St. Anthony's long tradition of faith-based, Catholic service to the St. Louis area began in 1873, when the Franciscan Sisters of Germany opened St. Boniface Hospital in south St. Louis. It was succeeded by Pius Hospital in north St. Louis and “little St. Anthony’s” in south St. Louis.
In 1900, the sisters opened the 100-bed St. Anthony’s Hospital at Grand Boulevard and Chippewa Street. It was named after St. Anthony of Padua, who patterned his life and healing ministry after the example set by Jesus Christ. The four-story hospital featured electric elevators and a bell system that connected each room to the main office to summon doctors and attendants. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called it “one of the most elaborate hospital buildings in this country.
Within twenty-five years, the patient nuns have accomplished more than the whole municipality,” the Post reported.
During St. Anthony’s first full year, 395 patients were treated by 64 doctors. Patients paid from $5 to $15 per week for room, board and nursing.
As the community grew, so did St. Anthony’s Hospital. The Franciscan Sisters expanded the facility with new wings in 1904 and 1928, and established St. Anthony’s as a leading health care provider both nationally and locally:
St. Anthony’s counted among its dedicated Franciscan Sisters Mary Pulcheria Wuellner, R.N., who used pioneering polio treatments at St. Anthony’s and lectured on polio care at hospitals across the Midwest during the 1950s. A tireless advocate for children, Sister Pulcheria also designed one of the first reasonably priced baby incubators, founded what may have been the first human breast milk bank in the nation, and invented the Four-in-One Bed for child patients, which combined safety and ease of care with sanitary storage.
In 1967, the Franciscan Sisters transferred ownership and control of the hospital to a board of community leaders, making St. Anthony's the first Catholic hospital in the St. Louis area to be administered by a lay board. Following this transition, plans were made to relocate the hospital to south St. Louis County.
In 1975, St. Anthony's Medical Center opened at its present location and remains the only hospital located in south St. Louis County. Over the years, St. Anthony’s has changed and grown to meet community needs.
In 1976, St. Anthony’s sponsored the first-ever Mobile Intensive/Coronary Care Unit (MICCU) in the south St. Louis county area, the forerunner of the modern paramedic system. The first “life support” ambulance was dedicated through a cooperative venture between St. Anthony’s and the Concord Village Lions Club (at the time, many ambulances were converted hearses). Leroy Ortmeyer, M.D., then the director of St. Anthony’s Department of Medicine, trained technicians with the Mehlville Fire District to staff the vehicle.
In 1977, Hyland Behavioral Health was established to provide inpatient and outpatient care for children, teens and adults coping with depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses, drug addiction, eating disorders and dual diagnoses.
In 1980, St. Anthony’s Medical Explorer Scout Post 9152 was established for youth interested in health care careers. The troop, hosted by two St. Anthony’s nurses, remains active today and has encouraged many talented young people to pursue medical careers.
In the early 1980s, St. Anthony’s recruited many primary care and specialty care physicians to south St. Louis County to meet the needs of growing communities close to home. It also expanded its facilities to accommodate 215 more beds, and doubled the size of the Emergency Department.
In 1994, St. Anthony’s Medical Plaza opened across the street from the medical center. The plaza is home to St. Anthony’s Breast Center, Wound Treatment Center & Hyperbaric Medicine, Senior Services and several primary care and specialty care physician offices.
In 1999, St. Anthony’s received a Top 100 Hospital designation from the Healthcare Industry Association (HCIA) for orthopedic surgery – total knee replacement.That same year, St. Anthony's at de Greeff Hospice House opened on a quiet, tree-lined portion of St. Anthony’s campus. This special house, the only one of its kind in St. Louis, provides premier end-of-life care to patients, including those who have no one else to care for them during the last part of their lives.
In 2000, cancer services were centralized and expanded with the opening of St. Anthony's Cancer Care Center.
In 2004, St. Anthony’s received the Cardiac Center of Excellence designation from United Healthcare, the largest health plan in St. Louis. Also in 2004, St. Anthony’s was designated one of the “Best Places to Work” by the St. Louis Business Journal.
In spring 2005, St. Anthony’s was named a Solucient Top 100 performance improvement leader among U.S. hospitals. This designation was based on a thorough evaluation of 2,592 hospitals’ outcomes in quality, financial, operations and growth performance indicators.
In 2008, St. Anthony’s completed a $90-million hospital redesign and construction project that included a new, state-of-the-art John K. Pruellage Heart & Vascular Centerin a four-story hospital building adjacent to the current facility, pediatric emergency care, and renovations providing all-private acute care patient rooms throughout the medical center.
The Pruellage Center centralizes outpatient access to leading cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons in the St. Louis area, providing a comprehensive range of cardiac and peripheral vascular diagnostic tests and treatment procedures in a four-story surgery and patient-care tower that includes 64 private patient rooms, a 16-bed Surgical Intensive Care Unit, 10 state-of-the-art surgery suites and 34 same-day surgery rooms. In 2009, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, the leading hospital in the St. Louis area for hip and knee replacements, opened its new St. Anthony's Orthopedic Services. A “horizontal hospital within a hospital,” the Ortho-Spine Center includes 62 all-private patient rooms, specifically designed to care for post-operative orthopedic patients.
In 2011, St. Anthony’s Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine installed two state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen chambers. This therapy delivers pressurized oxygen that decreases the swelling and inflammation of wounds, promotes the development of new blood vessels and improves the rate of healing.
In 2011, St. Anthony’s Heart & Vascular Institute was formed through a unique partnership between the medical center and St. Anthony's Heart Specialty Associates, a practice that includes the area’s top cardiologists.
A recognized leader in cardiac care, St. Anthony’s is home to:
The leaders, physicians and employees who serve St. Anthony’s patients proudly continue the tradition of caring that began with the Franciscan Sisters in 1873.