CAMC was formed Jan. 1, 1972, with the merger of the two dominant hospitals in the city: Charleston General Hospital and Charleston Memorial Hospital. The institutions merged to create a community-based academic medical center capable of training future physicians.
Kanawha Valley Hospital joined CAMC in 1986 and was renamed Women and Children’s Hospital two years later upon completion of a major expansion project.
Then in 2006, CAMC purchased Putnam General Hospital and renamed it Teays Valley Hospital, becoming the medical center’s first hospital located outside of Charleston.
In addition to the milestones below, there will be many more moments that we will celebrate throughout 2022. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as we look back over 50 years of firsts, advancements, achievements and highlights all year!
1924: General Hospital Opens
In 1924, patients and equipment were moved from the Thomas Hospital and Sanitarium building to the brand-new Charleston General Hospital facility - a 120-bed hospital at Elmwood Avenue and Brooks Street.
1951: First Patient Admitted to Memorial Hospital
Ground was broken for the first phase of Charleston Memorial Hospital in August 1949. The first patient was admitted to Memorial the day after Thanksgiving in November 1951.
1955: CAMC School of Nurse Anesthesia Begins
Started in 1955, the CAMC School of Nurse Anesthesia is one of the oldest nurse anesthetist programs in the country. The school was the first entry-level nurse anesthesia doctorate program in the nation. The 26-month program is designed to prepare registered nurses for a career in the field of nurse anesthesia using an integrated classroom and clinical format.
1956: CAMC Cancer Services Nationally Accredited
For more than 65 years, cancer services at CAMC have been accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Having first achieved this accreditation in 1956, CAMC has continued to reach - and surpass - the high bar set by the ACS's national standards. Only one-third of cancer programs nationwide receive this accreditation, which certifies that a program has met or surpassed 34 quality care standards.
1960: First Open Heart Surgery
In 1960, Dr. James H. Walker performed the first open heart surgery using a heart lung machine.
1967: Marmet Hospital Merged with Charleston General Hospital
In October 1967, the Marmet Hospital for Crippled Children merged with Charleston General Hospital, which added a chronic-care dimension to what had been primarily an acute-care hospital.
January 1, 1972: Merger of General & Memorial Hospitals Forms CAMC
CAMC was established on January 1, 1972 with the merger of two dominant, rival hospitals - Charleston General Hospital and Charleston Memorial Hospital.
1976: Creation of CAMC Foundation
Don Arnwine and Deal Tompkins led the creation of Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation, incorporated as a tax-exempt foundation in September 1976. Over the next 11 years - under the leadership of Dr. Bert Bradford, Jr. - the foundation raised $7 million, representing gifts from some 1,700 contributors. The CAMC Foundation operates to this day as the philanthropic arm of CAMC, awarding millions of dollars in grants annually to benefit patients cared for at CAMC.
1986: Kanawha Valley Division Merger Completed
Kanawha Valley Hospital became the Kanawha Valley Division of CAMC, by way of a merger completed in September 1986.
1986: HealthNet Aeromedical Takes Off
In 1986, HealthNet Aeromedical Services was formed, initially by CAMC and West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown, providing swift transportation to hospitals in emergencies where time saved can mean lives saved.
1987: Completion of Med Rehab Center at General
A major addition was completed in 1987 at General Hospital. The addition included a medical rehabilitation center, the first of its kind in the state.
1987: First Kidney Transplant
A surgical team headed by Cleveland Clinic-trained Dr. Ernest Hodge performed CAMC's first kidney transplant in General Hospital's special care center on September 29, 1987. A healthy kidney was removed from Mrs. Theda Green, 46, and transplanted into her daughter, Vickie Green, 25, of Pineville, West Virginia.
1988: Kanawha Valley Hospital Renamed to Women and Children's Hospital
CAMC began converting the four-year-old Kanawha Valley Hospital facility into the Women and Children's Hospital, which officially opened its doors in June 1988.
1989: First Triplets Born in WV
Ashley, Kristin and Austin Showen were the first triplets ever to be born at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital on March 3, 1989. They each weighed three pounds, four ounces.
1989: Family Resource Center Created
The CAMC Family Resource Center was created as an extension of Women and Children's Hospital in October of 1989 to focus on counseling and informational services, ranging from parenting classes to support groups for families in the community.
1993: Center for Telehealth Launched
In 1993, CAMC opened the CAMC Center for Telehealth, a then-emerging technology enabling patients to have virtual visits with their providers. Today, CAMC's telemedicine services have expanded significantly to include the 24/7 Care app, telemedicine clinics throughout West Virginia, and telemedicine consultations at surrounding hospitals for stroke, trauma and more.
1997: CHERI Formed
In 1997, the CAMC Health Education and Research Institute (CHERI) was created to be the medical center's education and research division. Now known as the Institute for Academic Medicine, this division supports training and continuing education programs, clinical and health services research, and professional and public education through events and seminars.
