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Northside Division: 1956-1966

Northside Division of the Rochester General Hospital on Portland Avenue
Northside Division of the Rochester General Hospital on Portland Avenue

It was proposed that Park Avenue Hospital combine its services with the General to form the North Park Hospital in the late nineteen forties. This new medical facility was to be built on the Buell property. By 1952 the partnership plan fell through, and Rochester General continued alone on the project. The new hospital was to be called the Northside Division of the Rochester General Hospital, and the older hospital became the Westside Division of the Rochester General Hospital. With financial support from the Rochester Hospital Fund and an outpouring of community contributions, Rochester General opened the Northside Division on Portland Avenue in 1956. Although Westside was no longer in the spotlight as a major hospital, it continued to care for some patients and offer many crucial services. The Hospital operated both locations simultaneously for the next 10 years before consolidating at the Northside location in 1966.

Preemie Nursery
Preemie Nursery

In the meantime, Rochester General continued to develop new services. In 1951 the first Premature Infant Nursery in Western New York was opened. Under the leadership of Dr. Edward Townsend it became the regional center for "preemie" care.

The Cardio-Pulmonary Laboratory opened in 1959; it served as the forerunner of the current cardiac program. In 1963, doctors at Rochester General performed the area's first pacemaker implantation, and in 1964 they performed open-heart surgery.

Open-heart Surgery in the ‘70’s
Open-heart Surgery in the 70's

By 1972, more than 110 open-heart surgeries were being performed each year. Rochester General's cardiac surgery program is the fourth largest in New York State and performs more than 1,350 heart surgeries a year.

The area's first Intensive Care Unit was opened in 1962, at Northside. It proved its value immediately as a more effective way of caring for seriously ill patients.

Intensive Care Unit at Northside Division
Intensive Care Unit at Northside Division<

The Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing opened in 1963. The following year the School of Nursing of the Rochester General Hospital, an RN school, graduated its last class.

Rochester General opened the area's first renal dialysis unit under Dr. Gerald Stone in 1963. Fewer than 35 hospitals nationwide had such units.

The decade between 1960-70 brought growth in many areas including General Practice, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy, and Radiology. Dr. William Hart advocated for the establishment of the Rochester Mental Health Center, Rochester's first community mental health center which opened in 1965.