Remembering Good Samaritan Hospital

Premier Pulse     July 2018

Although Good Samaritan Hospital no longer has an operational location at Salem Avenue and Philadelphia Drive, its 86-year legacy of medical innovation and quality care in northwest Dayton lives on through the ongoing work of its employees – the vast majority of whom have moved into similar roles at other Premier Health facilities.

Good Samaritan was the first Ohio hospital designed to provide affordable health care to the middle class, said Sister Carol Bauer, who served as Good Sam’s vice president for mission effectiveness.

Ninety years ago, a fund drive raised more than $1 million for the project, and the hospital’s first chief of staff donated the original four acres of the campus. The hospital opened May 12, 1932, under the Catholic Sisters of Charity, which ran Good Samaritan Hospital for decades.

Dan Schoulties, MD, arrived at Good Sam in 1978 and spent his entire career there, retiring as chief medical officer in 2016. For Dr. Schoulties, Good Sam’s story is symbolized by the statue of the biblical good Samaritan in front of the hospital.

“That is a story of love, hope and healing,” he said. “That’s what Good Samaritan was all about, and forever will be about in my memory.”

Over the years, the hospital grew as needs changed and technology evolved. When the Madonna Pavilion was built in 1954 during the post-World War II baby boom, it was the second-largest maternity unit in Ohio.

Sister Carol said Good Samaritan Hospital’s many “firsts” included Dayton’s first cardiac catheterization (1958), open-heart surgery (1958), cardiac care unit (1966), balloon angioplasty (1981), mitral valve repair (1987), and carotid artery stenting (2006).

Laboratory staff member Patricia Kraft grew misty-eyed as she reflected on her 50 years with the hospital. She started there as a college student in 1968, and is retiring with the closure. A “Good Sam baby” herself, Kraft’s two children also were born there, and her dad died there. “There’s a lot of history here, a lot of joy and sorrow,” she said.

Good Samaritan Hospital closed July 23, and while the decision was difficult, it also was necessary due duplication of services at nearby Miami Valley Hospital and a trend toward shorter hospital stays and increasing outpatient care.

“It was a hard decision emotionally, because Good Samaritan is so symbolic and has done so many wonderful things,” said Premier Health President and CEO Mary Boosalis.

Premier Health made job offers to approximately 1,400 Good Samaritan employees who expressed interest in continuing employment within the health system; with the remainder choosing to retire or take jobs elsewhere. Premier Health also has committed up to $10 million to redeveloping the site at Salem Avenue and Philadelphia Drive, and is leading efforts to find a suitable use for the 13-acre campus.

Good Samaritan Hospital’s last president, Eloise Broner, expressed understanding that the closure is painful for people both inside and outside the hospital. “Over the next couple of weeks, there are going to be a lot of tears,” she said prior to the closure. “But sometimes you need to feel the loss to move ahead to whatever the future may hold. I like to think the future is bright for the corner of Salem and Philadelphia.” 

Back to the July 2018 issue of Premier Pulse

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