Once a thriving produce farm, the hospital site on Medical Center Blvd. is now home
to a 427-bed world class hospital.
West Jefferson Medical Center’s (WJMC) story began in the early 1950s, when a group of citizens led by the
late Dr. Joseph Massony and Mr. George Fonseca took the first steps toward developing a small hospital to serve
the citizens on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Those early efforts, so full of enthusiasm for the pioneers,
eventually came to fruition.
The hospital was founded in 1956 through the citizens of Jefferson Parish. In spite of start up issues including
a farmer protest, record rainfalls during construction and a steel strike, West Jefferson General Hospital had a
grand opening on April 3, 1960. But, due to a fire in a manufacturing company from which the hospital purchased
most of its furnishings, the official first day of full service was not until late April 1960.
West Jeff started out with just one building and 150-beds. Over the past 5 decades, the hospital got a facelift
and more structures were added to accommodate its growth. In 1965, just five years after the hospital opened, a
hundred more beds were planned and a 4-bed ICU opened. Between 1972 and 1978, a four story addition was built,
increasing the bed count to the 400’s. In the mid-1980s, the first Physicians Center Medical Office building was
built. The hospital’s Fitness Center opened in 1989 becoming the first comprehensive hospital-based facility of
its kind in our community.
Over the years, West Jeff has proven itself as a leader in offering many firsts including the first physician-staffed
24-hour emergency room in the New Orleans region and the first same day surgery in the greater metropolitan area.
In recent times, WJMC became the first hospital to transmit EKGs from its ambulances to the Emergency Department.
Today, WJMC is a full service community hospital and through its distinguished history, it has had a tremendous
economic impact on the community. Not only is West Jefferson an important corporate entity and economic engine,
today it is the major provider of healthcare for the west bank and the entire region.
West Jeff is a world class hospital with one of only two CyberKnife systems in Louisiana. The CyberKnife system
is a method of delivering radiotherapy to treat cancer, with the intention of targeting treatment more accurately
than standard radiotherapy. Ultimately, it prevents damage to surrounding tissue, while solely targeting the
malignancy. WJMC is also known for its care of stroke patients. It was awarded the advanced certificate as a
Primary Stroke Center with Distinction. The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction recognizes centers
that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.
Bottom line, Our motto has always been: Our Family, Caring for Your Family. It’s a belief the West Jeff community
lives by and one it will continue to uphold for the next 50 years.