Caring for the families of southern Colorado for more than 130 years, St. Mary-Corwin takes great pride in its mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.
The story of St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center is the story of more than a century of caring by the Sisters of Charity, who have rendered medical and spiritual services through hospitals functioning under four different names: St. Mary's, Corwin, Minnequa and now St. Mary-Corwin.
The Sisters of Charity established St. Mary's Hospital in an old, two-story boarding house in 1882. The hospital continued to grow, first in increments of add-ons, then in the form of new construction of a 90-bed, four-story building. St. Mary Hospital was in operation until the mid 1950s.
In the early 1880s, the Colorado Coal and Iron Company (forerunner of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, CF&I) hired Dr. R.W. Corwin to come to Pueblo and set up a medical department. The first CF&I hospital was built on the grounds of the company's Minnequa plant and acquired that name. A typhoid epidemic among steelworkers in 1882 overwhelmed the small facility and led to construction of a new, 30-bed hospital. In 1902, Minnequa Hospital was reborn in the form of a new, 200-bed facility located near Lake Minnequa. Upon the death of its founding physician in 1929, the hospital changed its name to Corwin.
By the late 1940s, CF&I was ready to get out of the hospital business while St. Mary Hospital was desperately trying to raise funds to expand. Convinced of the Sister's good work, CF&I's board of directors voted to transfer ownership of Corwin Hospital to them for $1.
In 1950, Corwin Hospital was comprised of three wings with two floors each and a total of 200 beds. By 1953, the Sisters of Charity decided to consolidate the two hospitals. St. Mary would be razed, and Corwin Hospital would expand with construction of a new hospital around and over the existing institution, a first in American construction history. In 1957, the new St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, with nearly 500 beds, was dedicated. It offered state-of-the-art equipment and resources, full internal communications systems, and other features new to the hospital world. These advancements, in turn, drew new specialists to the beautiful southern Colorado area.
A Medical Arts building, pharmacy annex, new EEG lab, cafeteria and dining room further complemented the larger, modernized hospital. A contemporary chapel, Catholic in concept, was dedicated in May 1958. A psychiatric unit opened in January 1960 and later that year, medical staff voted in favor of making the hospital library a memorial to Dr. Royal H. Finney, who had died following more than 50 years of medical service, most of it devoted to Corwin and St. Mary-Corwin hospitals. An on-site blood bank opened in 1961, and the following year saw the establishment of the hospital's first Intensive Care Unit. In 1962, St. Mary-Corwin admitted 15,884 patients and orchestrated the birth of nearly 2,000 babies.
The 1970s brought more changes to St. Mary-Corwin. A heliport was constructed and Flight For Life service implemented; the Southern Colorado Family Medicine residency clinic was established; Lab, ER, Admitting and Radiology all expanded; and a new circular-designed ICU was built. In the mid 1980s, an $8.4 million addition to St. Mary-Corwin was complete.
The 1990s continued St. Mary-Corwin's legacy of excellent care. The hospital opened an outpatient rehabilitation center, created One-Stop outpatient services and built an off-site clinic, the St. Mary-Corwin Health Center, in north Pueblo. In 1995, the Sisters of Charity joined with others to form Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). St. Mary-Corwin and other mountain region CHI hospitals then signed a joint operating agreement with Porter Hospitals (Portercare Adventist Health System) to form the management company known as Centura Health.
Today, in the 21st century, St. Mary-Corwin is a modern community resource with its own Flight For Life helicopter base, a three-year residency program, a state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer center, one of the first stroke centers in Colorado and more.
To ensure the hospital meets the future needs of the community, a $59 million expansion was completed in February 2006. With this expansion, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center has renewed its commitment to southern Colorado in providing superior healthcare. The expansion boasts a new Emergency Department; comprehensive, one-stop Cancer Center; innovative Intensive Care Unit; enhanced diagnostic services; 112 private patient rooms; a new central registration area; a new gift shop and many other hospital amenities.