Mercy Fitzgerald As Rich in History As Lansdowne Itself

Being new to the Lansdowne area, having just moved here in July 2015, I went through the usual “Where is the post office…” “Where is the library…” and being of the klutzy nature, the most important one: “Where is the hospital?”


In my research, I found Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital closest to home. I was happy to find that they offered a full array of acute care services and health programs to promote the physical and spiritual well-being of their patients in Lansdowne and the surrounding community.


I read further on their offerings which include:

  • heart and vascular care
  • cancer care
  • bariatrics
  • orthopedics and ambulatory services
  • advanced diagnostic and interventional radiology
  • diabetes education
  • an endoscopy center
  • a sleep center
  • orthopedics
  • wound care
  • behavioral health services
  • acute inpatient rehabilitation, and
  • physical and occupational therapy.

All of this made me feel like, while I never wanted to know what some of those services were, I’m glad they have such a comprehensive facility. I found they are affiliated with Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Network and the Jefferson Neurosciences Network bringing world-class cardiovascular and neurosurgical services to this area.

mercy fitzerald paramedicine

Chief Paramedic Larry Smythe helps a patient with their medication during a home visit. To help ease patients into home recovery, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital’s Community Paramedicine Program provides patients with three home visits from a paramedic, to make sure they are on the right path to healing and recovery. The hospital was the first in Southeastern PA to launch Community Paramedicine.

The medical campus at Mercy Fitzgerald is also home to the Mercy Pharmacy (a retail pharmacy) as well as a Primary Care and Multi-Specialty Center in the Medical Office Building. I saw they have comprehensive community outreach programs, including free education, screenings and health events throughout the year. I checked on their website and read their More @ Mercy newsletter, which gave me some great tips about feeling less stressed.

All of this was great but I wanted to know more – what about the really interesting stuff, the little tidbits that maybe aren’t readily known? I contacted their Marketing Department and found these interesting bits of trivia that I wanted to share. Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital has been serving the communities of Delaware County for 82 years. They opened their doors on July 1, 1933 on Lansdowne Avenue in Darby. The ground on which the main building was built was a gift from the adjacent St. Francis Home. I also discovered:

  • The funds used to establish the hospital were provided by a trust of the late banker and businessman Thomas M. Fitzgerald. His wife May Fitzgerald worked with the Philadelphia Archdiocese to plan Delaware County’s first Catholic Hospital.
  • On May 21, 1933, 30,000 people took part or witnessed the dedication of the hospital, known at that time as Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital. Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty delivered an address in which he eulogized Mr. Thomas Fitzgerald and presided at the laying of the cornerstone. In 1997, the hospital changed to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital to emphasize Mercy – their mission – first.
  • In 1953, the hospital had a record number of nearly 3,000 births, ranking it among the top ten in the nation. Six years later, the hospital was reported to be the first suburban Philadelphia hospital to perform open-heart surgery. The patient was a 12-year-old girl.
  • The hospital was visited by two Cardinals who would become Popes –
    Cardinal Pacelli visited in 1936, who later became Pope Pius XII; and Cardinal Montini visited in 1960, who later became Pope Paul VI.
  • Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy stopped by and presented a bouquet of roses to Sister Marie Lenahan, RSM, Administrator in October 1960.
  • The hospital became the first in the nation to provide patients with direct bedside touch-tone-dialing service in 1966.
  • In 1969, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital (then Misericordia Hospital) joined together to become Mercy Catholic Medical Center, Philadelphia’s first multi-hospital system.
  • Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital established its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program on May 31, 1984. Five paramedics ran one aid car and responded to an estimated 2,000 calls in the first year. Today, Mercy EMS is comprised of 90 paramedics and emergency medical technicians who run nine units, respond to over 11,000 calls annually, and cover approximately 80,000 residents.
  • In the 2000s, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital was the first in Delaware County to install a 64-slice CT scanner and implement picture ID technology for patients.

All this research set the stage for some youthful excitement when I arrived at the LEDC and learned that Mercy Fitzgerald is our exclusive healthcare partner. They collaborate with us on our new goal of improving the health of the residents in Lansdowne and Yeadon by integrating a health and wellness program for the community. I met with different members of Mercy Fitzgerald finding them compassionate, personal, and understanding that their patients are at the center of everything they do. To the staff, they are not just patients – they are individuals who deserve personalized care. They address diverse factors of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and socioeconomic needs of their patients and realize these all impact the overall health of the community.

Mercy Oncologist Dr. Choi

Mercy Oncologist Dr. Eugene Choi meets with a patient in the Infusion Center at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. The Infusion Center is part of the Mercy Cancer Center, which offers high-quality cancer care for the community, including screenings, education, diagnostics, nurse navigation, treatment, rehabilitation, support and survivorship services.

It is my hope that Mercy Fitzgerald and the LEDC can create a healthy atmosphere and a better quality of life through our exciting partnership. We want to have continued growth and revitalization for this community that will in time be just another historical notch in Lansdowne and Mercy Fitzgerald’s belt.

Contributing facts provided by Bernice Manallo Ho, Director of Marketing Communications, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital

One Comment

  • I love the interesting facts here!! The first open-heart patient there was a 12 year old girl?! It’s crazy to think of all the medical history in Lansdowne.

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