Henry Ford at 100

The year, 1915…

The one millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.

Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson conducted the first cross-coastal telephone conversation between New York and San Francisco.

A German U-boat submarine sunk the Lusitania.

Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run, and the Tigers narrowly lost the AL pennant to the Red Sox.

Henry Ford Hospital opened as a 48-bed facility in Detroit.

Not that many institutions last 100 years.

Henry Ford Hospital

Henry Ford Hospital. Image courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives

It’s unbelievable at times to look back at the events of 1915, which point out how far we have come.

From the Model T to the Shelby Cobra, from the first phone call to cell phones, from the Tigers not winning to the pennant to…well, you get the picture.

Since Henry Ford Hospital officially opened on Oct. 1, 1915, each page of our history has been filled with groundbreaking achievements in medical science and patient care, all made possible by the amazingly talented people who walk the halls of Henry Ford Hospital.

Throughout the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to highlight many of these accomplishments on Doc in the D.

The heart and lung machine

The heart and lung machine

Starting with the first class of Henry Ford Medical Group physicians and the opening of the Clara Ford Nursing School to the invention of a six-finger surgical glove, penicillin research and discovery of Ormond’s disease, our story is one that is rich in achievement and tradition found only within a world-class institution.

Even after 100 years, it feels like we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible in medicine.

New technology, research and innovation emerge on a daily basis to challenge us to go further and learn more, all in a quest to provide the best possible care to our patients.

Graduates of the School of Nursing.

Graduates of the School of Nursing.

And, it all started with Henry Ford and his desire to build a hospital for the common man (and woman) in the city of Detroit.

An automotive pioneer, Henry Ford took a fresh approach to providing care and running a hospital.

He was the first to say that a hospital should be more like a hotel; the first to ban smoking on a hospital campus; the first to offer a “bill of fare” for medical services (how about retail medicine before retail medicine was invented!); and, according to our history, the first patient to get out of bed just hours after he had abdominal surgery to walk (early ambulation was not a prevailing attitude then).

Since then, we’ve continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible in medicine and health care.

Teamwork, innovation, inquisitiveness, collaboration and persistence have made it possible.

1086979341_davinci0179Would robotic surgery been possible without each of these? Would our transplantation or structural heart advances occurred without these values that date back to our inception 100 years ago?

Just this week, we had the chance to look into our future with the announcement of our new cancer center and neighborhood improvement initiative south of Grand Blvd. across from Henry Ford Hospital.

This project is a symbol of optimism for the future of cancer care, as well as growth and continued development in Detroit.

I’ve thought about what my successor will be thinking in 2115.

Will she think the same about our values? Will she talk about a health care world that we could only imagine?

Or could we?

I hope to be there to talk to her (someone will have to get hard at work on extending my telomeres. Quickly!)

I’m looking forward to the future at Henry Ford, and I’m proud to begin our next chapter, and our next 100 years, with you.

So today, Oct. 1, 2015, we celebrate you.

Thank you for all you do, each and every day, thank you for who you are as much as what you do.

And to Henry Ford Hospital, to paraphrase the traditional Italian toast, for another “Cent’Anni.”

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One thought on “Henry Ford at 100

  1. I am proud to be a member of the 1958 HFH School of Nursing class. Never have I had a problem getting a position in nursing. It is a great profession in all parts of my life… caring for my husband @ home until his death last year, raising my 3 daughters, being a proud grand mother of 5 & great grand mother of 3. My brother had his mitral valve of many years replaced by a catheter @ the age of 86 @ HFH. He is home in Northern MI, S of the bridge, feeling great & getting ready for winter, working at an ice rink, chopping wood to keep his home warm & highly recommends this procedure that doesn’t require the year of recovery when his chest was opened when he had it before. HFH thrives & keeps up with all forms of medicine.

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