimore County General Hospital Foundation in 1967, helping to raise funds for the non-profit hospital.
In 1964, over 2,300 emergency patients—a lot at the time—were seen at Baltimore County General. (To put this into perspective, last year Northwest treated over 60,000 patients in its ER-7 alone.)
From its original patient load of 30, the hospital grew to a capacity of 188 beds. (Today’s Northwest Hospital is licensed for 272 beds.) In July 1978, the current four-floor inpatient building opened. The building was based on architect Gordon Friesen’s innovative idea for floor layout, which helped nurses better focus on the patient. The Friesen concept involves having a nursing alcove outside each patient room—which allows nurses to spend more time with patients. This floor design also places supplies, medication and charts in close proximity to patient rooms. Each floor of the inpatient building has four, 20-bed patient zones. Private rooms with showers and lavatories give maximum comfort and privacy to patients.
In late 1990, a $13.3 million expansion was approved by Baltimore County General Hospital’s board, and the hospital added an outpatient treatment center, a cardiac catheterization lab, an endoscopy suite, and a new medical staff support and education building. In addition, the emergency room was renovated and greatly expanded, as was much of the space that housed the hospital’s support departments.
In June 1993, Baltimore County General Hospital changed its name to Northwest Hospital Center to reflect that the hospital served patients beyond Baltimore County from Baltimore City and Howard and Carroll counties. In 2008, the word “Center” was dropped, and today the name is simply “Northwest Hospital.”
In July 1996, Northwest opened a 17-bed subacute care unit that provides specialized care for patients who are too sick to return home, but not ill enough to remain in an acute care hospital. Today the unit has grown to 29 beds in an attractive, homelike environment and has been ranked among the area’s best nursing homes in U.S. News & World Report and the Baltimore Business Journal.
In 1998, Northwest sought to merge with another hospital or group of hospitals to continue its growth. Nearby Sinai Hospital was selected, and in October, LifeBridge Health was created. Today, LifeBridge Health includes Northwest Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and associated affiliates and subsidiaries.
Today, Northwest has a diverse medical staff of nearly 700 doctors who practice in a wide range of specialties. Its nursing staff is highly skilled in cardiology, critical care, surgery, oncology, patient education and other specialized areas. The hospital utilizes state-of-the-art technology, such as digital mammography, a 64-slice CT scanner, an open MRI scanner that provides detailed images, and robots to dispense medication and assist in performing surgery.
Since the founding of Northwest Hospital, one thing has remained constant: the philosophy of providing patient-centered care. The hospital’s facilities are designed to make patient stays as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Since 2005, nearly every area of the hospital has been renovated, making the hospital feel brand new again. In 2007, Northwest Hospital was named one of the nation’s top acute care hospitals by earning the prestigious CareScience Select Practice award, recognizing excellence in patient care. The hospital received the award for ranking in the top 1 percent of 4,500 acute care hospitals nationwide. Northwest’s surgical and outpatient services consistently receive very high marks on patient satisfaction surveys, and visitors often remark how friendly the hospital’s employees are.
To learn more about today’s Northwest Hospital, we invite you to EXPERIENCE NORTHWEST. Visit www.ExperienceNorthwest.org.
An artist's rendering of the original Baltimore County General Hospital, circa the early 1960s.