OUR STORY 

History

On a chilly November 11, 1874, six Sisters of Mercy arrived in Baltimore to take charge of a health dispensary called the Baltimore City Hospital. Located in a former schoolhouse at the corner of Calvert and Saratoga Streets, it was a dingy building whose meager appearance belied its enormous promise. Over a century later, that promise has been fulfilled thanks to The Sisters of Mercy and the many medical and professional staff who provided care to generations of Baltimoreans on the same site where Mercy was founded.

Today, Mercy Medical Center is a thriving hospital recognized nationally for its quality patient care, state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding medical staff. Mercy has been named one of the nation's Top 100 hospitals, based on quality and performance standards, and was also named one of America's 10 Best Women's Centers. Mercy Medical Center is a university affiliated hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

Mercy is a full service medical center delivering a comprehensive range of health services including internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, vascular health, urology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, cardiology, minimally invasive and cosmetic surgery, ophthalmology, rehabilitative care and emergency medicine. Additionally, Mercy enjoys a regional reputation for programs such as:

The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy

The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease

The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital at Mercy

The Weinberg Center for Women's Health & Medicine at Mercy

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The Sisters Arrive in Baltimore

In 1870, the Washington University School of Medicine established Baltimore City Hospital, a dispensary in an abandoned schoolhouse to care for poor patients in downtown Baltimore. Doctors received clinical experience there to supplement their medical education. Shortly after opening, it became apparent that the dispensary needed effective nursing care and leadership. The doctors invited the Sisters of Mercy to take over the facility.

The Sisters of Mercy were founded by Catherine McAuley, who had used her large inheritance to build a refuge for homeless and abused women in Dublin, Ireland. In 1831 she took religious vows and became the first Sister of Mercy, a group of Catholic women committed to serve God's people, especially persons who are poor, sick and uneducated. Eventually, the Sisters established a presence in the United States, settling in southwest Baltimore at what is now St. Peter the Apostle parish.

When the Baltimore doctors appealed for help, the Sisters were busy serving as nurses in the Douglas Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., caring for sick and wounded veterans of the Civil War.

Happy to assist, six sisters led by Sister Mary Augustine Gwynne arrived to take charge of City Hospital. On that day, Baltimore newspapers reported, "The change will no doubt be for the better."

Four years later, the Washington University School of Medicine merged with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and hospital control was granted to the Sisters of Mercy. In 1909, the hospital's name changed from Baltimore City Hospital to Mercy Hospital.

