Southeast Missouri Hospital is a private, not-for-profit hospital located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Southeast Missouri Hospital first opened in 1928 and has grown into a regional medical complex serving over 600,000 people in 22 counties in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. In 2007, the hospital had 269 licensed beds, 11,487 admissions and employed over 2,000 people.
In 1924, citizens in Cape Girardeau, Missouri formed a committee to build a non-denominational, non-profit community hospital in the city. In 1926, a group of 20 businessmen and physicians signed individual promissory notes to purchase a 52.5-acre (21.2 ha) tract of land for $8,250 from Emil Thilenius and Mrs. Anna Keller. Later, a 5-acre (2.0 ha) tract known as the "Greene farm" was purchased from Hervey Little and became the site of the present hospital. After the purchase, the two story farmhouse that stood on the current site of the hospital was moved down the hill to serve as the nursing quarters.
After the purchase of the farm, the committee sectioned off some of the land into lots for a new subdivision called Sunset Terrace. The money from sale of the lots was applied to the unpaid balance of land and the rest was placed in a fund to be used for the hospital. The lots went on sale in October 1924, and the venture proved to be very successful with 213 lots being sold within one week.
The name for Cape Girardeau's new hospital was chosen on the recommendation of the Southeast Missouri Medical Association. Since the hospital would serve the entire district, the Association said it would be appropriate to have it known as a district institution. This prediction by the Medical Association proved to be correct as 75% of the patients admitted during the first year of the hospital came from outside of the city of Cape Girardeau.
In June 1926, the Southeast Missouri Hospital Association was organized and incorporated on August 6, 1926 with 23 members signing the incorporation documents. There were 11 members of the first Board of Trustees which included the officers. The Association realized that more money would have to be raised to provide a firm financial foundation for the hospital. Led by the Hospital Campaign Committee, they turned to the public for help. Within eight weeks the hospital received about $90,000 from 386 contributors. Construction on the original 90-bed hospital began on April 12, 1927.
The hospital was dedicated on January 8, 1928 in front of 5,000 people who crowded shoulder to shoulder on "hospital hill". Thieresia M. Norberg was hired as the hospital's first administrator a few months before the dedication with the salary of $50 per week plus "maintenance". The first patient, Guy Lowes from Cape Girardeau County, was admitted to the hospital on January 9, 1928 for a tonsillectomy. The first baby was born in the new hospital on January 17, 1928 to Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Hahs of Cape Girardeau. The infant girl weighed only 3 pounds, 9 ounces and was also the first occupant of the hospital's prized incubator.
In 1948, after weathering the Great Depression and World War II, Hospital Administrator Herbert S. Wright announced that the hospital was debt free for the first time. The Board of Directors then decided to plan a 40-bed addition to the over-crowded hospital. The community once again extended a helping hand and contributed $48,000 toward the $70,000 cost of the addition. The building was completed in 1949.
In 1954, thanks in part to the baby boom, there was once again a need to expand the hospital. This time the expansion was a major one. The new addition, completed in 1957, doubled the bed capacity of the Hospital to about 153 beds and included five operating rooms. As the new addition (to be known as the South Addition) was being completed, it was decided to remodel the 1928 structure. The addition to the hospital, plus remodeling of the original building, made an overall investment of $4.1 million.
In 1964, maximum occupancy was the general rule in the hospital. On most days, there was a "to call" list of patients waiting to enter Southeast as soon as there was a vacant bed. Plans for another addition began to take shape, this time a 54-bed addition on two floors constructed with $461,395 in cash and pledges and a matching grant from the Hill-Burton fund.
Throughout the 1970s, construction and expansion continued at the hospital. Another new wing, part of a four-stage, five-year development program, was dedicated in 1973 to the west of the original hospital structure. A multi-level parking garage was completed; and a three-floor addition to the east wing was accomplished.
The 1980s were also marked by expansion. The $3 million Regional Cancer Center was completed in 1981. In 1983, the $6.34 million Robert D. Harrison Annex was opened and Southeast began offering open heart surgery in this new facility. In 1987, Southeast's Obstetrics and Gynecology Center was renovated and renamed after Dennis B. Elrod.
In 1990, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Southeast Missouri Hospital School of Nursing. Originally started as an LPN to RN program, the school received approval from the State Board of Nursing in 1993 to transition to an associate degree of Nursing Program. In 1991, the hospital opened a $1.2 million addition to the Harrison Annex. Also in 1991, a 178-vehicle parking garage was completed on the western edge of the hospital campus.
In 1992, Southeast embarked on another major expansion program. The five-year, multi-stage hospital development program included a climate-controlled pedestrian corridor connecting to the main hospital and a mechanical building, both completed in 1993. The 105,000-square-foot (9,800 m2) Clinical Services Building was completed in the fall of 1994. It included three main areas: Emergency Services on the ground floor, the Surgery Department on the first floor and the LifeBeat Air Medical Service on the fourth level. As soon as the project was completed, the hospital started on the third phase of the development plan - construction of a new lobby wing which was completed in 1996. The last phase of the development plan, the redesign of the northwest exterior facade, was completed in 1997.
In 2000, the hospital began construction on the addition of two new medical/surgical floors atop the Harrison Annex. The project was completed in 2005 and increased the number of private patient rooms from 39 to 107. In 2003, the hospital broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2), four-floor medical office building named Southeast Medical Plaza, which opened in the spring of 2006.
The hospital is also planning to build a $33 million cancer center on the west campus of the hospital, next to Interstate 55. The new Regional Cancer Center is scheduled to open in December 2010.