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straith history

The History of Straith Hospital

Shortly after World War I, a group of physicians came together in Paris, France to pool information, experiences and techniques gained and developed on the still smoldering battlefields of Europe. Among the participants in this important series of sessions was Dr. Claire L. Straith, a young Michigan physician only recently out of uniform himself and determined to dedicate his career to the infant field of plastic surgery. To this end he had already achieved degrees in both medicine and oral surgery.

In the years that followed, Dr. Straith steadily built a reputation as one of the world’s leading and most innovative plastic surgeons. When specialized instruments were needed but did not exist, he designed them. The suturing method he devised to leave the least possible scarring has been taught to a countless number of doctors. He also initiated a forceful campaign which, in the 1930’s, convinced automakers to use safety glass, to remove dangerous projections from the exteriors of cars and pad the interiors, which has prevented thousands of accident victims from serious injuries and death.

As the demand for plastic surgery procedures increased, Dr. Straith and his son Richard, who had entered the field, concluded that a specialized hospital which concentrated on certain few services could provide them with greater efficiency and better overall results for their patients. Thus, Straith Memorial Hospital became incorporated in 1952, and opened its doors two years later at its original location at Churchill and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

In 1973, following the untimely death of Dr. Claire Straith, the present facility was built in Southfield. The move was prompted by the age of the original building, changes in standards, and to enhance the quality of patient care.

Through the 1980’s, Straith Memorial Hospital specialized in Plastic, Reconstructive and Podiatric Surgery. In 1986, with an ever increasing staff of Ophthalmic Surgeons, the hospital changed its name to Straith Hospital for Special Surgery and subsequently was granted “Eye Specialty Hospital” status by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).

In March of 1993, Straith Hospital offered a new service: a short length of stay with an emphasis on rehabilitation. Services were modeled on the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation philosophy. Patients received admission by a Physician Medicine and Rehabilitation physician, 24/7 rehabilitation nursing, physical, occupational and speech therapy for a total of three hours a day, and supportive physician services by Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Neuropsychology, Podiatry, Neurology and Cardiology to manager complex medical conditions during intense therapy.

In 2009 Straith Hospital completed an extensive expansion and renovation of its facility. In addition to a new facade, waiting room and pre- and post-surgical areas, each private patient room was renovated. In addition, the hospital expanded with five new operating rooms, to accommodate the increasing demands for our surgical services.

Today, Straith Hospital continues to expand its services, offering high-quality surgical care options and an acute-care comprehensive rehabilitation program. However, as the years have passed, Straith Hospital still remains an independent, nonprofit hospital, with the passion to focus on a relatively narrow band of high quality medical services.