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Historical Highlights

  • The Sisters Begin a Commitment to Nursing Excellence to Last for Generations-The Mercy Hospital School of Nursing first opened its doors in 1899.
  • The Sisters of Mercy Provide Aid During Great Baltimore Fire - A massive fire destroyed most of Baltimore in 1904, coming within a block of Mercy. As City firefighters worked hard to fight the flames, The Sisters of Mercy cared for the injured men and served coffee and sandwiches around the clock.
  • Mercy's Association with the University of Maryland Begins - A major teaching affiliation between Mercy and the University of Maryland School of Medicine began in 1916. This relationship has allowed medical school students and residents the opportunity to train in the Hospital. This affiliation has also allowed Mercy to better serve the community by expanding the number of qualified doctors available to care for the families of Baltimore. It is a reflection of Mercy's commitment to training the future medical workforce.
  • A Helping Hand During the Great Depression - Following the true spirit of Mercy, the Sisters fed hundreds of men and women during the Great Depression. Everyday at noon, bread lines were formed behind the Hospital and the Sisters provided food for those individuals who were out of work and bankrupt. Sister Mary Helen, chief executive officer from 1930 to 1936, never asked for any money for the food.
  • Mercy Remains Committed to the City - During the 1940s, the Advisory Board made the important decision to keep Mercy downtown, remaining loyal to Baltimore City. The importance of serving the poor patients in the Inner City during these tough times and the maintenance of the relationship with the University of Maryland Medical Center were the main reasons why the Advisory Board decided to stay.
  • The Sisters of Mercy Construct Tower Building - The purchase of the old City Welfare Buildings on St. Paul Street paved the way for the future location of Mercy's Tower Building. Sister Mary Veronica, chief executive officer from 1936 to 1941 and again from 1947 to 1953, directed the planning for the Tower Building. Then in 1960, under the guidance of Sister Mary Scholastica, chief executive officer, construction of the 20-story complex began. The Tower Building houses patient floors, many medical programs and the Sisters' convent.
  • Mercy's Continued Growth Provides Quality Care - Construction of the Tower Building would be completed in February 1963 under the direction of Sr. Mary Thomas, Chief Executive Officer. Construction of the Cahill Memorial Chapel and the Burk Building would quickly follow; the latter, funded in part by a donation from the Knott Family, housed a new emergency department and outpatient facilities. In the ensuing years, Mercy Southern, the first neighborhood health center with nurse practitioners, was established and a 750-car parking facility was built. The Sisters brought the medical services directly to Baltimore neighborhoods, making it easier for people to receive quality care. Mercy Southern, a subsidiary of Family Health Centers of Baltimore, is a pediatric health center located at 1200 S. Hanover Street in South Baltimore.
  • Sister Mary Thomas, RSM Fulfills Needs with New Programs -Throughout her 35-year tenure as CEO of Mercy, Sister Mary Thomas always looked to create new ways to serve the community. She developed a Corporate Care program to fulfill the needs of professionals in the City. She initiated WomanCare, neonatal intensive care, home health, the eating disorders unit, international travelers' services, the Schaefer Vascular lab and outpatient chemotherapy. She played a critical role in the decisions that have kept Mercy a vibrant part of Baltimore City until her death in 2003.Sister Mary Thomas, RSM Fulfills Needs with New Programs -Throughout her 35-year tenure as CEO of Mercy, Sister Mary Thomas always looked to create new ways to serve the community. She developed a Corporate Care program to fulfill the needs of professionals in the City. She initiated WomanCare, neonatal intensive care, home health, the eating disorders unit, international travelers' services, the Schaefer Vascular lab and outpatient chemotherapy. She played a critical role in the decisions that have kept Mercy a vibrant part of Baltimore City until her death in 2003.
  • The Mercy of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Adheres to Core Values - In more recent years, Mercy has continued to make adjustments to social conditions, thus maintaining its core values and expanding its services to explore new areas of health and medicine. Mercy was named one of America's best women's centers under the guidance of former President and CEO, Sister Helen Amos, RSM, currently executive chair, Board of Trustees, Mercy Health Services. Of special note, Sister Helen was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 1999 and 2001.
  • Women's Health Launches Centers of Excellence - The Center for Women's Health and Medicine was launched in 1994. A Gallup study was commissioned and a research team was sent across the country to examine the nation's best women's centers. The result is a resource that gives women access to one-stop health care and education. The renowned Center for Women's Health & Medicine, under the direction of gynecologic surgeon Neil B. Rosenshein, M.D., is now housed in the prestigious Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center at Mercy.
  • Mercy FamilyCare Responds to Community Health Needs - Mercy FamilyCare was introduced in 1995 by Sister Helen Amos. The opening of Mercy FamilyCare was a major event in Mercy's history, allowing Mercy to redefine and improve the care provided for decades to the people of Baltimore. Mercy FamilyCare, located at 315 N. Calvert Street, is now a part of the Family Health Centers of Baltimore.
  • Mercy is Among Elite Top 100 Hospitals - Mercy Medical Center is named among the Top 100 hospitals in the nation in 1996 based on financial performance and quality of patient care. It is the only Maryland hospital on the list, which is compiled each year by HCIA Inc., a Baltimore-based health care information services firm, and a division of William M. Mercer, Inc. The hospitals that make the list represent a balance of high quality and efficient delivery of care as well as superior financial performance.
  • Mercy Health Services Welcomes Stella Maris - Interested in providing more service to the elderly, Sister Helen Amos headed efforts to bring Stella Maris into the Mercy Health Services family. Maryland's largest long-term care/geriatric facility, Stella Maris is located in Timonium. A joint venture between Mercy, Stella Maris, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore was initiated to develop 32 acres of adjacent property into a continuing care retirement community known as "Mercy Ridge."
