Oakwood Southshore celebrates 50th anniversary

Photo courtesy of Scott Spielman

Jack Kripowicz, a former Oakwood Southshore Medical Center board member, teacher and member of the Trenton City Council, stopped by to see the updates at the hospital. “I used to go down there all the time,” he said.

TRENTON — Medical science and technology have come a long way in the last 50 years, and few people can attest to it the way Dr. Lilian Diakow can.

Diakow, an OB/GYN at the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center (OSMC) delivered the first baby at the hospital and has worked there since it opened in 1951 as Seaway Hospital.

“We’ve come a long, long way, and it’s still a wonderful place to be,” said Diakow, who still practices at the hospital and has an office in Wyandotte.

Diakow was one of a crowd of people — present and former staff members, board members and the general public — to visit the Trenton hospital as officials celebrated the 50th anniversary of the facility on Saturday. The hospital hosted an open house that included tours of new and updated facilities, free health screenings and physician lectures. Photo displays were set up depicting scenes from the past half-century, along with books of press clippings.

“It was a celebration of where we were and where we’re heading,” said Edith Hughes, division president of Oakwood Healthcare, Inc.

The OSMC opened as Seaway Hospital on Feb. 27, 1961. Oakwood acquired it — along with Heritage Hospital in Taylor and Annapolis Hospital in Wayne — in 1989. Oakwood completed a $64 million investment in the facility in 2008 that included a new surgery center that opened in November, 2004, and a pavilion that opened in June, 2008. The imaging department was expanded with new technology in 2009. OSMC was designated as a Level II Trauma center in February — it is the only such hospital south of Interstate 94 in Michigan.

In addition to the members of the community, staff members wandered down to take a look at the historic pictures and recognized their colleagues from yesteryear. Debbie Thorn, a registered nurse and manager of the Progressive Care Medicine department, has worked at OSMC for more than 30 years and said she recognized quite a few old faces. She also said that, through all the improvements the hospital has gone through since Oakwood acquired it, one thing has remained the same.