1997: Women's Comprehensive Breast Center Opens
In June 1997, the doors opened to the Women's Comprehensive Breast Center at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital. Since then, the program has evolved into what is now the CAMC Breast Center. The facilities were relocated to the new Cancer Center in 2015, providing advanced mammography services, breast biopsy and ultrasound, bone density screenings and more.
2001: First Children's Cancer Center Unit Opened
CAMC opened West Virginia's first hospital unit dedicated exclusively to children's hematology and oncology in August of 2001 at Women and Children's Hospital. The unit has since grown into the CAMC Children's Cancer Center and has served thousands of families with expertise, compassion and skill.
2001: Health Fest Launched in Capitol Rotunda
In April 2001, CAMC held the first HealthFest. For the next 17 years, thousands of West Virginians attended the annual event, which provided free or low-cost health screenings. With the Affordable Care Act and CAMC offering low-cost lab screenings every day, the last HealthFest was held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in 2018.
2001: Ryan White Program Receives Initial Funding
In the fall of 2001, CAMC received the first federal Ryan White Title III grant awarded in the state of West Virginia. This enabled the establishment of the Ryan White Program. The grant authorized the support of comprehensive early intervention and primary care services for patients diagnosed with HIV. The program continues to serve the community, providing testing, counseling, nutritional and pharmaceutical services, and more.
2003: State's First Bariatric Center Opens
In September 2003, CAMC opened the state's first and only bariatric center at Women and Children's Hospital. The renamed Weight Loss Center later moved to its current location in Northgate Business Park and has since helped thousands of patients on their weight loss journeys. The center is nationally accredited for adult and adolescent bariatric surgery.
2006: Purchase of Putnam General Hospital
In November 2006, CAMC purchased Putnam General Hospital. Since then, the renamed CAMC Teays Valley Hospital has served the community with nationally-recognized quality care.
2007: Robotic-Assisted Surgery Program Launched
In 2007, CAMC launched the first multispecialty robotic surgery program in the state. In 2012, CAMC added a robot with a teaching console allowing the surgeon control of the procedure while directing a resident.
2007: Dr. Schmidt Develops Innovative Hinge Craniotomy Procedure
In 2007, CAMC neurosurgeon John Schmidt, MD, developed a new surgical technique to help combat brain swelling as a result of a traumatic injury. Called a hinge craniotomy, this procedure allows the brain to swell while keeping it protected by using hinges to secure a titanium bone flap to the skull. This surgical technique was the first of its kind.
2007: First "Imagine U" Event Held
The first "Imagine U: Virtual Healthcare Experience" event took place in 2007 with the presentation of an open heart bypass surgery. "Imagine U" is a statewide collaborative effort between CAMC and the West Virginia Department of Education that introduces students to health care careers using technology that links classrooms to the operating room.
2008: Heart & Vascular Center Opens
The grand opening of the CAMC Heart & Vascular Center and Clinical Teaching Center was held on December 17, 2008. Construction of the 210,000 square foot facility began in 2006 on the campus of CAMC Memorial Hospital.
2010: First Pediatric Robotic Procedure Performed
In April 2010, surgeons at CAMC performed West Virginia's first robotic procedure on a pediatric patient. Using the da Vinci Surgical System, urologist James Tierney, DO, and a skilled surgical team helped repair a congenital condition on a nine-year-old patient.
2015: CAMC Cancer Center Opens
The CAMC Cancer Center opened its doors to patients in May 2015. Built on property that used to house Watt Powell Park, the center houses outpatient oncology services, the CAMC Breast Center and CAMC Radiation Oncology Services.
2015: Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
CAMC Health System was one of four recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2015 - the first and only organization in WV to ever receive this honor. America's highest honor for innovation and performance excellence, the Baldrige Award is presented annually to U.S. organizations by the office of the President of the United States.
2016: Significant Expansion of CAMC Memorial Hospital
In July 2016, CAMC Memorial completed construction on a 48-bed addition that expanded its ICU / telemetry units. The new units included 32 cardiopulmonary ICU beds and 16 telemetry beds. This expansion was part of a major investment by the hospital to improve infrastructure, patient flow and services provided to patients.
2017: Outpatient Surgery Center Commences Operations
The CAMC Outpatient Surgery Center, located across from General Hospital, opened in 2017. The state-of-the-art building houses four operating suites for outpatient procedures in specialties including orthopedics, urology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology and facial surgery.
2018: First Kidney Exchange Transplant in WV
In January 2018, the CAMC Kidney Transplant Center performed West Virginia's first-ever, living donor, paired kidney exchange. Pam King donated her kidney to Dave Kent, and Dustin Kent (Dave's son) donated his kidney to Pam's husband, Brian.