Helen Keller Hospital began in 1921 when the city of Sheffield and the Colbert County government pooled their resources to purchase the New Belmont Hospital, a two-story structure located at 300 E. 4th Street, Sheffield. The name was changed to “Colbert County Hospital” and had a bed capacity of about 25. The overwhelming demand for services at the new hospital prompted local politicians and physicians to consider expansion and relocation. The new hospital opened at its present location on September 17, 1927. The hospital featured three levels, 60 patient beds, a maternity room with sun porch, two operating rooms, an X-ray room, a lab, and doctors’ and nurses’ rooms. A nurses’ home, a tradition in the early 1900’s, was built in 1927 and was located next to the hospital. It housed 17 nurses. Several renovations and additions occurred throughout the years, including a four-story addition in 1960. This raised the bed capacity to 214 and added new surgery, maternity, emergency, pharmacy, radiology, and lab, which included pathology. Also in 1960, the Helen Keller Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary was formed. In 1979, Colbert County became Helen Keller Memorial Hospital, in honor of the courageous Tuscumbia resident. A dedication celebration marking the renaming was hosted in 1980.
Constant updates and renovations allowed Helen Keller Hospital to offer leading edge technology and services, including new ER and surgery suites, a hospital-based ambulance service, the Sleep Disorders Center, and more. In 1999, a grand opening was held for the new ER, Women’s Center, Radiology, and Admitting areas. These renovations brought the ER up to 18 beds, with dedicated trauma rooms and rooms equipped with x-ray capabilities. The Women’s Center added larger, LDRP-capable rooms, with a larger nursery.
In 2003, the Keller Wellcare Center was expanded. A therapeutic pool, hot tub, sauna, and state-of-the-art cardiopulmonary rehab equipment were added. Outpatient rehab and sports medicine relocated to the Wellcare Center, allowing for additional equipment treatment rooms and services.
2005 brought the opening of the Kid’s Place Pediatric Unit. The unit offers kid-friendly treatment rooms and equipment. The Keller Imaging Center opened in 2010, providing a full array of imaging equipment in a convenient outpatient setting. The center also features a dedicated women’s imaging center. The Keller Outpatient Surgery Pavilion opened in 2009, featuring leading edge surgical suites and equipment, private parking, and a comfortable waiting area. In 2014, Helen Keller Hospital entered into a long-term lease agreement with the Huntsville Hospital Health System. This is a 40 year agreement, where Huntsville Hospital Health System will assume all responsibility for the operations and facilities. The Huntsville Hospital Health System board of directors approved a 13 member advisory board for Helen Keller Hospital, comprised of seven community members and six members of the medical staff.