Cappagh Hospital & School
Our out-reach programme provides support to pupils in The National Orthopedic Hospital in Cappagh Finglas.
We are particularly proud to continue the long history of Hospital Teaching which is associated with Cappagh Hospital. Established in 1926 it was, at one point, the largest hospital school in Ireland.
Cappagh House was the residence of Lady Martin, widow of Sir Richard Martin and daughter of Sir Dominic Corrigan, the distinguished physician whose name is associated with ‘Corrigan’s Pulse’ and ‘Corrigan’s Button’. On 15th September 1907 Lady Martin passed to her reward and very generously bequeathed the property to the Religious Sisters of Charity “to provide a school for poor children in the neighbourhood”. As the surrounding district was sparsely populated at the time it was not considered practical to set up a school. Instead, it was used as a convalescent home for the Children’s Hospital, Temple Street and training school for nursery nurses. Underprivileged children who suffered from the diseases of poverty, such as Rickets, Tuberculosis and malnutrition were transferred to Cappagh for continuing treatment.
After World War 1, work commenced on the building of the hospital. Initially old army huts were used as wards. In 1921, Cappagh became an “open air” hospital in its own right for the surgical treatment of T.B. The design was based on a similar hospital in Switzerland, and it is only the third hospital in the world to use this technique.
Between 1921 and the mid 1950’s, the building of the hospital continued and the number of beds and cots increased from 60 to 260. A modern operating suite, X-ray Department and Physiotherapy Department were added.
Because of the long-term nature of the treatments (counted in years rather than months) a national school was established in 1923 for the education of the children. It still exists today with one full time teacher working there. In addition, Occupational Therapy was introduced from an early date and patients were taught handcrafts of all kinds. In 1961, a new Occupational Therapy Department was opened, the first of its kind in Ireland, with specially qualified Occupational Therapists, who had been trained in England.
The decade between 1945 and 1955 saw the rapid decline in the diseases Tuberculosis and Rickets due to new treatments, drugs and the general raising of living standards. These welcome developments meant fewer admissions of children and fewer beds needed.
Between the mid fifties and the present, radical changes have taken place. The number of beds were reduced to 164 and from being an all children hospital originally, 90% of today’s admissions are adults.
In 1961, the original Operating Theatre was replaced with a bigger more modern one. A second theatre was added in 1971, fitted with the new Clean Air Facilities required for Total Hip Replacement Operations. Here history repeated itself because this was only the third of its kind in existence, one in England, one in Switzerland and one in Cappagh. In 1989/1990, two additional Clean Air Operating Theatres have been added, again the most modern available.
The wards (which were large open-air design) have been reconstructed to meet adult requirements and to measure up to modern standards. A new Imaging Department and Pathology Department were added.
Further developments include the establishment of the Autoglous Blood Transfusion Service in 1991 and the Bone Bank in 1996. An Oratory for the patients and staff in 1987 and a new Outpatients Department in 1995 were opened. An Auditorium which seats 150 was opened in June 1998. In March 2001 a major project was completed with the commissioning of an MRI scanner. The scanner costing €1.52m was funded by the Cappagh Research & Development Trust. A major hospital development programme is with the Department of Health & Children.
Medical/Nursing education has always been the hallmark of Cappagh. The hospital provided the only postgraduate Orthopaedic-training course for nurses for many years. In 1991, approval was granted for the Diploma Course in Orthopaedic Nursing for this Hospital by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for Post-Graduate Nurses. Since 1999 this course has been upgraded to that of a Higher Diploma in Orthopaedic Nursing.
The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland was officially opened in March 1992, with the appointment of Timothy O’Brien as the first Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Discussions commenced in 2005 in connection with the transfer of the Lady Martin Trust from the Sisters of Charity; this process was completed at the end of December 2005.
The Hospital in association with University College, Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland provides undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.
At the present time the hospital has the services of 21 Orthopaedic Surgeons, each with a major sub-specialty and 4 Rheumatologists, 10 Consultant Anaesthetists, 2 Consultant Radiologists, a Haematologist, a Biochemist, a Histopathologist and a Microbiologist each giving their expertise to Cappagh.
The hospital is a major elective Orthopaedic facility and provides elective Orthopaedic Services for St. Vincent’s Hospital, Mater Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, James Connolly Memorial Hospital, The Children’s Hospital Temple Street, Central Remedial Clinic and other tertiary referrals.