Western Connecticut Health Network Newsroom

Western Connecticut Health Network is committed to providing you and your family personalized care without compromise. Anchored by three nationally-recognized hospitals – Danbury HospitalNew Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital – we are united by our mission to improve the health and well-being of those who live in the communities we proudly call home. Our patients are people first – we know them from school, church and the community. That personal connection is what makes us unique and allows us to humanize healthcare. Here, you will feel at home in a warm, welcoming environment that our hospitals are known for.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Beyond our walls, we have an integrated network of physicians and specialists located throughout the region, making it easier than ever to find the care you need, close to home. You will find our physicians, nurses and staff truly care about their work, and most importantly – they care about YOU! They will listen to you, take the time to get to know you and address any concerns you may have.

Our Network also includes a nationally-renowned research institute, bringing breakthroughs from the lab bench directly to the bedside. We take research personally, and focus on treatments and cures that will benefit our community.  And fortunately, we have the Danbury Hospital & New Milford Hospital Foundation and Norwalk Hospital Foundation that are passionate about connecting local donors with our important work to secure the funding required to fuel our dreams. Now more than ever, we need the generosity of local residents and businesses to help support our continued growth, innovation and medical advances – all to benefit our community. 

We are here to provide medical care when you or your family members are sick or injured and we are also here to help you learn about prevention and wellness. Whether you are looking for answers to what ails you or a partner to help you stay healthy – look no further.

Come explore our hospitals, talented medical staff, clinical specialties and wellness programs. Experience firsthand the difference between caring for people and caring about people.

Both Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital came into existence at the same time – during the late 19th century. Both communities were home to the hatting industry. It was about that time that medical advances were beginning to significantly improve health. In 1885, the first appendectomy was performed and medical science offered important, long overdue clues to the causes of infectious illnesses. But the hospitals weren't built simply to house medical advances. They were built for something more – an abiding sense of charity and benevolence.

Around, 1884 or thereabouts, there were more than 50 deaths in Danbury – most were infectious in nature, typhoid, diphtheria, pneumonia and probably TB. Wealthy citizens could receive medical care in their homes – others had nowhere to turn. The Ladies Aid Society & St. Peter's Benevolent Society decided to do something about it.

In Norwalk, the circumstances were quite similar. In 1888, Margaret Cavanaugh witnessed a tragic train accident, summoned a passerby and realized there was nowhere to take the injured man. The wealthy could go to New York or New Haven – others had nowhere to turn. Margaret and many other women organized a city-wide meeting. Then everything changed.

In New Milford, the year was 1921 and the winter was unusually harsh, roads became impassable and residents were denied access to medical care, particularly emergency care. Mrs. Robert Strong decided to do something about it.

Each community responded by collaborating to raise funds, partner with physicians, engage the community and when necessary, coordinate their efforts with local officials.

In 1885, Danbury opened its doors with two cottages and 15 beds. Dr. Alpheus E. Adams purchased the land and paid the first year's rent.

Norwalk opened its doors in 1893 leasing the 2nd and 3rd floors in a house on Leonard Street – it had, according to the Norwalk Hour – six "snow white" beds.

In New Milford – the year was 1921 – a home was purchased by a physician – Dr. Rupert Day – and it was converted to a 10-bed hospital with two employees.

So, it has always been true – in a literal and moral sense – that these fine institutions have always belonged to their communities. This fundamental concept has resonated with each subsequent generation. These hospitals have provided something very special – something different than a business and with little or no governmental influence or interference. These are all social philanthropic institutions with nearly identical missions with a unique purpose of providing community benefit – specifically to improve the health of our communities.

In 2010, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and their Affiliates joined forces to create Western Connecticut Health Network. Affiliates include Western Connecticut Medical Group – a large, multi-specialty physician group; Western Connecticut Home Care which offers services to community members requiring help after hospitalization or to manage chronic disease and Corporate Health Care which offers occupational health services to businesses large and small throughout the region.