  • Mercy's Women's Center Named as One of Nation's 10 Best - A year in which a hospital with a wonderful legacy was recognized as one of the region's premier integrated health care delivery systems - a true partner with our physicians, other providers and our neighboring communities. Mercy Medical Center was named by Self magazine as one of the 10 best hospitals for women's care in the nation in 1997. The Center for Women's Health & Medicine at Mercy places great emphasis on women's primary care and wellness.
  • Vascular Center Joins Prestigious Centers of Excellence - The Vascular Center at Mercy opened its doors on April 2, 1998. The Center offers state-of-the-art detection, treatment, and prevention of circulatory system disease. The Center is one of the premier vascular centers in the region and has a team of highly trained physicians, nurses, and vascular technicians.
  • Board of Trustees Appoint New President/CEO - The transition in leadership from Sr. Helen Amos to Thomas R. Mullen, the first lay president and chief executive officer to guide Mercy, occurred on July 1, 1999. Sister Helen, appointed executive chair, is still very much a part of Mercy's mission. Under the guidance of President and CEO, Thomas R. Mullen Mercy continues to be a driving force in the healthcare industry as programs are expanded, new facilities opened and new physicians are welcomed.
  • The Sisters of Mercy Celebrate Milestone Anniversary - The passion drives the dream as Mercy celebrates 125 years of the highest quality of healthcare and services to the Baltimore community. It was on Nov. 11, 1874 when the Sisters of Mercy placed their roots in Baltimore and remain to this day.
  • Mercy Medical Center receives id="mce_marker"0 Million Philanthropic Gift - The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation gave Mercy id="mce_marker"0 million for the construction of a new, signature building on the downtown campus. At the time this was the Hospital's largest single philanthropic contribution. The Hospital's 117,000 sq. ft. ambulatory services building currently houses Women's Services, Surgical Services, Radiation Oncology and the Cancer Services. The building is named The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center in honor of Harry and Jeanette Weinberg.
  • $50 Million 32-Acre Mercy Ridge Complex Opens - Senior living campus Mercy Ridge, a long-term care retirement community, opened in Timonium on July 11, 2001. The non-profit retirement community has finished phase II and now has 408 independent units, 47 assisted living units and has added a performing arts center, swimming pool, group exercise studio, movie theater and bistro.
  • Long-Time Friend Gives $5 Million Gift-Mercy has received tremendous support in the form of gifts. One gift of special note was a $5 million gift from Mary Catherine Bunting. The pastoral care programs at Stella Maris and Mercy Medical Center are the beneficiaries of the Mary Catherine Bunting gift in recognition of the spiritual support services that are provided to all our patients and residents.
  • The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital at Mercy Opens Featuring Two New Centers - Under the direction of Thomas V. Whitten, M.D., chief of Orthopedics, Mercy assembles a prestigious team of orthopedic surgeons. The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital features the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction and the Maryland Spine Center. Dr. Mark S. Myerson, an internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon is the medical director of the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction. The Maryland Spine Center's founder, Dr. Charles C. Edwards, is recognized as among the nation's most prominent spinal & orthopedic surgeons.
  • Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mercy (CMIS) Opens - The Center opened with uniquely qualified and trained physicians in advanced laparoscopic techniques. Surgeons Drs. Thomas J. Swope, Kelly Alexander and gynecologist Dr. Fermin F. Barrueto specialize in minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery results in faster recovery, less scaring and quicker return to daily routine.
  • The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center Becomes Landmark Showpiece - The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center opened in 2003 under much fanfare and became home to many of the Centers of Excellence. Among them, The Gynecologic Oncology Center led by internationally renowned surgeon, Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein; The Hoffberger Breast Center under Dr. Neil B. Friedman; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery under Dr. Bernard Chang; Mercy's Women's Specialty Programs, the new Surgery Center at Weinberg and the Radiation Oncology Department.
  • Overlea Personal Physicians Expands Service to Community - Overlea Personal Physicians, a major primary care satellite of Mercy, opened its expanded facility in September 2004. The $3 million, 28,000 square foot medical center is home to Overlea Personal Physicians internal medicine and family care group. The facility features an expansive list of medical specialists in neurosurgery, vascular medicine, orthopedics, podiatry, gastroenterology, urology, general surgery, and more. The Heart Center is the newest addition to the growing practice at Overlea under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Kahn.
  • The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy Opens - Surgical oncologist Dr. Armando Sardi officially joined the Mercy family on Feb. 1, 2006 as the director of The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy. The Institute is housed in The Weinberg Center and provides comprehensive care for a variety of cancers.
  • Mercy Receives Transformational Philanthropic Gift - The largest philanthropic gift in Mercy's history was given in 2007 for the construction of an all new, 20-story hospital on Mercy's campus. Mercy's "old" Pleasant Street Garage was imploded to make way for the new construction.
  • Mercy Opens New Parking Garage - In 2007 Mercy opened a new, 1300-space parking facility (The Bunting Garage), which would later connect to the new hospital.
  • The Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy Opens - Under the leadership of Drs. David Posner and Paul Thuluvath, a team of noted physician specialists formed The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy in 2008. The Institute provides comprehensive screening and general care as well as highly specialized care for gastroenterologic diseases.
  • The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy Opens - Including The Center for Bone Health at Mercy, The Diabetes Center at Mercy and The Thyroid Center at Mercy, The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy opened in 2010 and is located in Mercy's Weinberg Center.
  • Mercy's New Hospital, The Mary Catherine Bunting Center, Opens - On December 19, 2010 Mercy officially opened its new, 686,000 square-foot hospital. The spacious new facility features all private patient rooms, 15 new, state-of-the-art operating rooms, rooftop gardens, an interdenominational chapel and valet as well as connected self-parking.

