Founded in 1904, an all-new Sumter Hospital was erected and modeled after sister facility, John’s Hopkins Hospital. Ona Grider was the first graduate of the hospital’s nursing school, which opened in 1914.
The Sumter Hospital was purchased from private owners and re-established as a community hospital.
Bequests from Timothy J. and Ella Bogin Tuomey founded a perpetual endowment that helps fund medical care for the Sumter community.
The original Tuomey Hospital was a 30-bed, three-story structure built in 1904 at a cost of $20,000.
Hospital staff enjoyed modern advances for the era including electric call buttons, adjustable beds, and both gas and electric lighting.
The hospital received a motorized ambulance from George H. Hurst and Sons in 1922. During the first decade, the hospital staff consisted of around 7-10 physicians who were supported by a team of nurses.
Tuomey nurses celebrated the arrival of the hospital’s first motorized ambulance.
The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1915 to educate and train women for the nursing profession.
During its 53-year history, the Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing graduated more than 400 nurses.
Learning nurses received qualified classroom instruction and then applied their knowledge in practical ways within the hospital.
Tuomey’s first addition, the Citizen’s Annex, was completed in 1930 making it among the state’s largest hospitals. By 1934, visits to the Emergency Room swelled to 2,610.
The hospital’s first addition, the Citizen’s Annex, gave the hospital a total of 75 patient beds and brought in new X-ray and operating room equipment.
In 1932, more than half of the hospital’s annual services were for charity patients.
The Tuomey Hospital as seen from Canal Street in 1936.
Successful banker and community leader Neill O’Donnell bequeathed a large portion of his estate to the hospital upon his death in 1937.
In 1944, a two-story wing was built to accommodate World War II patients. With the new facility in service, existing areas were reassigned to care for African-American patients.
An article about the nursing school noted that nurses made “fine wives” and “good mothers” and their training prepared them to be community leaders.
As nursing classes grew, the nursing curriculum evolved into a three-year program.
A 1940s addition secured $100,000 in funding from the Federal Works Agency, a group that administered public works projects from 1939 to 1949.
Evelyn Waggett Dabbs was preparing to return to Columbia College for her second year when she instead decided to join the ranks of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.
Because the 1940s were a time of racial segregation, African-American and white mothers delivered in different delivery rooms until patient care was integrated.
In 1956, emergency visits numbered nearly 5,000 and annual payroll topped $426,000. With an average of 128 patients per day, the 204-person staff made the hospital Sumter’s fifth largest employer.
The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing’s student nursing class in 1950.
Thirteen graduates received nursing caps from The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing in 1950.
The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing as seen from Sumter Street.
The front entrance of Tuomey Hospital in 1954.
The Sumter Kiwanis club donated a television to the hospital for use anywhere, but asked that is be made available for young children without a television at home.
The Tuomey Nightingale basketball team, pictured here in 1957, was hoping for a third victory against the McLeod Infirmary girls from Florence.
Miss Etta Richbourg was president of her 1958 nursing class and also earned top scholastic honors at commencement.
In 1958, the hospital was the fifth largest employer in Sumter and employed 204 people and 30 student nurses.
In the early 1960s, the original hospital was torn down and replaced with a modern 92-bed wing, which included a three-bed labor room for expecting mothers. The hospital’s School of Nursing graduated its final class and closed in 1967.
The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing’s 1962 graduation ceremony included Mrs. Pearl Bessinger, who represented Florence Nightingale.
An aerial view of Tuomey Hospital in 1960.
In April 1960, the hospital shared plans to construct a new wing projected to cost around $640,000.
Seven student nurses were presented with caps at a special ceremony in 1961.
A front view of the hospital in 1965.
Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing 1967 graduates with Tuomey Hospital Administrator Ralph Abercrombie.
The iconic sign at the hospital entrance in 1969.
A nurse at the bedside in 1969.
By the late 1960s, the hospital included a complete, full-service kitchen with an annual budget that surpassed $100,000.
A surgical procedure underway in 1969.
Working at the hospital in the 1960s.
A nurse checks monitoring machines in 1969.
The hospital’s signature stairway entrance, deemed a hardship to the elderly and ill, was replaced in 1971. Around the same time, the hospital’s first around-the-clock intensive care unit opened.
When a multi-bed Intensive Care Unit opened in 1970, the advanced department offered significant cost savings to both patients and the hospital.
This 1975 ambulance service team included two technicians.
In the 1970s, the South Wing grew upward to include a third floor and, later, fourth and fifth floors.
The hospital sign stood throughout the 1970s.
Throughout the years, the hospital has included state-of-the-art diagnostics including this CT scanner in 1975.
The 1970s was a time of tremendous capital improvements including adding three floors atop the South Wing’s existing two floors.
The largest renovation in the history of both Tuomey and Sumter was announced in 1980, increasing the facility to 265,000 square feet. The average daily charge for a private patient room around the mid-1980s was $185 per night.
Wrecking crews demolished dated hospital structures in 1983 to make way for more advanced, modern facilities to serve patients.
Workers tore down old facilities as part of the largest project in the history of both the hospital and Sumter, which lasted from 1980 to 1984.
Front view of the hospital around 1983.
In 1990, Tuomey first earned accreditation with high marks from the Joint Commission. Heart care grew with the opening of an angio suite and cardiac rehab program in 1993. The same year, volunteers logged more than 29,000 hours.
The Cancer Treatment Center, which opened in 1991, included an advanced Varian linear accelerator for providing ultra-precise radiation treatments.
The Tuomey Foundation began in 1995 with the purpose of enhancing patient care at the hospital and supporting community programs and services.
On March 15, 2004, the first case was completed in Tuomey’s new Outpatient Surgery Center. Two years later, the Tuomey lab received ISO 9001:2000 certification, making it the first hospital in the state to achieve the distinction.
The Outpatient Surgery Center, opened in 2004, featured four operating rooms, one procedure room and 20 pre- and post-operative beds.
The first case was completed at the Outpatient Surgery Center on March 15, 2004.
Surgeon Mark Crabbe, MD, shown here performing a surgical procedure, later served as Tuomey’s Chief of Staff.
In 2006, the Tuomey lab received prestigious ISO 9001:2000 certification, making it the first hospital in South Carolina to attain the quality distinction.
When the Bell Women and Infants Pavilion opened in 2007, Sumter residents had access to four Level II nurseries ready to care for sick and high-risk newborns.
Tuomey, the Duke Endowment and other regional hospitals partnered in 2011 to help open the Health Sciences Center at Central Carolina Technical College, which trains more than 100 nurses each year. In 2013, ER visits topped 63,000.
Today, the 301-bed Tuomey Healthcare System includes an active medical staff of more than 150 physicians across more than 25 medical specialties.
The Wound Healing Center’s opening in 2011 brought Sumter specialized therapeutic wound healing options including hyperbaric oxygen therapy.