Newton Medical Center is celebrating 125 years of providing quality care to the community in 2012. The quasquicentennial anniversary commemorates the founding of Axtell Christian Hospital, which later merged with Bethel Deaconess Hospital to form Newton Medical Center.
The Hospital will mark the event at the Chamber breakfast on Sept. 21 at the Meridian Center and the Chamber After Hours event on Sept. 26 at Newton Medical Center.
“Throughout the decades, we have worked to bring the highest quality care to our neighbors and friends,” said CEO Steve Kelly. “We are proud to continue the tradition of excellence and community-focused care established by John and Lucena Axtell and the Bethel deaconesses.”
When the Axtells opened their hospital in 1887, John Axtell introduced best practices that weren’t common elsewhere in Kansas. He insisted that the operating room be scrubbed and the muslin covering the skylight replaced after each surgery. He also required 15 minutes of hand scrubbing before surgery and was among the first to adopt rubber gloves in the 1890s. As a result, Axtell’s reputation as a superior hospital grew throughout the state.
Bethel Deaconess Hospital, which was dedicated in 1908, was founded as an extension of the Mennonite church’s home mission. The deaconesses also promoted health throughout the community. Sister Anna Penner was Newton’s first public health nurse, educating households on proper diet, hygiene and safety. She was also the first school nurse in the district
In the 1980s, the two hospitals agreed to merge. They began construction on a new hospital building and Newton Medical Center was dedicated in 1997.
NMC continues to serve Newton and has also expanded its reach to Park City and Valley Center, where it operates the Medical Plaza primary care clinics. In addition, the hospital acquired Advanced Neurology Consultants, Allen Eye Associates, Area Psychiatric Services, Lovelle Plastic Surgery Specialists and the Newton Surgical Group in 2012. An orthopedic and sports medicine team will join the NMC family in October.
“It’s our goal to build on the tradition set by our predecessors to ensure that patients have access to first-class, community-based care,” Kelly said.