In 2014, many throughout Western New York will have cause to reflect on the grand history of services offered by DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda.

LeGrand S. DeGraff founded DeGraff Memorial Hospital in 1914. His philanthropy and civic service sparked the founding of the hospital in part because of the need for hospital facilities in the Tonawandas, as the nearest hospital care was in Buffalo. When LeGrand DeGraff and his associates agreed to foot the entire bill of $37,578 for a brand new hospital, DeGraff Memorial became a reality.

There were two conditions surrounding the opening of the hospital. First, the indigent of the community were to receive free care, and the two cities, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, were to maintain the hospital property. Second, the hospital was to be named in memory of LeGrand’s father, James H. DeGraff.

The building was officially opened on November 30, 1914 with one of the biggest social events in the Tonawandas at the time, The Benefit Ball. The hospital quickly established itself as a vital institution to the Tonawanda’s. The first patient was a one year old who was treated for complications resulting from eczema. The child was released after one day and the total bill was $1.30. The first baby was born on January 4, 1915 at a total cost of $27.

Over time, the hospital continued to grow with new wings and additions built in 1930, 1944, 1953 and 1956. Before LeGrand died in 1960, he had given close to $200,000 to the hospital. His final effort was a $1.5 million bequest that made possible the new four story $2.8 million building dedicated in 1964. The last major inpatient expansion was completed in 1977 with opening of a fifth floor.

In 1998, DeGraff partnered with Kaleida Health to become part of the largest health care system in Western New York. This partnership allows DeGraff immediate access to the most advanced health care services in Western New York through Buffalo General Medical Center, Gates Vascular Institute and Woman’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

“We are so proud of the rich history of quality care that DeGraff brings to our patients,” relayed Hank Cole, Senior Director of Hospital Operations. “Even though some changes have occurred over the years like elimination of maternity and pediatric inpatient units, DeGraff continues to rank among the best in the delivery of exceptional care by outstanding professionals with state of the art equipment.” From critical to long term care, from orthopedics to rehabilitation, DeGraff today provides a full spectrum of services, including imaging, blood draw station, gastro intestinal, wound care, medical rehabilitation, intensive care, general and specialty surgeries. DeGraff is also home to the best retinal surgical specialists in WNY.

As part of Kaleida Health, the largest health care provider in WNY, DeGraff has established an identity with a difference. With leading edge technology, emergency services by doctor’s board certified in emergency medicine and a private room for every patient at no extra cost, DeGraff delivers a special kind of care. Patient satisfaction scores rank DeGraff Hospital one of THE best in WNY. “The personal care delivered by concerned staff creates a secure and trusting feel for our patients that results in positive outcomes,” added Mary Brown, Director of Nursing. “The patient experience is first and foremost our top priority. The result is DeGraff’s ranking at the top of our peer group for outstanding patient satisfaction for inpatient care and among the top in the nation for Emergency Room services. For that we are most proud.”

The busiest point of entry for patients at DeGraff is through the Emergency Department. Specially trained professionals are standing by 24/7 to meet those critical needs. DeGraff Memorial Hospital offers a full service ER with the speed of an urgent care center. 90 % of patients are seen within 10 minutes. And if the need arises for specialty services, DeGraff serves as the gateway to Buffalo General Medical Center and Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

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