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Grady Memorial Hospital

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Title: Grady Memorial Hospital  
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Grady Memorial Hospital

Grady Memorial Hospital
Location Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Care system Public
Hospital type General
Affiliated university Emory University
Morehouse School of Medicine
Emergency department Level I trauma center
Beds 953
Founded 1892
Lists Hospitals in Georgia

Grady Memorial Hospital, frequently referred to as Grady Hospital or simply Grady, is the largest hospital in the state of Georgia and the public hospital for the city of Atlanta. It is the fifth-largest public hospital in the United States, as well as one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in the country.[1] Historical segregation of its hospital units meant that it was also called "The Gradys," a name that still surfaces among elderly Atlanta residents, especially African-Americans. Located downtown next to the campus of Georgia State University, Grady is considered to be one of the premier public hospitals in the Southern United States. It is named for Henry W. Grady, an Atlanta Constitution journalist and later owner who became a major force in Georgia politics, and advocated for a public city hospital. It is now the flagship of the Grady Health System.


Grady Hospital
Location 36 Butler St., SE, Atlanta, Georgia
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built 1890
Architectural style Italianate, Romanesque
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 81000652[2]
Added to NRHP August 13, 1981

It was first founded in 1890 (a decade after Saint Joseph's Infirmary, Atlanta's first) and opened in 1892, as an outgrowth of the Atlanta Benevolent Home. The original building (at 36 Butler Street) is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is known as Georgia Hall, where the hospital's human resources staff now work. The second Grady Hospital, at Butler Hall, opened in 1912 and was for whites only, with blacks being segregated at the Atlanta Medical College. The third hospital was at Hirsch Hall, and the current location is its fourth. From 1945 until 2008, the hospital was run by the Fulton/DeKalb Hospital Authority.

The current facility was also built as a segregated institution, with one section serving Whites (Wings A & B; facing the city) and another section serving African-Americans (Wings C & D; facing the opposite direction). Even though it is a single building and the two sides are connected by a hallway (Wing E), the facility was referred to in the plural ("The Gradys") during the years of segregation.[3]

CNN's medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady, filmed a documentary at the hospital called Grady's Anatomy (a play on Grey's Anatomy) that aired in 2007 for CNN Special Investigations Unit. The documentary focused on four young medical residents and the daily stress of large hospital practice.

In 2011, the hospital makes a cameo in the season 2 of The Walking Dead, and in 2014 is one of the main locations in season 5 of the same series, where Beth (Emily Kinney) is kidnapped.

Notable patients

On August 11, 1949, Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell was hit by a speeding car while crossing Peachtree Street with her husband on the way to a movie. She was knocked unconscious and was taken to Grady. X-rays showed that her skull was fractured from the top of her head all the way down to her spine and her pelvis was shattered. She never regained consciousness, and died five days later at Grady, on August 16, 1949. The driver, who had 23 prior traffic violations, was thought to be drunk and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served an 11-month jail term.[4]

In 2001, actor Whitman Mayo, who played the character Grady on television's Sanford and Son, died of a heart attack at Grady.

Grady Hospital gained national attention for treating supermodel Niki Taylor after her near-fatal car accident on April 29, 2001 in which she suffered severe liver trauma. The hospital's effectiveness as a level I trauma center has been highlighted by this incident. Several press conferences were held outside the hospital discussing the gravity of her injuries and then her slow recovery following more than 50 surgeries.[5]

It again gained attention after the Bluffton University bus accident in which seven died. The hospital cleared an entire wing of the hospital for the injured victims and their families.

Current service

The hospital serves a large proportion of low-income patients. Grady sued the state over lack of Medicaid compensation in 2004. Grady relies almost entirely on Emory University School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine to provide doctor and resident staffing. As an editorial in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said, "When you read the phrase 'Grady doctor,' do a silent translation, because those words really mean either 'Emory doctor' or 'Morehouse doctor.'"[6]

Grady Hospital's ambulance service, Grady EMS, shares 9-1-1 responsibility for Fulton County, Georgia. The Downtown Connector (Interstate 75/85) makes a large bend around the hospital on its otherwise due north-south route, dubbed the "Grady Curve" on traffic reports.[7]

Problems and restructuring

The hospital serves a large proportion of low-income patients. The hospital is supported almost entirely by Fulton and DeKalb counties, with little help from the suburbs or state, despite serving all of metro Atlanta's several counties.[8]

The hospital board has long been reluctant to make money-saving changes that might reduce its traditional mission. In late 2006, it rejected the advice of financial consultants and its newly hired chief executive to close an expensive outpatient dialysis clinic for the poor, being concerned that many of the clinic’s uninsured patients, including many illegal immigrants, would have nowhere else to turn. Others argued that the board of directors are politically clumsy, and prone to micromanagement. In May the board’s own consultants concluded that “Grady does not currently have the depth of leadership” necessary to transform the hospital.

In 2008, Grady Memorial Hospital was made into a non-profit organization. Numerous foundations have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize it. Michael Young beat out three other contenders for the position of chief executive officer. He was formerly the CEO of Erie County Medical Center Corp. in Western New York, University of Buffalo tertiary center. Prior to that, Young served for 16 years as president and CEO of the three-hospital, 530-bed Lancaster General Hospital & Health System in Lancaster, Penn. Young also served for eight years as vice president of operations for Shadyside Hospital, a 484-bed hospital associated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

In February 2013, it was announced that Grady's net profit was $20 million, and that 200-300 jobs had been added at the hospital in the preceding 18 months.[8]

In May 2014, it was announced that Grady would be the sole provider of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Decatur County, Georgia. Grady utilizes the name of Decatur EMS for this operation.

2008 tornado

On March 14, 2008, the buildings of Grady sustained minor damage when a tornado tore through downtown Atlanta. Historic Georgia Hall was the hardest hit. with windows blown out, a chimney that collapsed and water damage. The main hospital had a few cafeteria windows blown out, but never lost power. It was the first tornado to hit the downtown area since local weather record keeping began in the 1880s. Nine people were taken to Grady for treatment, one of whom had critical injuries.[9][10]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ "Children at Grady Hospital". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  4. ^ New York Times, Margaret Mitchell Obituary, August 17, 1949.
  5. ^ Tyra Banks Show, 2007.
  6. ^ Emory Magazine: Autumn 2007: Critical Condition
  7. ^ Downtown Connector Reopens After Crash At Grady Curve
  8. ^ a b Blau, Max (February 28, 2013), How Grady Memorial Hospital skirted death, Creative Loafing Atlanta, retrieved March 1, 2013 
  9. ^ Friday tornado pummels downtown; Saturday storm kills 2 by Tim Eberly and Paul Shea for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 15, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  10. ^ Atlanta Tornado: The Aftermath: Landmarks Take a Hit by Rhonda Cook et al. for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 16, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2008.

External links

  • National Park Service: Georgia Hall
  • Atlanta city government: Hirsch Hall
  • New Georgia Encyclopedia: Grady Healthcare System
  • A Safety-Net Hospital Falls Into Financial Crisis
  • Travel ItineraryDiscover Our Shared HeritageAtlanta, Georgia, a National Park Service
  • Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital
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