A nine-time Gallup Great Workplace Award recipient, Hendrick Medical Center has constantly met the healthcare needs of Abilene and the surrounding area. With a strong Baptist heritage due to the efforts of its founding father, Millard Jenkins, pastor of First Baptist Church, Abilene, throughout its 90-plus year history, the hospital’s purpose has remained “to provide high quality healthcare emphasizing excellence and compassion consistent with the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
Executive leadership has included:
- H. V. Campbell, superintendent, 1924-1927
- L. A. Sanders, superintendent, 1927-1929
- Earl M. Collier, superintendent and president, 1929-1970
- Richard Spalding, interim president, April, 1980-November, 1980
- Boone Powell, Jr., FACHE, CEO and president, 1970-1980
- Michael C. Waters, FACHE, CEO and president, 1980-2004
- Tim Lancaster, FACHE, CEO and president, 2004-present
Named West Texas Baptist Sanitarium, the hospital opened in September, 1924. Soon, the financial devastation of the Great Depression hit, leading the hospital to begin accepting chickens, goats and black-eyed peas as payment for service. A gift from T.G. Hendrick, local businessman, saved the hospital financially, and it was renamed Hendrick Memorial Hospital.
Needs increased in the 1940s, when Camp Barkley brought hundreds of families to Abilene. Then, in 1943, the maternity ward doubled in capacity to care for the post-war baby boom. Hendrick Memorial Hospital was awarded a $100,000 governmental grant as a part of the Federal Works Project.
Dyess Air Force Base was established in the 1950s, bringing more growth to Abilene. A fund drive allowed the public to help purchase new equipment for the hospital, including new operating room lights, a cardiac defibrillator, operating room cardioscope, oxygen tents, bassinets and suction machines. Parker Hall was built in 1958, expanding nursing services to address the polio epidemic.
In the 1960s, Hendrick added an X-ray department, a monitoring unit for catheterization and an oscillating bed. The Anderson Wing was completed, providing 84 new rooms, an emergency room, new administrative offices and a new clinical lab. The Meek Wing was built to house Meek Children's Hospital, additional space for the nursing school, the blood bank and a medical library. Hendrick Memorial Hospital became known as the largest hospital between Fort Worth and El Paso.
In the 1970s, the emergency room expanded to 24/7 service. The Critical Care Unit opened, obstetrics expanded and was renamed "Mothercare," and children’s services increased. The Physical Therapy department was added in 1974, along with the Hendrick Medical Center Foundation. The Professional Center opened, offering physicians and services easy access to the hospital, whose name was changed to Hendrick Medical Center, a better representation of the medical services offered to the community.
In the 1980s, the Patient Relations department was added, Hendrick League House opened, and new Cardiac Cath Lab equipment was purchased. A new labor and delivery unit was built, including a nursery, with plans for a birthing suite.
In the 1990s, Hendrick Heartsaver Network was formed and a pediatric ICU opened. The Shelton Building was dedicated with expanded services of Hendrick Cancer Center and Hendrick Day Surgery. Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation was built, Vera West Women’s Center was dedicated, and First Flight air ambulance service arrived. Hendrick’s service area expanded to cover 22 counties.
In the new millennium, the Patty Hanks School of Nursing opened on the Hendrick campus, and Pulmonary Rehab moved to its new location. Hendrick Women's Health Network launched, as did the first hyperbaric oxygen therapy program in the area. Hendrick Emergency Center opened, and the James and Cynthia Parker Wing was named. Inpatient satisfaction remained in the 90th percentile in the nation, as Hendrick introduced electronic systems to streamline processes and patient communication.
Project 2010 ushered in the largest expansion to date, bringing the new building to 250,000 sq. ft., 10 times larger than the original campus. Some of the projects include:
- A front entrance canopy for patient drop off and pick up; a lobby addition; a parking structure with an additional 81 parking spaces; and a convenient boulevard drive at the main entrance;
- Hendrick Children's Hospital, to include 20 patient rooms with sleep accommodations for parents; two procedure or exam rooms; three Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU), with specialized, high-tech equipment for children and special accommodations for parents; two family rooms; an outdoor terrace; and new décor;
- Remodeling of the The Archway Cafe;
- Expansion of Hendrick Health Club;
- The Birthplace at Hendrick, including eight Labor-Delivery-Recovery rooms (LDRs), four antenatal rooms for diagnostic tests and monitoring before the baby is born; three triage rooms and one exam room;
- 12 operating rooms, two cardiovascular operating rooms, specialized rooms for cysto (urinary) and gastrointestinal (G.I.) procedures, five major treatment rooms and expansive family waiting areas;
- New 33,800 sq. ft. physician office building;
- Two top stories shelled out for future expansion;
- Expanded lab with new equipment;
- A new sterile processing unit for surgical instruments;
- New and larger ICU waiting area;
- Infusion Clinic, offering 12 individual treatment areas;
- Central Supply relocation;
- A new Wound Care Center with four treatment rooms and space for five hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) chambers.
Since Project 2010, growth continued with the addition of the following:
- Two new operating rooms, including an Arm (Mobile X-ray unit that provides imaging during neurosurgery) and a Biplane Fluroscopic X-ray.
- ContinueCare Hospital at Hendrick, a long-term care facility with larger rooms to accommodate patients and families, visiting areas and easy access to other clinical patient-related services;
- Renovation of two floors of the Professional Center for urology and neurology physicians;
- An expansive Radiology department, featuring a CT Scanner with Caring Suite, Interventional Bi-plane Suite and Digital Radiology Room;
- Hendrick Medical Plaza on Abilene’s south side, with physician offices, diagnostic X-ray, CT and ultrasound services, a laboratory draw station and Meek Blood Center draw station;
- Partnership with Texas Tech University to build a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC);
- Partnership with Texas Tech University to build a School of Public Health to open in summer of 2016.
- Construction of a new Hendrick Friendship House, a partnership with Connecting Caring Communities, designed to strengthen neighborhood relationships;
- Construction began on Hendrick Hospice Care Center, a 40,800 square-foot complex including 16 patient rooms, family rooms, bereavement center and library, administrative and home care offices, chapel, community room and counseling room to be completed in August of 2016.
Today, Hendrick Health System looks forward to future expansion that will continue the legacy of providing the citizens of Abilene and the 19 surrounding counties with a complete system of health services. Projects slated for the immediate future include:
- Nursery renovation to include an updated facility with neonatal expansion;
- A free standing emergency department at Hendrick Medical Plaza;
- In collaboration with community partners and the Junior League of Abilene, extensive remodeling of the Hendrick League House this spring.
As area residents steadily look to Hendrick as their first choice for comprehensive healthcare, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue our legacy of serving our community.