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Tulane Medical Center, an acclaimed teaching, research and medical facility, serving the greater New Orleans area, began in 1834 as a small, medical college with seven faculty members. The school was founded by three young physicians, Drs. Warren Stone, John H. Harrison and Thomas Hunt, who had moved to New Orleans and recognized the need to study and treat “the peculiar diseases which prevail in this part of the Union,” including yellow fever and malaria. At the time, there were only 14 medical schools in the United States.
When the Louisiana Legislature established the University of Louisiana in 1847, the Medical College of Louisiana was incorporated into the school. The reputation of the medical college grew quickly, and its enrollment expanded over the years leading up to the Civil War.
The college closed during the Civil War, but reopened and continued through the Reconstruction years. In 1884, the medical school was named for merchant-philanthropist Paul Tulane, who made a $1.25 million gift to establish Tulane University of Louisiana. In return, control of the University of Louisiana was turned over to the administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund.
Tulane Medical College had a continuous relationship with Charity Hospital from the mid-1800s through the 1970s. The hospital had been founded in 1736 by a successful French ship builder to treat patients who could not afford to pay for medical services. After 1844, students and faculty from Tulane Medical College provided care free-of-charge.
In 1843, the Louisiana Legislature granted land for a medical school building, including a lecture room, chemical laboratory, library, reading room, amphitheater and dissecting room in exchange for 10 years of gratis health care services. The building cost $15,000, but the tradition of providing medical services continued for decades.
When Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, many poor patients chose other hospitals, and Charity’s patient load decreased. Tulane University opened its own private, 235-bed hospital in 1976 to offer high quality and specialized inpatient and outpatient hospital services, as well as postgraduate medical education programs and applied research projects.
In 1995, Tulane Medical Center was acquired by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). Ninety percent of the medical school’s physician faculty work in the hospital as well as teach.
HCA acquired Lakeside Hospital for Women in 1964, building a 94-bed facility in Metairie, outside New Orleans. In 2005, Lakeside merged with Tulane Medical Center, changing its name to Tulane-Lakeside Hospital. It now has 119 beds dedicated to serving healthcare needs in the greater New Orleans area.
Tulane Medical Center was the first hospital to reopen after Hurricane Katrina devastated healthcare in the region. TMC pioneered a neighborhood clinic and sickle cell day hospital post-Katrina to allow health care to be more easily accessed and cost-effective.
Current facilities for Tulane Medical Center include: Tulane-Lakeside Hospital, Tulane Hospital for Children, Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane Abdominal Transplant Institute, Tulane Center for Women's Health, Tulane Multispecialty Center Metairie, Tulane Multispecialty Center Uptown, Tulane Multispecialty Center Downtown and the Tulane Institute for Sports Medicine.