Backus Hospital

Norwich was founded in 1659, but more than two centuries passed before the city had a hospital

Plaque sponsored by Backus Hospital

Located on 326 Washington Street

Norwich was founded in 1659, but more than two centuries passed before the city had a hospital. On October 4, 1893—with a grand ceremony and hundreds of delighted guests—The William W. Backus Hospital opened its doors. Ever since, our hospital has been living out its mission to improve the health of the community.

The hospital’s creation was the vision of two men, icons of the Victorian era: William Albert Slater, an industrialist who served as the hospital’s first president, and William Wolcott Backus, a gentleman farmer who was its first benefactor.

Today, the hospital continues its proud tradition of progress by providing care for 11,000 inpatients a year, and more the 400,000 outpatients. Backus is the “medical home” for nearly a quarter million residents of eastern Connecticut. Nearly 2,500 people work there—employees, physicians, and volunteers.

In 2008, Backus Hospital’s Cancer Center received the American college of Surgeons Commission on Caner’s Outstanding Achievement Award, placing it among an elite group of cancer centers nationwide.

Backus Hospital operates the state’s only trauma center east of the Connecticut River, and it is the only regional facility that has a helipad and support facility for LIFE STAR, Hartford Hospital’s air ambulance helicopter.

The hospital has expanded far beyond its original building. It operates outpatient centers in Colchester, Montville, and Gales Ferry; and the 57,000-square-foot Backus Outpatient Care Center in Norwich.

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