ST. GEORGE – The St. George area community was treated to games, activities, entertainment and fireworks Monday evening as Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrated 100 years of hospital care in Washington County. During the birthday party, discussion was had concerning not only the past, but also the future.
“It’s a community birthday party,” said Amber Spencer, the coordinator for DRMC’s “CareCentennial.”
A multitude of people gathered in the Town Square for the many attractions offered by the event. Shortly after 7 p.m., when the festivities started, long lines formed in front of the zip-line, as well as the bounce house, face-painting station, cupcakes and popcorn. Others gathered around a collection of classic and modern cars that showcased the last century of automotive development.
At 8 p.m., a massive crowd followed St. George Mayor Dan McArthur as he took them on a walk around a portion of downtown St. George. He pointed out historic buildings in the area, as well as the location of the original Washington County Hospital.
As the evening progressed and the event neared its conclusion, a barrage of fireworks were fired off from the Black Hill overlooking the Town Square.
A century of hospital care
On July 8, 1913, the first hospital in Washington County was created by Drs. Frank J. Woodbury and Donald A. McGregor. Officially named the Washington County Hospital, which was located at 35 South 100 East, the facility also become known as the McGregor Hospital.
As time passed and the St. George area grew, the McGregor Hospital was replaced by the Dixie Pioneer Memorial Hospital in 1952. The Dixie Medical Center at 400 East came next in 1975 – also acquired by Intermountain Healthcare a few months later. Continued population growth would ultimately lead to the building of Dixie Regional Medical Center off River Road in 2003.
“We’re celebrating our legacy of care for the last 100 years,” Spencer said.
During the event, descendants of Woodbury and McGregor were recognized by Terri Kane, CEO and administrator of DRMC. She presented them with plaques and thanked them for their families’ service.
Kane told the crowd that during the last 100 years of local hospital history, 86 years had seen the involvement of McGregor and his descendants. Of Woodbury’s descendants, one currently serves as a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at DRMC.
“A hundred years of hospital care in our community is worth celebrating,” St. George City Council member and mayoral candidate Jon Pike said, whose family was in attendance at the event.
Looking to the future
Kane said DRMC will be upgraded to a Level II trauma center by the summer of 2014. This will allow the hospital to better serve people who suffer from severe head trauma. Head trauma victims are typically flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for care. Upgrading the hospital’s services will allow the patients to remain local, as well as eliminate additional transportation time.
“We’ll now be able to keep those patients and give them a better chance of survival,” Kane said.
DRMC has also recently opened an in-house cancer genome program run by Dr. Lincoln Nadauld. The program, which is also referred to as gene-sequencing, allows doctors to examine a cancer patient’s genetics via a blood sample. From there the medical staff is able to determine a much more individualized treatment for the patient, rather than taking a general approach.
“It really is the future of medicine,” DRMC’s communications director, Terri Draper, said.
Dixie Regional Medical Center is currently one of only a few institutions around the country that currently offer this service.
“We’re very fortunate to have them here,” McArthur said of the hospital. “They’re not only giving us good health care, but a great place to for it.”
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