From Humble Beginnings to the Region's Largest Health System: South Shore Hospital Celebrates a Century of Caring

Original South Shore Hospital (Weymouth Hospital) building
File photo: circa 1922 - The H.B. Reed Estate located at 564 Main Street in South Weymouth, was home to the original Weymouth Hospital (later South Shore Hospital).

South Shore Hospital, part of South Shore Health, will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Saturday, May 21, 2022. The milestone marks the hospital’s ten decades of high-quality, compassionate patient care on the South Shore and its bright future as part of the region’s largest independent health system.

“From humble beginnings to a dynamic regional medical center, South Shore Hospital’s long-standing strength comes from the community it serves,” said Allen L. Smith, MD, MS, President & CEO, South Shore Health.

“As a robust health system, we celebrate all that makes South Shore Hospital and its supporting entities a wonderful place to work and seek care. Together, we look forward to providing our patients with compassionate, high quality care for the next 100 years.”

It all began at a Weymouth streetcar stop in 1921 when Dr. George F. Emerson sent his pregnant wife to a Boston hospital via trolley. At that moment, he vowed to help the people in his community get better care close to home. The following year, Weymouth Hospital welcomed its first patient in a pre-Civil War Mansion, located at 564 Main Street in South Weymouth, Mass. In its first six months, it outgrew the converted mansion and doubled in size, setting the precedent for growth and expansion. In 1945, the name South Shore Hospital was adopted.

Its founders set a standard unusual for the day: they insisted patients receive excellent care regardless of their ability to pay and required the hospital be self-supporting. According to Smith, these values grew into an enduring legacy.

“Balancing the values of dedication to our patients and their families while being fiscally prudent is embedded in our culture and expressed thousands of times a day,” explained Smith. “They are the touchstone that helped transform a tiny hospital into the preeminent health system that encompasses South Shore Health today.”

Throughout the years, the hospital’s leadership and staff have overcome many challenges, including the hardship of the Great Depression, the scarcities of World War II, the baby boom, and a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Fundraising and volunteering helped buoy the hospital during unprecedented times. Today, thanks to hundreds of thousands of donors and businesses – guided by the South Shore Health Foundation and organizations like the Friends of South Shore Health, the hospital has sustained its rank as the region's number one source for emergency, critical care, maternity, cardiac, oncology, surgical, outpatient, home health and hospice care services.

From clinical programs addressing prevalent medical conditions, to diverse educational and wellness programs, including childbirth classes, bereavement support, and youth and elderly support services – the hospital has never wavered on supporting a healthier community.

Collaborations with academic medical centers established the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital in 2009; while partnerships with Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital help to strengthen and enhance the exceptional care South Shore Health patients deserve.

The acquisition of South Shore Medical Center in 2015 enables the hospital and its patients better access to primary and specialty care, including obstetrics, dermatology, and pulmonary; and in 2018, the attainment of Health Express, part of South Shore Health provides seven convenient, full-service urgent care locations to patients needing quality care as quick and convenient as possible.

South Shore Hospital building today
South Shore Hospital (present day) – 55 Fogg Road Road, South Weymouth, Mass.

Currently, South Shore Hospital operates one of the largest emergency and maternity services in the Commonwealth, including the state’s first and only 24-hour Obstetrics Emergency Department, as well as the first and only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit located in a Massachusetts community-based hospital. It is a verified Level II Trauma Center and the only hospital in Southeastern Massachusetts with 24-hour access to primary angioplasty, a life-saving heart treatment.

Recognized as a Magnet hospital for its stellar nursing program, the hospital joins the ranks of prestigious health care organizations serving as the gold standard for nursing practice.

South Shore Hospital has earned the highest recognition for its quality care, including seven straight “A” grades from The Leapfrog Group, rating it among the best in Greater Boston and in the U.S. for safety. Likewise, U.S. News & World Report ranked South Shore Hospital 8th in the state’s top ten Best Hospitals, and 6th in the Metro Boston area for the 2021-2022 reporting year, making it the highest-ranked community-based hospital in the state.

“For ten decades, the commitment of extraordinary caregivers and colleagues, bold leaders and unwavering donors, volunteers and supporters have enabled the hospital to flourish,” added Smith. “South Shore Hospital’s enduring legacy of expertise, compassion, and service to its community has set the bar for years to come.”