With its central location, two major hospitals offering a wide range of services and a significant number of medical industry jobs, Paducah has just what the doctor ordered when it comes to health care.
Lourdes Hospital, with some 1,700 employees, and Western Baptist Hospital, with more than 1,500, are the top two employers in Paducah and McCracken County, according to the Greater Paducah Economic Development Council. The hospitals have a long history in town – Lourdes was founded downtown as Riverside Hospital in 1905, and Western Baptist opened in 1953. Riverside was operated by the city until its purchase by the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., in 1959.
The name was changed to Lourdes later that year for Our Lady of Lourdes. Managed by the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio, the Owensboro Catholic diocese resumed sponsorship in 1982. In 1991, the Sisters of Mercy assumed sponsorship of the hospital, and joined with other systems to form Catholic Healthcare Partners in 1997. CHP sponsors Lourdes today. Lourdes, now located on Lone Oak Road just off Interstate 24, has a diabetes center, sleep disorders center, heart center, hospice, birthing center, pediatric care, radiology, rehabilitation center, women’s services and wound care, among other departments. HealthGrades awarded Lourdes with its highest possible ranking, five stars, for treatment of heart failure and stroke. Western Baptist, now a fixture in the community, had a slow start. Ground was broken for the hospital in 1948, but funding problems kept it from being completed until 1953.
Today, Western Baptist is a part of Baptist Healthcare System, based in Louisville, Ky. The core of the hospital covers eight square blocks in central Paducah, including the hospital building, three medical office buildings, a digital imaging center, daycare center and parking garage.
Services available at Western Baptist include a heart center, rehabilitation center, sleep lab, cardiac care, digestive health, children’s, emergency, oncology respiratory care and many more.