Founded and funded by Newporters in 1873, Newport Hospital began as a 12-bed cottage hospital on donated land. In an era when most of the sick were cared for at home, a hospital was deemed a necessity for those whose homes were elsewhere: fishermen, military and others who worked the bay and ocean.
An advocate for a local hospital, Newport Hospital's first president, Henry Ledyard, was also a founder. "Newport is so isolated from Providence," he said, "particularly in winter, the distance and consequent loss of time before a patient can receive proper treatment exposes him to increased suffering and diminishes his chance of recovery." Indeed, the journey to Providence at that time was long; in inclement weather, the portion of the trip that involved water travel was dangerous.
Ledyard and others supported the new hospital with their own personal funds, and since its opening in 1873 Newport Hospital has enjoyed the continued support of the community. Since 2000, the hospital has opened a new wing, acquired sophisticated technology and equipment, and renovated inpatient units to offer more comfort and privacy to patients.
Newport Hospital has kept pace with advances in medical technology and the needs of the community. It is now a state-of-the-art, award-winning health care facility that offers a broad range of medical services, including emergency care, diagnostic imaging, a birthing center, behavioral health unit, comprehensive surgical services, intensive care, acute inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and has received the coveted Magnet designation from the American Nurses Association and Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF.