John Titus Mather was a successful shipbuilder in Port Jefferson in the early part of the 20th century.
When he died in 1928, his will outlined his wishes for the care of his family and loved ones and instructed his executor to "Incorporate under the laws of the State of New York a non-sectarian charitable hospital, to be located in said village of Port Jefferson ... so designed and constructed as to permit future enlargement, assuming that future needs may justify such action ... It is my sincere hope that the citizens of Port Jefferson and vicinity will give their liberal and devoted support to said institution and endeavor to make it a success and a credit to the community."
On December 29, 1929, Mr. Mather's wishes were realized with the opening of the first general hospital in the Town of Brookhaven. With 54 beds, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital was fully equipped with what was considered the finest X-ray, laboratory and surgical technology available. The Emergency Room was just that – a room with a single bed.
In accordance with Mr. Mather's wishes, the hospital bearing his name grew along with the Town of Brookhaven. In August of 1962, a new wing was dedicated, giving the Hospital a new surgical suite, a new emergency facility and a new intensive care unit. The expansion also gave the Hospital a total of 110 beds.
In 1973, Mather Hospital undertook another expansion project, adding a new psychiatric unit and the most advanced electronic monitoring equipment for coronary care and the Intensive Care Unit, bringing the total number of beds in the hospital to 203.
Ten years later another wing was added, along with extensive renovation of the existing building and new equipment. Mather Hospital had now grown to 223 beds. By 1997, it reached its current bed count of 248.
In 1992 the Hospital opened what would later be renamed the Frey Family Foundation Medical Arts Building. The building now houses the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, the Infusion Center and administrative offices.
In 1998, Mather Hospital opened a new Ambulatory and Inpatient Surgical Pavilion, which in June 2001 was renamed the Matthew J. and Debra A. Cody Ambulatory and Inpatient Surgical Pavilion. The Cody Surgical Pavilion features state-of-the-art surgical suites and the da Vinci robotic surgical system.
The delivery of healthcare has changed dramatically since Mather Hospital first opened its doors in 1929. New surgical procedures are constantly introduced, existing procedures are improved and procedures that were once unique are now routine. Many procedures that once required a hospital stay and a long recovery can now be successfully performed on an outpatient basis. Hospital stays are shorter, but the demand for acute care is greater. Today, more than two-thirds of all surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.
John Titus Mather wanted the hospital he dreamed of creating to be "a success and credit to the community." Since 1929, that dream has clearly been realized.