Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

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About Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

Our History

1921 – The Tacoma Orthopedic Association was formed by Gertrude E.V. Baker for the purpose of raising funds to start a children’s hospital in Tacoma.

1947 – Local physician A.W. Bridge passed away. He had amassed a surprisingly large estate and said that his estate was to be used to help start a children’s hospital in Tacoma. He specifically requested that if his money were used for this purpose, he would like it named after his mother, Mary.

1953-54 – Plans were announced for the building of a 40-bed general children's hospital.

1954 – Construction was started in February and in May the cornerstone was laid by TV Host Ed Sullivan. Federal Judge George Boldt was master of ceremonies.

1955 – Mary Bridge Children's Hospital officially opened with Mr. A. L. Howarth as director.

1958 – The first-ever open-heart surgery at Mary Bridge was performed by Dr. Thomas Murphy. The cardiac surgery program ceased in the early 1970s.

1974-77 – The name was expanded to Mary Bridge Children's Health Center to include more diverse services. The Health Center also launched a $3.5 million expansion drive.

1976 - The new Speech and Hearing building opened across the street from the main hospital.

1980 – Mary Bridge Children's Health Center became part of Consolidated Hospitals, later to become MultiCare.

1984 – Mary Bridge initiated its critical care transport team program. Mary Bridge ER moves from Division and ‘L’ streets to 4th and ‘J’ streets.

1987 – Mary Bridge expanded its inpatient services into the new wing at Tacoma General Hospital on ‘K’ Street (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Way).  The Emergency Department treated nearly 20,000 children, the highest volume pediatric emergency in Washington.

1990 – MultiCare opened its first satellite clinic – Gig Harbor Urgent Care Center –creating an essential link between Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and pediatric care in the local community.

1991 – Plans underway for the renovation of the 7th floor at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital to provide additional medical/surgical beds and relocate the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

1993 – The new 7th floor opened with technologically advanced equipment and a "castle theme."

1994 – Mary Bridge Children's Hospital became the only emergency room in Western Washington designated for trauma care of children. Outreach to Kent and Auburn began with the addition of new MultiCare clinic sites.

1996 – A helistop was added to receive critically ill and injured children from all over Western Washington. Its addition was designed to transport these children to Mary Bridge’s Level II pediatric trauma center quicker to optimize their chances for better outcomes.

1997-1998 – Mary Bridge satellite clinics opened in Silverdale, Olympia and Covington.

1998 – Mary Bridge started their pediatric open-heart surgery program. During the first year, 110 surgeries were performed.

2001 – A $15 million campaign announced to build a new outpatient center and start a charity care endowment fund. The Campaign for Mary Bridge is a huge success.

2003 – The Campaign for Mary Bridge achieves its $15 million goal and groundbreaking on the new Mary Bridge Children's Health Center occurs in June.

2005 – In March, the new Mary Bridge Children's Health Center opens in celebration of Mary Bridge's 50th Anniversary.

2008 – MultiCare launches its Electronic Health Record system, called MultiCare Connect, at Mary Bridge.

2008 – Mary Bridge opens new pediatric care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital.

2009 – The 43-room Tree House, A Place For Families, opens in Tacoma to allow parents to stay overnight near their children in the Mary Bridge Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Tacoma General’s Neonatal Intensive Care  Unit. At Fourth and I streets, across from Wright Park, MultiCare’s family housing complex was named Tree House to commemorate the role the Mary Bridge Festival of Trees played in making this project a reality.

2010 – New Mary Bridge Emergency Department opens in the new Milgard Pavilion.

2012 – Mary Bridge is named one of the country’s Top Hospitals by the Leapfrog Group for providing the safest and highest quality care to pediatric patients. Mary Bridge is the only pediatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest and one of only 12 children’s hospitals in the country to receive this recognition.

2013 – A new Pediatric Medical-Surgical Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit open on two new floors atop the Milgard Pavilion, the first phase in MultiCare’s three-phase Women and Children’s Expansion Project that is expected to be complete in 2015.