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Key Dates

1874 Sisters of Mercy assume control of the Baltimore City Hospital, also known as Washington University Hospital
1878 Washington University and College of Physicians and Surgeons merge; Hospital control goes to Sisters of Mercy
1880s John Philip Sousa plays benefit concert to fund new Mercy buildings
1897 Hospital establishes City's first Pasteur Institute to treat rabies
1899 Mercy School of Nursing opens its doors and enrolls first class
1904 Sisters tend to injured firefighters during Great Baltimore Fire
1911 Hospital changes its name to Mercy Hospital
1916 Physician medical education affiliation begins with University of Maryland School of Medicine
1920 Mercy opens area's first Brochoscopic Clinic
1930s Sisters feed homeless in breadlines behind hospital during Great Depression
1940s Sisters recommit to Baltimore City, decide to remain downtown
1943 Baltimore's first Anticoagulant Clinic opens at Mercy
1947 Mercy makes key decision to stay in downtown Baltimore
1958 Mercy breaks ground for inpatient Tower Building
1963 Construction of Mercy's Tower Building complete
1968 Mercy opens Coronary Intensive Care Unit
1975 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opens
1979 Hospital opens one of the first Birthing Rooms with homelike décor
1984 WomanCare, providing women access to full spectrum of services begins
1988 Mercy Hospital changes name to Mercy Medical Center
1991 Professional Office Building /Sr. Mary Thomas Conference Center opens
1992 Sr. Helen Amos, RSM, appointed Mercy President and CEO
1994 Center for Women's Health and Medicine at Mercy opens now featuring The Gynecology Center, The Breast Center, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, and Women's Imaging

Internationally renowned surgeon Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein joins Mercy as Director of The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy
1996 Mercy named among Top 100 Hospitals in the nation

1997 Stella Maris, Maryland's largest long term care facility, becomes part of Mercy family

Mercy named One of America's 10 Best Women's Centers
1998 The Vascular Center at Mercy opens
1999 Mercy celebrates 125 years of providing service at same location in downtown Baltimore

Thomas R. Mullen becomes Mercy's first lay President and CEO as Sr. Helen Amos is appointed Executive Chair of Mercy Health Services

2001 Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation gives Mercy id="mce_marker"0 million for the construction of a new, signature building in the downtown campus

Senior living campus Mercy Ridge opens in Timonium

2002 Mary Catherine Bunting gives Mercy $5 million for Pastoral Care and spiritual services for patients

The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital at Mercy opens featuring The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction and The Maryland Spine Center

Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mercy opens
2003 The new Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center and Saratoga Parking Center (Weinberg Garage) open. The Weinberg Center houses Mercy's Women's Specialty Programs, the Surgery Center at Weinberg, Radiation Oncology Department and Cancer Services.
2004 Overlea Personal Physicians, a major primary care satellite of Mercy opens new facility
2005 The Heart Center at Overlea opens at Overlea Personal Physicians
2006 The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy opens under the medical expertise of Dr. Armando Sardi
2007

Mercy Medical Center receives its largest ever philanthropic gift to construct a new, 20-story hospital on its campus

Mercy opens a new 1300-space parking garage (The Bunting Garage) which will provide all-weather access to the new hospital upon its completion

2008 The Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease opens under the leadership of Drs. David Posner and Paul Thuluvath
2010

Mercy opens its new hospital, The Mary Catherine Bunting Center. The Bunting Center features all private patient rooms and 15 new state-of-the-art operating rooms.

The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy opens featuring The Bone Health Center at Mercy, The Diabetes Center at Mercy and The Thyroid Center at Mercy

 

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