Wishard to the Rescue: Indianapolis Safety-net Hospital for 150 Years

For more than 150 years, Wishard Memorial Hospital has been serving the greater Indianapolis area, improving the health of thousands. Their mission is “to advocate, care, teach and serve, with special emphasis on the vulnerable populations of Marion County, Indiana.” Located in downtown Indianapolis, Wishard Memorial Hospital is one of the city’s oldest hospitals and has been looking out for Indianapolis health from its beginning.


Wishard Memorial Hospital was formed in response to an epidemic of small pox 1855. The hospital was used to treat Union Army soldiers during the Civil War, which was just minutes from the Army base at Military Park. The medical facility has borne many names over the years, including Indianapolis City Hospital and Marion County General Hospital. The hospital’s current name was created in honor of Dr. William N. Wishard, a distinguished doctor and the superintendent at the hospital from 1879 to 1887.
The hospital opened Indiana’s first Level I Trauma Center in 1992, and is currently one of only two Level I Trauma Centers in the state. The other trauma center is located at the nearby Methodist Hospital. There are several programs and services offered at Wishard Memorial Hospital that gain national recognition. Beginning in 1969 at Wishard, the Midtown Community Mental Health Center was the first of its kind in the state. Also housed at Wishard are the Indiana University National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center. The hospital is affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, and is a student resource for hands-on medical training.

Community outreach is a priority at Wishard Memorial Hospital. The hospital has opened seven community health centers throughout the city. Wishard also provides a comprehensive online health library as an Indianapolis education resource. Several programs are developed for community development, including public service announcements about
suicide prevention, firework safety, space heater safety, infant sleep and many others.

The ambulance service at Wishard is one of the oldest in the country, and began operation in 1887. Each year the emergency medical team at the hospital responds to more than 60,000 calls. The high volume of patients could be partially related to the fact that Wishard is a safety net hospital, caring for the city’s poor and indigent. For

patients without health insurance or financial resources, Wishard has been a leading provider of advanced health care. Wishard Memorial Hospital is owned an operated by Marion County Health Partners.

Wishard Memorial Hospital
1001 W 10th St
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Visit Wishard online

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