SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Oct. 21 marks a special day for Memorial Health.
The hospital is celebrating 65 years of service to 35 counties in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. Just last year the hospital saw 271,000 patients and had 114,000 ER visits.
What is now known as Memorial Health—all started on this day back in 1955.
“Memorial Hospital of Chatham County was a dream of veterans, of civic leaders, of physicians to create a state-of-the-art hospital as a living memorial to our nation’s war dead,” Memorial Health CEO Shayne George said.
Their mission was and still is “Above all else we’re committed to the care and improvement of human life.” Leaders say that’s been true from the first open heart surgery in Savannah back in 1967 to now with their robotic non-invasive technology.
“Memorial Hospital of Chatham County was created as a 300-bed general hospital and we have grown into a 630-bed, offering level one trauma, offering the highest level of neonatal care, offering new technologies minimally invasive technologies and surgical robot care. Also, we have through our affiliation with Mercer University School of Medicine, we opened a four year medical school right here on the campus as well too so we’re not only taking care of people we are training that next generation,” George said.
While they have done and learned a lot in the past 65 years, the coronavirus pandemic posed new challenges. They saw their first patient in March and at times served more than 70 COVID patients in a single day.
“We were in the clinical trials a lot of the first clinical trials so we were able to learn as the nation learned how to take care of these patients and to take care of them in a safe environment,” George said.
Memorial Health joined HCA, a for profit healthcare company, in 2018 and have since put $242 million into improvements. Leaders say their future is bright as they prepare to open the region’s first freestanding children’s hospital and two remote ER’s in Richmond Hill and Pooler.
“We will continue to invest in new technologies to invest in our people and to make sure that we have the best care provided for this region,” George said.
Memorial Health plans to open the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital in March of 2021.