Our History

Rush opened its doors to the Meridian community in 1915 when Dr. J.H. Rush founded the Rush Infirmary. Soon, the medical needs for area residents outgrew the existing bed capacity and in 1920, the hospital expanded its facility. Today, Rush is a comprehensive healthcare network providing quality care to people throughout East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama.

Our Beginning
Meridian's first private hospital was built February 15, 1915. The 18-bed facility included one operating room and a staff comprised of Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Rush, one registered nurse, and six student nurses. In 1921, Dr. Lowry Rush, Sr. joined the staff, and in 1927, Dr. Leslie Rush began his medical career at the hospital. In 1926, Miss Catherine Hovious began her fifty year profession at Rush. As the healthcare needs of the hospital grew, Ms. Hovious completed nursing, x-ray, CRNA and laboratory technician schools and became the only registered x-ray technician in the state of Mississippi.


New Additions
When the Rush infirmary became Rush Memorial Hospital in 1947, the bed capacity was expanded to 102, and nursing home services were added. The demand for medical services in the community kept growing and the hospital was expanded again in 1962. Two more wings were added in 1963 and 1967, including more patient rooms, an intensive care unit, new operating rooms, recovery rooms, visitor lounges, doctors and nurses' lounges, and updated facilities. Rush dedicated another wing in 1975, featuring a state-of-the-art emergency room complex, radiology department, and 24 additional private patient rooms.

Rush has experienced several name changes since its beginning. In 1947, the original hospital became a non-profit institution with the establishment of the Rush Medical Foundation. Commemorating its founder, Dr. J.H. Rush, the name was changed to Rush Memorial Hospital. In 1965, the name was officially changed to Rush Foundation Hospital.

Rush "Firsts"
Rush is known for notable "firsts" in health care. In 1936, medical history was made when Dr. Leslie Rush performed the first known bone pinning in the United States. This revolutionary fracture treatment pioneered the development of the "Rush Pin," which is still used to this day.

In 1938, Rush hired the first non-physician administrator in the state of Mississippi. The state's first blood bank with a 350 unit capacity began in 1942. In 1944, Dr. Leslie Rush, Miss Catherine Hovious, and Dr. H.M. Ivey (superintendent of Meridian Public Schools) joined forces with Meridian Junior College and initiated the first junior college and hospital nursing program in the state. Other "firsts" include the hiring of a pathologist, in 1950, the construction the state's first intensive care unit in 1962, the first co-laser used by OB/GYN physicians in 1981, and the opening of Meridian's first Wellness Center in 1982.

The tradition continued in 1985, when the Rush Medical Group Professional Office was opened to the public. The six-story building was designed for patient convenience and housed lab and x-ray departments. In 1987, Rush introduced the Sports Medicine program to the community, placing athletic trainers at various sporting events. In 1988, the Rush Family Birth Center opened providing added patient comfort and care in a combined labor, delivery, recovery, and post-partum unit. The first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was established in 1990 providing intensive care for high-risk newborns in East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama.

In 1995, the Pain Treatment Center embarked on providing the area's only outpatient setting for treatment for chronic pain. In 1995, Rush Workforce Wellness unveiled its 40-foot mobile clinic providing healthcare services and screenings to area industries.

In 1996, the Rush Senior Health Center opened giving senior adults comprehensive, primary care. The center focuses on controlling chronic conditions often associated with aging. The Rush Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center premiered in 1997, giving patients an alternative to hospitalization with acute injuries and slow-healing wounds.

Continued Progress
In the fall of 1986, Rush dedicated a new lobby and front entrance providing a modern and comfortable location convenient to admitting services. Located off 19th Avenue, a bronzed statue of Mercury covered by a colored skylight welcomed Rush visitors. Growth and diversification continued with the addition of a five-story, 200,000 square foot ambulatory care center located adjacent to the hospital. This modern facility includes an Emergency Department in the lower level, Rush Rehabilitation Services and a beautiful lobby on the ground floor, updated Gastroenterology Lab and the Pain Treatment Center on first floor, Outpatient Surgery on the second floor, and cafeteria and dining room facilities on the third floor.

Rush Foundation Hospital serves residents in East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama with a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and community services. Our comprehensive system includes Rush Foundation Hospital, a 215-bed acute care facility; The Specialty Hospital of Meridian, a 49-bed long-term, acute care hospital which operates nine rural health clinics; three critical access hospitals: Laird Hospital located in Union, MS, H.C. Watkins Memorial Hospital located in Quitman, MS, and Scott Regional Hospital located in Morton, MS; Medical Foundation, Inc., a physician management company employing more than 40 providers; and Rush Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician practice. The Rush commitment to community remains as strong today as it was when Dr. J.H. Rush founded his infirmary. A team of highly dedicated individuals pledged to caring for their fellow man.