Sharon Regional Health System has played a major role in the community since its inception 120 years ago. Today, we are proud to have developed a multifaceted array of medical, health and community services usually found only at institutions in much larger cities.
In the late 1800s, the citizens of Sharon, Pennsylvania desperately needed the health care services that only a hospital can provide. Many residents were suffering from diseases caused by a lack of sanitation in the Shenango Valley. Diseases such as diphtheria, smallpox, pneumonia, typhoid, tuberculosis and pleurisy claimed many lives during this time. The community also had many surgical needs, frequently from industrial accidents and some from cancer.
The Sharon community helped found the facility that later became Sharon Regional Health System. On May 8, 1893, with a population of 7,000 people, the foundation for the Sharon and Sharpsville Charitable Hospital was incorporated.
Co-founders of the hospital were Dr. Elisha Griswold, Dr. Charles Hoyt, Dr. Joseph H. Reed and Dr. Salem Heilman, along with William Wallis, John C. Owsley, Joseph Forker, Earl A. Wheeler, John Bert and Luther A. Burrell. The original hospital building cost less than $40,000, with 80 percent funded by the community and 20 percent by the state.
On May 5, 1896, three days before the hospital was scheduled to open, the board changed the name to Christian H. Buhl Hospital. Buhl, a Detroit native, was credited with investing much in the Shenango Valley. All the hospital's linens were quickly marked accordingly before the grand opening that featured Pennsylvania Governor Hastings.
The Valley's first hospital opened on May 8, 1896 and was located on Silver Street between Shenango and Vine avenues.
By 1901, an addition was completed to the rear of the building. In 1903, two patient wards were also added. These wards featured 12 patient rooms, two large wards and two small wards and required 8 on-duty nurses at a time.
Nurses lived on the third floor and worked 10-12 hour shifts before taking night classes from the medical staff. Nurses initially earned $8 a month and furnished their own books and uniforms. A home for the nurses was built in 1917 with funds from the estate of Peter L. Kimberly.
Among the early community doctors who used the hospital were Dr. Griswold, Dr. Heilman, Dr. Reed, Dr. Hoyt, all of Sharon; Dr. Livingston and Dr. Hillier, both of West Middlesex; and Dr. Twitmyer, of Sharpsville. The Sharon Herald also indicates that the Valley's first female doctor, Phoebe Brooks, was not at first welcomed in the Women's Ward.
By 1927, the 108-bed hospital offered the community services in general medicine, general surgery, diabetes, gynecology and obstetrics, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pediatrics and syphilis. Daily rates for patients were $4-$7 for a private room and $3.50 for a bed in a ward. The average daily number of patients was 58. There were two doctors on the resident staff, 21 on the attending staff and 20 on the courtesy staff. The hospital had 33 support staff member.
Patients with contagious, mental and chronic diseases were not admitted to the hospital. Those with contagious diseases were taken to a house on the edge of town known as the isolation ward.
During the four years preceding 1943, the hospital's 50th anniversary, $490,000 was spent to better equip the facility for increased demands from war workers, soldiers and their families. More than a dozen physicians served in the military including Capt. George Wassell, flight surgeon and captain in the Army Air Forces who was killed in a 1942 airplane crash in England.
1939 - $145,314 was raised from community donations for a new addition. This addition included a remodeled third floor and a new fourth floor maternity department.
1942 - 1,438 babies were born at the hospital, which was an 18 percent increase from the previous year.
1949 - The hospital was renamed Shenango Valley General Hospital but the name was never formally adopted. The Board of Directors opted to name the facility Sharon General Hospital. That year the average daily census was 188 and the cost per patient day was $12.50.
1958 - The $1.25 million north addition was completed.
1963 - A psychiatric unit was added.
1968 - An intensive/coronary care center was added, increasing hospital capacity to 292-beds.
1979 - A $17 million expansion program began. The program included the construction of a 6-story, 111,179 square-foot addition to the hospital's west side, as well as the renovation of 77,500 square feet in the original building.
1985 - The modernization and expansion project was completed.
1986 - Corporate Health Services, a comprehensive occupational medicine program, was founded to better meet the needs of the corporate community.
1988 - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology was added as well as a 40-bed Skilled Care Center. The 4th floor was also renovated to relocate an expanded Behavioral Health Center.
On May 15, 1990, Sharon General Hospital was renamed Sharon Regional Health System. The change more accurately described the growth in health care services and technological capabilities offered by the hospital and its numerous centers throughout the region.
Under the new name, new programs were also born. These programs included a 19-bed inpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation unit, a 12-bed inpatient child/adolescent psychiatric unit, a speech therapy department, a pain management program and an expanded occupational therapy services.
In 1991 Sharon Regional Health System established a heart care center that brought cardiac diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative services into one newly remodeled facility on the 2nd floor of the hospital. This center continued to experience rapid growth throughout the decade. Opened in the summer of 2000, The Heart and Vascular Institute brought open heart surgery capabilities along with angioplasty, stenting and a second cardiac catheterization lab to Sharon Regional Health System.
Sharon Regional Health System has provided health care services to the region for more than 120 years. The hospital and healthcare system consists of a 251-bed Joint Commission-accredited hospital, along with satellite centers in Sharon, Hermitage, Mercer, and New Wilmington, PA and Hubbard, OH. Sharon Regional offers specialized services in behavioral health, breast care, cancer care, diabetes, emergency care (featuring Mercer County’s only certified chest pain center, primary stroke center, open heart/angioplasty/heart care institute), sleep medicine, sports medicine, inpatient rehabilitation, a school of nursing, a school of radiography, a women’s center and wound recovery & hyperbaric medicine.
740 East State Street
Sharon, PA 16146