Little Company of Mary by the Decades: The 1980s

It was the decade of side ponytails, hot colors for clothing and makeup, leggings and shoulder pads. MTV was launched, and computers began to gain popularity. Reagan was president for most of the decade. And Little Company of Mary started the decade with a 50th anniversary celebration. Three physicians were present at the mass, dinner and dance who had all served at Little Company of Mary since it opened—Drs. Roy P. Langdon, Ralph E. Jones and Leo P. Sweeney. 50-year-old Douglas Kier also joined in the celebration. He may not be famous, but he is very special to Little Company of Mary Hospital, as he was the first baby born at the Hospital on January 24, 1930—the first of 155,000 during the hospital’s first half of a century.

By the numbers:

  • More than 250 physicians were on the medical staff
  • More than 1,900 people were employed at the Hospital—the most of any employer in Evergreen Park
  • Annually, the Hospital admitted an average of over 21,000 patients
  • Each year the hospital treated an average of 42,500 patients in the emergency department

Little Company of Mary Hospital may have been open for 50 years, but the staff and board continued to innovate new ideas and projects to keep up with the times. A few notable changes:

  • In 1980, the Hospital opened its first birthing room so expectant parents could bring their little ones into the world in a comfortable, homelike atmosphere.
  • Knowing four-year baccalaureate programs were replacing two-year diploma programs like Little Company’s, the Hospital closed the School of Nursing in 1984.
  • The same year, the new South Pavilion opened, with a new ER, patient rooms, and a new Radiation Oncology Department that included the most modern technology available to treat cancer.
  • The Hospital began offering Home Based Services, providing care for patients in their homes to bridge the gap between home and hospital as long as help was needed.
  • The Adult Day Care Center, providing stimulation and friendship for memory-impaired adults and their caregivers.
  • The Sleep Disorders Unit opened to help patients suffering from sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleep disorders in the comfort of a bedroom environment.
  • Recognizing that more than ever before, both parents were employed outside the home, Dr. Lourdes D. Floro opened the Care Depot, an eight bed unit to offer care for sick children so parents could have piece of mind while still attending work.

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Information and photo from A Healing Presence: The story of Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Journey of Unconditional Love, by Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, Maurice Possley, Editor

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