From about 1930 until 1956, Monahans was served by several privately-owned hospitals.
In the late 40's it became apparent that a county hospital was needed to keep up
with the expanding health-care needs of the citizens of Ward County. In 1949 a Chamber
of Commerce hospital committee looked at the costs of building a new hospital to
present figures to taxpayers. The first hospital bond issue was defeated in 1950
but after one private hospital discontinued practice due to inadequate facilities,
leaving only one that could handle just 23 patients, the need for a county hospital
was brought up again in 1953.
At the time there were 23 patients in-house, part of an estimated 300 persons in
the hospital. Thanks to the quick action of the nursing staff and others who quickly
moved patients into the corridors only moments before the hospital was struck, no
one was seriously injured in the disaster. Ward Memorial maintained its emergency
room care during and following the tornado, caring for tornado victims of the community.
On April 30 the hospital was inspected and deemed safe for patient care, and on May
3 patients were admitted again. Shortly after the disaster, it was decided to build
a new facility rather than make repairs on the damaged building. A $4 million bond
issue was passed and in 1978, construction began on the east side of the original
building. In 1980 the new building that still stands today as Ward Memorial Hospital
was completed. Later that year, new lab equipment was purchased upgrading lab capabilities.
With the support of local doctors, civic groups and women's clubs, a bond election
was called in March of 1954. In June voters elected six-to-one in favor of a county
hospital. Construction was underway and on October 15, 1956 Ward Memorial Hospital
opened its doors as a 35-bed facility with C.A. Woody serving as administrator.
the worst natural disasters in the history of Ward County struck and had devastating
effects on Ward Memorial Hospital. On April 19, 1977 three powerful tornados touched
down, in, and around Monahans, then lifted and came together as one just above Ward
Memorial Hospital. The white tornado completely demolished the new west wing and
much of the Coronary Care Unit, causing damage estimated at 3 million dollars and
During the booming oil days, the population of Ward County and surrounding areas
grew rapidly and increased the community's healthcare needs which led to the addition
of more services at Ward Memorial including Home Health in June of 1985. In the late
80's Labor and Delivery was upgraded to more modern facilities including the addition
of a birthing room and changing two patient rooms into labor and postpartum rooms
as well as improving the nursery. Many of today's Ward County residents were born
or had babies in these new facilities. As the oil dried up and the population dropped
again in the 90's the birthing facilities along with the ICU were no longer needed
and these services were discontinued.
The 1990's began with the purchase of the old Gibson's building directly behind the
hospital, where Ward Memorial moved their Physical Therapy and Home Health departments.
In 1991 Ward Memorial implemented the state-of-the-art surgical technique, Laparoscopy
- still popular today. Also in the early 90s, Ward Memorial took over the Ambulance
service from the county, making it a hospital based EMS. In 1994 a beautiful chapel
was added within the hospital. Ward Memorial continued to grow in the mid 90's when
it opened the Sandhills Family Clinic directly across the street, adding additional
services to the community. In 1997, the Hospital Computer and Billing system was
replaced with the a sophisticated system from HMS that integrates clinical and financial
systems into one. And in 1998 Ward Memorial was designated as a Level IV Trauma Center.
For most rural hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks brought harder times to
the healthcare industry and Ward Memorial was no exception. During the late 90's
the hospital faced serious financial struggles but since 2000, things have improved
and Ward Memorial has been able to expand services and make improvements to the hospital
that would enable it to compete with the larger hospitals in the area while cutting
back in areas that were not contributing to the hospital's success or the communities
needs. Slowly, Ward Memorial was pulled from the red and is now operating within
its budget with a bright outlook for the future.
The new century has brought steady improvements and remodeling projects to the entire
facility to meet the changing healthcare needs of Ward County residents. In 2002
a state-of-the-art CT Scanner with the most advanced technology available was added
and the Ultrasound unit was upgraded as well.
ducing the hospital from 49-beds to a "patched-up" 30-bed facility.
In late 1975, with the new additions less than a decade old, the Ward Memorial Ladies
Auxiliary began a major landscaping project that was well underway by 1977, when