Just 10 short years ago we welcomed a fifth hospital to the Grand Strand. Waccamaw Community Hospital, a member of the Georgetown Hospital System family, began serving the South Strand on Nov. 5, 2002. I do not know that any of us could have predicted the unbelievable pace of growth. Not only has the hospital enjoyed significant growth, but we have also seen dramatic changes in the South Strand landscape. Multiple health facilities have been constructed, expanding access for the community to a number of new services.
With the community’s overwhelming support, our facility rapidly grew from 69 beds at the opening to 167 by the sixth year of operation. To accomplish this, a fourth floor was added to the facility. Although the facility foundation was created to support four floors, no one expected to be constructing it so soon after the opening.
By the end of the first year of operation, Waccamaw Community Hospital admitted just under 3,000 inpatients, cared for just under 12,000 Emergency Department patients and delivered 270 babies. This past year we admitted nearly 8,000 inpatients, cared for more than 27,000 Emergency Department patients and delivered almost 600 babies.
That volume represents a significant growth trajectory for a community hospital. We could not be prouder of our services and our team. In 2002, we opened with 200 employees at the Waccamaw Community Hospital campus. Today, our facility employs more than 800 people. Hospitals are very human systems. Without such a fabulous team we could not be where we are today. In its short history our hospital has received national recognition in areas of quality and patient satisfaction.
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The Georgetown Hospital System board of trustees is a visionary group of individuals who understands our community and is committed to those we serve. This solid foundation has allowed us to recruit exceptional talent within our medical staff. From the board leadership to the medical staff to the employees, we have become a respected and progressive hospital system. There are so many members of the team who have lived this journey with us over these last 10 years. I would like to personally thank all of them for their commitment.
Thank you, South Strand community, for trusting us with your care. We are definitely here to stay.
The writer is chief operating officer of the Georgetown Hospital System.