PeaceHealth in Southwest Washington:
Revival of hospital meets community's wartime need
It was in 1943 that J.D. Tennant and other Longview civic leaders invited the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace to come to Longview to reopen a failed hospital, Longview Memorial, built in 1924. The Sisters already had a presence in the Northwest, running hospitals in Bellingham, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; and Ketchikan, Alaska.
The sisters agreed. Within six months they had launched a subscription drive, purchased the hospital for $85,000, and — in December 1943 — reopened the facility under the new name St. John's Hospital. Because of the war, only a handful of doctors were living in the area. Thousands of loggers, mill workers, and other local residents were without adequate health care. The sisters worked as nurses, caretakers, laundry workers, fund-raisers and clerks. Doctors visited from Portland to perform surgery.
The first major expansion was completed in 1952, adding 60 inpatient beds, expanded obstetric services and new operating rooms. Later hospital expansions included construction of a seven-story patient tower in 1968. In 1982 the Intensive Care Unit and the surgery area were expanded. A 62-provider multispecialty medical group, PeaceHealth Medical Group, was formed in 1992.
In September 1999 a $54 million expansion added PeaceHealth Professional Building, new operating rooms, a four-level parking structure, and other services to what's now known as St. John Medical Center.