From modest beginnings, more than 100 years ago as a 37-bed hospital housed in a converted private home, Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) has grown to an 848-bed regional referral and specialty center.
Learn more about MVH history from early days to modern times and future endeavors.
The Early Days
Between 1870 and 1890, the population in the Dayton area doubled, prompting area Protestant ministers to explore the possibility of founding a hospital. In September 1890, the Protestant Deaconess Society of Dayton was established, providing house-to-house patient care by the Deaconess sisters. By December of that year, the Society began searching for a site to open a temporary hospital, and on October 19, 1891, MVH opened as the Protestant Deaconess Hospital. The temporary hospital was located at the Adam Pritz house on East Fourth Street.
It soon became clear that the 37-bed hospital was outgrowing the capacity of the Pritz home. The Protestant Deaconess Society embraced the hearty task of raising $100,000 to build a permanent hospital, and on October 14, 1894, the new Protestant Deaconess Hospital was dedicated. With a separate surgical suite and capacity for up to 150 beds, the Protestant Deaconess Hospital was ready to tend to both the working and wealthy classes of Dayton.
In 1895, the hospital treated patients for an average cost of 74 cents per patient per day. The hospital charged five dollars a week for a private room and whatever the patient could afford in the public wards.
Turn of the Century
In 1899, the Protestant Deaconess Hospital established Dayton’s first School of Nursing. Seven nursing students were a part of the inaugural class, and these nurses-in-training were an integral part of the hospital’s staff.
The community support of Protestant Deaconess Hospital continued to grow, and in response the hospital began to expand its services. An eight-bed maternity ward opened in early 1900, the first in the Dayton area. The hospital also opened its Twin Star children’s ward in 1900 so that children could be treated separately from adults.
In January 1903, the hospital formally changed its name from the Protestant Deaconess Hospital to the Miami Valley Hospital. That same year also marked the opening of Patterson Surgery, a leading-edge facility complete with the hospital’s first x-ray equipment.
Dayton’s first emergency room was opened beneath the main surgery floor in 1912. MVH also established outpatient clinics in 1913 in response to the aftermath of the 1913 flood.
A National and Regional Reputation for Excellence
In the 1920s and 1930s, MVH’s reputation went from being solely a medical facility to being nationally recognized for advancements in medical knowledge. Thanks to the support from benefactor Charles F. Kettering, Miami Valley Hospital became the national center for fever therapy research in 1931, a position it retained until medical research uncovered the use of penicillin to reduce fevers years later.
In 1944, Miami Valley Hospital began to serve as the regional treatment center for all polio cases during the acute stage of the disease. It served as the area’s primary treatment center for the disease until the Salk vaccine was instituted in 1955.
MVH opened the region’s first hospital-based psychiatric ward in 1948. The 24-bed unit was an accomplishment for the hospital, since at that time less than 1 percent of the nation’s general hospitals offered inpatient psychiatric services. In 1952, MVH opened the Radioisotope Laboratory, a forerunner to nuclear medicine. MVH was the first non-university hospital in Ohio to be authorized by the Atomic Energy Commission to use radioactive materials in research and patient care.
In early 1950, fundraising began city-wide to build a “new” MVH with an efficient floor plan and room for future expansion. The new hospital represented the largest civic undertaking in Dayton history. The hospital dedication ceremony on September 27, 1953, was attended by 4,500 Dayton citizens, and the facility clearly stood out as the city’s most advanced health care facility.
In February 1959, MVH continued its commitment to medical advances by opening Dayton’s first intensive care unit. The 12-bed unit was put into place with plans to expand the unit to 26 beds in the near future. A little more than a year later, the new School of Nursing was dedicated on August 20, 1960, touting a brand-new facility and residence hall for students.
Striving for Cardiac Excellence
MVH instituted a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory in 1957, giving doctors the tools to perform diagnostic procedures for more tailored cardiac care. The addition of a formal cardiac resuscitation program in 1963 and heart monitoring equipment in the intensive care ward in 1965 established MVH’s first Coronary Care Unit. The hospital performed its first open heart operation on November 28, 1968.
MVH’s commitment to exceptional cardiac care has continued to the present, when the hospital recently earned the Coronary Intervention Excellence award in the Tenth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study. This honor denotes MVH’s performance in the top 10 percent for clinical excellence in the United States.
Providing Emergency Services
In order for MVH to better provide emergency care for its patients, the region’s first air ambulance was put into service in October 1983. CareFlight made rapid, emergency transport available within a 75-mile radius. By its second year, CareFlight was averaging better than one transport each day and currently makes countless trips across the region on a daily basis.
MVH also provides medical care to its smallest patients. In 1975, the McIntire Perinatal Center opened, bringing the Dayton area rapid advances in the fields of perinatology and neonatology. In 1990, Miami Valley Hospital further expanded its facilities with the opening of the $21 million Berry Women's Center. As the regional referral center, MVH handles a large portion of high-risk births. The first quintuplets of the new millennium were born at the hospital, and approximately 5,000 babies each year start their lives at MVH. In addition, a $19 million renovation and expansion of MVH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was completed in the spring of 2009.
MVH—Today and Tomorrow
Today, MVH delivers comprehensive health care services with more than 1,100 physicians in 50 primary and specialty medical practice areas with 848 registered beds. Miami Valley earned a Magnet status in nursing in 2004. This prestigious distinction that recognizes hospitals with outstanding nursing practices. At that time, MVH was the first hospital in Dayton, as well as the fifth hospital in Ohio and one of only 115 hospitals nationally, to reach this ultimate benchmark in quality nursing.
MVH features the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, CareFlight air ambulance program, and Adult Burn Center, as well as the only Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, and the only Level IIIB center for high-risk maternity and newborn care all under one roof.
MVH is a proud member of the Premier Health system. This health system allows us to collaborate rather than compete with our sister hospitals, leveraging the strengths of our partnership for the well-being of everyone we serve.
Content Updated: April 20, 2015