In 2014, Western Connecticut Health Network expanded to include Norwalk Hospital and its Affiliates. What originally brought us together keeps us together today – similar histories and missions, strong community ties and a shared belief in the importance of not-for-profit health care. We are committed to quality care for the communities we serve and proudly call home. We understand the integral relationships between each local hospital and its community and leverage the breadth and depth of our Network to drive growth and sustainability. 

Working together, we are navigating through a rather challenging environment – healthcare reform, unprecedented state budget cuts and increased competition. Our affiliation gives us strength and stability in a time of great change in healthcare. Combining resources allows us to collectively invest in new facilities, advanced technology and superior talent. We share best practices across the Network, allowing us to expand our capabilities while improving quality, patient outcomes and operational performance.

Patient care is our first priority and it is our primary responsibility to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all patients.

  • Patients must give written consent before being interviewed, filmed or photographed.
  • A member of WCHN Marketing and Communications must accompany a member of the media while at any of the three nationally-recognized hospitals – Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital or any WCHN location. 

Privacy regulations issued by HIPAA strictly govern the release of a patient's personal health information.  In addition, because of HIPPA provisions there are times when we are unable to provide a condition or even confirm that a specific patient is in our hospitals. 

WCHN respect’s the privacy of those entrusted to our care and follows the policy guidelines below. 

  • You must have the patient's first and last name, date of birth or town or residency before we will release a condition. Without this background, condition reports can't be released.
  • If you provide this information, we will release a condition report in accordance with national standard condition descriptions: 

Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician assessment.

Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable; indicators are excellent. 

Fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable; indicators are favorable. 

Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill; indicators are questionable. 

Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may not be conscious; indicators are unfavorable. 

Treated and Released:  Received treatment but not admitted.

  • Patients have the right to deny the release of information about their condition. For a minor, the parent or guardian has the authority to make that decision. WCHN will not share any information if the patient requests privacy. 
  • To protect patient confidentiality, patients must sign a WCHN release form before reporters can interview them or their doctors about issues specific to their care. 
  • To protect the privacy of all other patients, visitors and families, a member of our Media Relations staff must accompany all reporters and photographers at any WCHN 

Call Media Relations for all locations during regular business hours at 203-739-7247.  If you need assistance after hours for urgent matters, please call 203-739-7000 and ask that Media Relations staff on-call be paged.

Andrea Rynn, Director of Public and Government Relations 
203-739-7919
Andrea.Rynn@wchn.org              

Diane Burke, Public Relations Coordinator 
203-739-7461
Diane.Burke@wchn.org

Amy Forni, Public Relations Manager
203-739-7478
Amy.Forni@wchn.org

Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) welcomes the opportunity to work with the media, addressing questions, and arranging interviews with our experts available quickly on a variety of topics, and providing the public with information about the important work that is going on.

A WCHN Media Relations representative is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for reporters on deadline, for late-breaking news, on weekends or holidays.  We request that all media inquiries are directed to the Public Relations office before contact with any physician, clinician, employee or volunteer at any of our facilities.

Story ideas and photo opportunities: July – December 2017

July is UV Safety Month

Harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds.  It’s particularly important to keep your children protected even on cloudy days. Click here for ways to protect your family from sun damage.   

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Very soon they’ll be back in school! Are your children’s vaccines up to date?  Click here for recommended immunizations schedules from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month and National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Do you know your numbers? High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor and keep a close watch on key health indicators like cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Click here for optimal heart health factors from the American Heart Association.  

Important research on the genetics of hereditary ovarian cancer is underway. To learn moreclick here

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that 14 percent of all cancer deaths are from breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but the good news is that it’s also one of the most curable cancers when detected early.  For more information, click here.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Could there be a link between early onset diabetes and pancreatic cancer? WCHN physician experts are working on finding out sooner rather than later. The Network has launched a three-year research study to investigate the link between newly diagnosed diabetics for early stage pancreatic cancer. To learn more, click here.

December – Managing Holiday Stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it can also be a very stressful time, too. Click here for tips from the American Heart Association on ways to distress during the holidays.

Don’t Wait Until the New Year for a New You! Click here for tips on how to make New Year’s Resolutions That Work