Sinai Samaritan Medical Center Records, 1835-2013


Sinai Samaritan Medical Center was created from the merger of Mount Sinai and Good Samaritan Medical Centers in 1988. The Good Samaritan Medical Center was created in 1980 by the merger of Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital and the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital.

In 1909 the Evangelical Deaconess Society of Wisconsin was created, along with it the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. The first hospital was opened in 1910 in a converted private residence on Grand Avenue (now Wisconsin Avenue). The hospital grew rapidly: a new four-story structure was erected and opened in 1917, which included 50 beds; in 1922 a home was purchased on the corner of 19th Street and Grand Avenue, which became a twenty-two bed maternity ward; in 1924 a new addition was started, which, upon completion, brought the total bed count of Deaconess to 180; other additions were constructed in 1954 and 1963. In 1960, Deaconess became the first private institution to conduct open heart surgery. By the 1970s it became evident that to provide health care for Milwaukee in the best possible way, independent hospitals would have to merge. In 1980, Deaconess merged with Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital to form the Good Samaritan Medical Center. Over the next five years, services were moved out of the existing Deaconess complex on 19th Street and Wisconsin Avenue; in 1985 the complex was sold to Marquette University and consequently razed.

The Evangelical Deaconess School of Nursing was organized in 1917 and became an accredited nursing school in 1921. The first graduating class was in 1921, with four women.

In 1893, the original Deaconess Motherhouse Association was established on the Milwaukee Hospital grounds to "sustain and train young women to serve the Lord and the needs of others." In 1927 the group affiliated with the American Lutheran Church and by 1957 more then 50 sisters had taken up residency at the site. The Motherhouse closed in 1977.

Milwaukee Hospital was founded in 1863 by William A. Passavant, who journeyed from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the urging of area clergymen who saw a desperate need for a health care facility. Prominent Milwaukee citizens and churches provided the funds for the initial purchase of land and the large house which was converted into a 20-bed hospital. Community support again provided funds for the construction of an actual hospital in 1883. Twice the hospital rebuilt and seven major expansion projects were undertaken. The name changed from Milwaukee Hospital to Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital in 1966. In 1980, Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital merged with the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital to form the Good Samaritan Medical Center.

The Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1903, with its first class of 6 graduating in 1906. New trends in nursing education, including an increase in 4-year baccalaureate nursing degrees and a corresponding decrease in diploma schools of nursing, led the school of nursing to close in 1973.

After lengthy negotiations, Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital and Evangelical Deaconess Hospital merged to become the Good Samaritan Medical Center in 1980. In 1977 the radiology departments of Deaconess and Lutheran consolidated their services; the same year a memo was released from the "Joint Merger Team" that Deaconess, Lutheran, and the proposed Froedtert hospitals agreed that, under pressure from the state of Wisconsin, that a merger was the best thing to do in order to make health care delivery more efficient in the downtown Milwaukee area. Froedtert Hospital was dropped from consideration in the mergers early on, so the work began to consolidate Deaconess and Lutheran. Each hospital was an established organization in the area, despite their close proximity to each other, so each had an identity within the community. After three more years of on and off negotiations Lutheran and Deaconess hospitals finally agreed to a merger in 1980. At first both the Deaconess and Lutheran campus buildings were utilized, but were consolidated into the Lutheran campus on State Street in 1985.

Mount Sinai Medical Center started as a 15-bed facility at a former YMCA building on North 4th and Walnut Streets in 1903, but within four years the hospital needed more space and a $7,000 addition was built to add 10 private rooms and 2 eight bed wards. In 1913 a new 60-bed hospital was built at North 12th Street and West Kilbourn Avenue and by 1922 a 100-bed wing and nurses' residence had been added. Over the years Sinai has been well-known for its care of the indigent. In 1968, the board of trustees cited the principle of charity in its decision to remain downtown, while other hospitals were moving to the suburbs.

Sinai Samaritan Medical Center was created in 1987 with the merger of Good Samaritan Medical Center and the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Two campuses were operated for a time, the Good Samaritan campus on West Kilbourn, and the Mount Sinai campus on North 12th Street. In 1996, plans were unveiled for an expansion of the Sinai campus, which led to the consolidation of services and the closing of the Lutheran campus, which still stands today.