History of McCord hospital

McCord Hospital was officially opened in May 1909 by Dr James McCord who, with his wife Margaret, had come to South Africa from the USA, sent by the American Board Missions to work at Adams Mission in Amanzimtoti. Before opening the hospital they worked from a dispensary in Beatrice Street, with the phenomenal nurse, Katie Makhanya. There they performed minor operations, dispensed medicine and spread the faith of non-denominational Christianity.

Moving onto the Berea was quite an adventure as, in those days, it was on the outskirts of the city where elephants still roamed in the forest environment. The city changed over the years and the emerging white suburbanites were unhappy about having a hospital with mainly black patients on their doorstep. The hospital even attracted the attention of Hendrik Verwoerd, who also tried to close it down during the days of apartheid, but with no success.

However, the McCord Hospital held firm to its vision, which is represented by the cross on the building- a longstanding symbol of their Christian witness. The backbone of the hospital has always been the dedicated and caring nurses- this institution was one of the first in the country to have training programmes for black nurses, starting in 1914.Dr Taylor and Dr McCord were also instrumental in the establishment of the Durban Medical School, which is still an important part of UKZN. Dr James McCord was succeeded by superintendents who were as dedicated and committed as he was. These were Dr Alan Taylor, Dr Howard Christofersen, Dr Cecil Orchard, Dr Trevor Anderson and Dr Helga Holst.

McCord Hospital celebrated its Centenary on 1,2 & 3 May 2009, at Durban City. Started with the Mayoral Reception on Friday, Past, Present and Future on Saturday and Thanksgiving Service at Ridge Park College on Sunday. It attracted people from all over the world and it was a great success.

It was a sad day to people of South Africa when McCord announced its closure in 2012. Thanks to Department of Health who engaged in the negotiations of taking over the icon hospital as they were supporting the hospital for the past 100 years. After a long negotiations, the hospital was taken over on 1 February 2014.

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This page last edited on 11 July, 2023

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