Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is proud to celebrate its centennial later this year. We trace our beginnings to May 1919, when a group of physicians received a charter from the State of Tennessee for a new hospital to be built on the site of the Civil War Battle of Fort Sanders. Construction of the hospital began and the doors were opened to its first patients on Feb. 23, 1920.
One hundred years of providing care is a remarkable success, and we are eager to recognize our accomplishments with both staff and the community. We will kick-off our 100th anniversary celebration in late 2019 and will continue our festivities into 2020 to align with the anniversary of when the hospital first opened its doors.
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center History
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, located in downtown Knoxville, traces its beginnings to May 29, 1919, when a charter was received for a new hospital to be built on the site of the Civil War Battle of Fort Sanders. As construction proceeded on Fort Sanders Hospital, cannon balls and Indian relics were found on the building site. That same year, an affiliated school of nursing accepted its first students.
In 1954 the hospital’s management was assumed by Knoxville Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church U.S., and the name was changed to Fort Sanders Presbyterian Hospital. The relationship remained until 1979 when an organizational restructuring changed the name of the institution to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center which included the hospital, several clinical specialty programs, the School of Nursing and the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (opened in 1978 and named in honor of actress Patricia Neal, a Knoxville native and survivor of three massive strokes).
During its “growing years,” Fort Sanders hospital became a comprehensive facility that offered the community some important “firsts” – in the 1920s, the first ambulance service in the area, and in the 1940s, the first private hospital to have the new “wonder drug” penicillin available. In the 1970s, Fort Sanders began the first hospice in Tennessee and obtained the first linear accelerator in the area for cancer treatment.
In 1986, employees and the community mounted a fund raising drive for the construction of the Thompson Cancer Survival Center, an outpatient cancer treatment center.
Today, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is a 541-bed regional referral center for neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, obstetrics and rehabilitation medicine. The hospital offers a variety of specialized services such as one-day surgery, bariatric services, electrodiagnostics and a sleep disorders center.