By Robert A Poarch
The story goes that Mission Hospital’s first patient, a woman in labor, was carried on a stretcher from her house by two men, and walking beside her was a woman reading bible verses, a woman holding a parasol and another woman fanning flies away. This was just ten days after Mission Hospital opened its doors on October 6, 1885, in a $10-a-month rental house on what’s known today as Biltmore Avenue.
In 1892, the Asheville Mission Hospital opened in a new building at the corner of Charlotte and
Woodfin Street. It was the first newly-built hospital in North Carolina.
It’s hard to imagine such a scene today. And, it would no doubt be just as amazing to the founding women of the “Little Flower Mission” to see that their hospital has grown to seven hospitals with more than 1,100 beds. And there are surgeons and robots working together, helicopters flying patients in from the far reaches of the 18 county-region that Mission Health now serves, a lab that provides a variety of genetic and genomic testing to find cures, and virtual clinics delivering healthcare to residents in their homes.
In 1986, Mission Hospital acquired its first air ambulance helicopter, Mountain Area
Medical Airlift (known today as MAMA), and displayed it at the downtown Bele Chere festival.
“Generation after generation, stone by stone, the people of Mission Health have built hospitals to care for the people of western North Carolina, creating a legacy, not just of steel and glass – but of commitment, of compassion, of true caring.”
While Mission Health has expanded both geographically and technologically over the years, the spirit of our founding mothers to be a compassionate community hospital continues to guide us.
Here is an exclusive video, celebrating our past, present and future, in honor of this incredible milestone. Happy birthday, Mission Hospital! Here’s to 134 years of caring, and 134 more.