Thousands of physicians have played key roles in the 125-year history of Lancaster General Health.
Lancaster General Hospital, which originally opened in a Queen Street row home, marks its 125th anniversary this year.
In honor of Lancaster General Hospital’s 125th anniversary, three long-time physician leaders – Drs. Nikitas Zervanos, Laurence Carroll and Randall Oyer – reflect on the health system’s history and share some of their favorite memories.
Nikitas Zervanos, MD, came to LGH in 1969 to establish the department of Family and Community Medicine and one of the country’s first residency programs in the new specialty of family medicine.
“Our residency program did much to alleviate the doctor shortage in Lancaster County … with the new family doctor ‘specialist,’ ” he said. “A third of our program’s graduates have settled in the county.”
The new department’s first clinic, located in an aging Lime Street building, featured low ceilings, exposed pipes and balmy interior temperatures year-round, he recalled. The clinic soon moved to the rapidly expanding Duke Street hospital.
Dr. Zervanos, who retired as director in 2002 but still sees patients and teaches part time, notes that despite its exponential growth, the residency program has maintained a strong focus on community health, including underserved rural and urban populations.
“Our program has become among the largest in the country, with 13 residents in each of its three years,” he said. “For the past several years, we have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 residency program on the East Coast and among the top five programs in the country.”
Nephrologist Laurence E. Carroll, MD, came to LGH in 1977, as one of a handful of employed physicians. “Everyone else on the medical staff was in private practice,” he recalled. “Mr. Wedel (LGH President & CEO) had to ask permission to come to Med Staff meetings.”
Dr. Carroll soon started his own private practice, now Hypertension and Kidney Specialists. The LGH medical staff evolved over the years to include osteopathic physicians and significantly more physicians employed by LG Health.
Other developments that changed the pace of the community hospital included the opening of the LGH Trauma center, the first open-heart surgery and other cardiology breakthroughs, and the establishment of Geriatrics and additional new divisions.
“Computerization initially came for billing, lab and X-ray results, and eventually the electronic medical record,” said Dr. Carroll, who retired in 2011. “While the EMR initially frustrated many of us older physicians, it offered many benefits in sharing information and standardizing care.”
Randall A. Oyer, M.D., Medical Director of Oncology, joined LG Health in 2006. Since then, he has seen phenomenal growth of LG Health’s oncology program, including the 2013 opening of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute and the 2015 integration with Penn Medicine.
“Every forward-thinking organization wants to bring in new services, capabilities and medical advances to better serve its patients,” he said. “LG Health has brought into our community a nationally recognized health system with one of the country’s best medical schools. We are very fortunate.”
Like his colleagues, Dr. Oyer said his favorite LG Health memories center not on new facilities or technology but on people.
“That includes patients who have recovered, community benefactors who have given so generously of their time and talent to help shape our hospital and Cancer Institute, and staff who dedicate themselves to providing exceptional patient care every day,” he said.