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Oldest public hospital in Texas opens


On this day in 1884, the City-County Hospital, the oldest public hospital in Texas, opened in Austin. The hospital was owned jointly by the city of Austin and Travis County until 1907, when the county withdrew its support. It was known as City Hospital until 1929, when the city council renamed it in honor of Dr. Robert J. Brackenridge, who had served as chairman of the hospital board and worked for many years toward improving medical care in Austin. Brackenridge Hospital offered Austin's first intercranial and open-heart surgery in 1948 and 1961. The city's first intensive-care unit opened there in 1960, its first cardiac-care unit in 1971, and its first alternative birth center in 1978. In addition, the Brackenridge Emergency Room is the regional trauma center for a ten-county area. Brackenridge also housed the area's first nursing school, which was established in 1915 and operated by the hospital until 1984, when Austin Community College assumed responsibility for the program. After beginning an education program for interns and residents after World War II, Brackenridge became a fully accredited teaching hospital in the mid-1950s.

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