Parkridge East Hospital Looks Back On 4 Decades Of Caring For Community

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This year marks Parkridge East Hospital’s 40th anniversary of caring for the community, a milestone that facility staff and founders look forward to celebrating with patients, visitors, staff, and local leaders in the months to come, said officials.

“This hospital has served hundreds of thousands of people and delivered tens of thousands of babies over the past four decades,” notes Parkridge East Hospital CEO Jarrett Millsaps. “We look forward to what the future holds for our facility.” 

Parkridge East Hospital opened on June 6, 1974 as East Ridge Hospital, after nearly six years of planning by a group of 10 businessmen led by East Ridge City Manager Gene Drakeford and general surgeon William Rowe, MD. The hospital immediately met a need for services in the East Ridge community, but as word spread, it began to attract suburban and rural patients from across the area who did not want to drive all the way into downtown Chattanooga to receive care.

Best known for maternity services, the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opened its doors not long after the grand opening. A need for community-based NICU care encouraged the growth of the NICU from 10-18 bassinets shortly after the hospital’s 10th anniversary in 1984. Updates continued, with five additional Labor and Delivery rooms added to The Birth Place at Parkridge East Hospital in 1998 and another four NICU bassinets added in recent years to bring the total current NICU capacity to 22 patients.

Over the years, the facility has continued to add services and advanced technology. The Emergency Department was expanded in 1998 and modified again in 2013 – today, it is the busiest Emergency Room in Parkridge Health System, with over 40,000 annual visits. The hospital has continued to build imaging capabilities with the creation of the hospital’s Breast Center for mammography in 1998, the installation of a CT scanner in 2003 and a new MRI in 2012. 

Parkridge East Hospital has also been home to advances in minimally invasive gynecologic and general surgery. In 2012, the facility became home to Parkridge Health System’s robotic surgery program. Today, The Center for Robotic Surgery at Parkridge East Hospital is one of the busiest robotic surgery programs in the southeast, with over 2,000 surgeries performed to date.

Last year, the hospital put final touches on an extensive interior renovation that included updates to patient rooms as well as waiting rooms and other common areas. “We want to make our hospital as welcoming and comfortable as possible,” notes Mr. Millsaps. “We are committed to ongoing improvements that enhance the excellent care that we provide to our patients.”

“Parkridge East Hospital has offered outstanding service to the community, and it just keeps getting better,” notes Dr. Rowe. “It has exceeded the greatest expectations of its founders, and we are very proud of it.”  

For more information about Parkridge East Hospital, visit

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