Published on March 11, 2019

Medical Center Celebrates 75 Years of Caring

When MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland began operations 75 years ago, it offered medical, surgical and obstetrical care.

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland in 1944.

The Medical Center in 1944

The doors to the Midland Hospital opened for maternity patients on March 15, 1944, and the first patient - a baby boy - arrived later that day. More than 450 babies were born at the new hospital through the end of that first year.

The original Midland Hospital boasted 47 beds in a combination of single rooms, double rooms and multi-bed wards. Today, the Medical Center is a 324 licensed-bed hospital with private patient rooms and employs nearly 2,200 people, offering a full range of services and advanced technology. The active medical staff includes nearly 250 health care providers, representing more than 30 medical specialties providing a full range of primary care, as well as outstanding specialty care.

“We have been blessed with an awesome facility and campus,” said Greg Rogers, president of MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, and executive vice president of MidMichigan Health. It is truly an honor to be part of a team of employees, doctors and volunteers that are so devoted to providing excellent care to our community,” he added.

Rogers has been with the health system for 38 years and has been fortunate to witness some significant changes.

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland today.

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland today.

“Many of the milestones were marked by building and expansion,” he said. “I remember many improvements that included a new intensive care and day surgery units, the Plane Tree Café, the opening of the Campus Ridge Building, Center for Women’s Health, our Emergency Department, Riecker Surgery Center, as well as the Infusion Center. The most memorable is the Medical Center expansion that opened in 2011 and allowed us to offer private patient rooms. And, soon, we will open the new Heart and Vascular Center next summer. We’re continuing to expand in order to serve our community, as well as our region, better.”

His most vivid memories, however, are all about the people who have come through the doors seeking help, and those offering help. “It’s truly about the people who work here, the people in the community we care for, and the impact we have on their lives,” Rogers said.

“I think about the people who received emergency care at our Level II Trauma Center. I think about the people who have undergone heart procedures and how their quality of life improved,” Rogers said. “I think about the people who would not be alive today if we did not have this facility and our outstanding staff.”

Caring for patients has always been the priority according to Susan Janke, L.M.S.W. (licensed master of social work), of the Case Management Department who has been with the Medical Center since 1984. “Our technology is vastly different, the employees change, and the building itself has been replaced, renovated, and updated,” Janke said. “However, the compassion and caring from our employees continues to endure. We care for each other, our patients and their families.”

The Flood of 1986 stands out in her memory as a testimony to employees’ dedication. “I will never forget boats delivering people who were rescued from the local neighborhoods,” she said. “I remember sharing warm blankets, food and resource information with people who had been displaced. While part of the hospital was flooded, the staff continued to care for our patients and others even when they, too, were dealing with their own flooded homes.”

Another employee, Mary Jo Witer, R.N., in the Pre-Admissions Department, was born at the Medical Center in 1959. “I started here at my first – and only – job as a registered nurse in 1979,” she said. “I have seen many changes over the past 40 years. One of the biggest changes was in labor and delivery when we transitioned to couplet care - caring for the mother and the baby together as a family unit. I loved helping so many families get a great start here at MidMichigan.”

The original Midland Hospital cost $413,000. More than half of the total – $268,761 – came from members of the community. From high school students to community leaders, from business owners to workers from every walk of life, the people of Midland were a generous and powerful force behind the hospital.

Midlanders donated their time and talent as well. Shortly before the hospital opened its doors, hundreds of volunteers helped with the finishing touches – cleaning, stocking shelves and preparing for the first patients.

It is a tradition that continues today. Whether greeting visitors, working in the gift shop, offering clerical help, or supporting concerned family members of surgical patients, hundreds of volunteers of all ages still play an important role at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland.

“From the very beginning, the community has been very supportive of our efforts, and we are truly thankful for that,” Rogers said. “We’re glad to be here and glad to be able to serve the people in our community.”

Recent Medical Center Milestones

2017 - Broke ground on the new Heart and Vascular Center.

2013 - MidMichigan Health affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan Health System.

2011 - A three-year expansion and renovation was completed and the Medical Center is now a 324 licensed-bed hospital with all private patient rooms.

2007 - The first open heart surgery was performed at the Medical Center in Midland.

2001 - The new Emergency Department opened, doubling the size of the former facility.

Additional Publications

Midland Daily News Feature: Throw Back of Midland Hospital

Midland Daily News Feature: Nurses Reflect on MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland’s 75 Years