Boston is known throughout the world for its top-notch medical facilities. With Harvard, Tufts, and other major medical schools in the area, the city has tremendous intellectual capital that attracts the best doctors to this part of the world. But just west of Boston, Newton-Wellesley Hospital serves the metrowest area with the same high-quality medical care. The history of this fine institution is a story worth telling.
The Newton Cottage Hospital was incorporated in January of 1881; however the hospital did not open its doors until June 5, 1886. According to Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s website, the fledgling Newton Cottage Hospital had nine beds and three employees who ran the facility—“a matron, who served as an administrator and nurse, a cook who also served as a housekeeper, and a handyman.” From these humble beginnings, the hospital founded a sterling reputation for quality healthcare.
The first baby was born at the hospital in 1890. Many other Newton residents from Jack Lemmon to B.J. Novak would be born there in coming years. By 1905, the hospital had established a relationship with Tufts School of Medicine, and they had grown to a 70-bed hospital.
When the flu pandemic of 1918 struck, the hospital expanded by erecting temporary buildings and tents to treat the large influx of patients. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the city of Boston was the first to be struck by the pandemic and also suffered the most losses.” In addition, the hospital was inundated with veterans of WWI during this period.
Over the course of the twentieth century the hospital grew in size, service, and prestige. Between 1930 and 1941, ten clinics were formed within the hospital, and in 1945 it changed its name to Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Patients were provided with television service in 1957. According to the hospital’s website, twenty-nine of the televisions were “coin-operated with under-pillow speakers.”
Today, Newton-Wellesley Hospital is one of the finest of its kind in the country. With 289 beds, it is currently part of the Partners HealthCare network, which is affiliated with Mass General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “it has been named a top 100 hospital by Thomson Reuters for five consecutive years and received HealthGrades’ Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinic Excellence and Outstanding Patient Experience Award in 2009.” With a great reputation for medical practice and patient care, Newtonians can rest assured that if ever they need it, there is a world-class hospital right in their hometown.