Hospital systems in Florence packing a powerful punch - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hospital systems in Florence packing a powerful punch

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - With cutting edge technology and world-class physicians helping people live longer, the medical community in Florence is packing a powerful punch. WMBF News is "In Your Community," taking a look at the McLeoud Regional and Carolinas Hospital System.

As soon as you come into Florence heading west on 76, McLeod's 'Welcome to Florence' sign is one of the first things you see. And it should be, the hospital system has been in the community for more than 100 years. It was started by Doctor F.H. McLeod back in 1906. Back then, most doctors did house calls, but McLeod saw the need for a building after a little boy died of a head injury from falling from a second-story window.

Over the next century, McLeod would grow to become a powerhouse in the region. Today it services sixteen counties, has 900 beds, employs hundreds, and boasts 23 top nationally-recognized honors, including being among the top five percent of more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide for clinical excellence.

"When people think of McLeod, they should think of top-notch, world-class services: cancer, heart vascular and surgical," says the VP of planning and construction for McLeod, Dale Locklair.

The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research opened last February, providing hope and advanced medical choices for people like Toy Nettles, a three-time cancer survivor who was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1997.

"It was a frightening experience to be diagnosed with the 'C Word,' but Doctor Pavy is a world-class oncologist and he told me that he could handle it, and so at that point I just said where and when do I show up," said Nettles, who is now in remission. "You know, there are very few lives that won't be touched by cancer, and this center represents hope for the Pee Dee."

"I think Dr. McLeod would smile," says Locklair. "I think he would be proud of the work that's gone on here."

McLeod may be the oldest hospital in the region, but it's certainly not the only one. Across town, Carolinas Hospital System is also making an impact in the community with more than 400 beds and 300 physicians.

That impact start with their pledge: they say you'll wait no more 45 minutes in the E.R. before you see a physician. Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., that's a good thing, and Carolina's Hospital System is taking the challenge head-on.

"The Pee Dee area is one of the nation's hot beds for cardiovascular disease, so to have a certified chest center, the consumer or patient knows when they come to the Carolinas hospital system they're re going to get the highest quality care," says Darcy Craven, the CEO.

Their accredited chest center is the first in the region, and they were the first hospital to perform robotic surgery in the state.

But Craven says none of the hospital's accomplishments would be possible without all of the people that make it happen.

"Carolinas just has the best group of dedicated nurses, staff, seasoned people that are just so committed to their trade of delivering passionate high quality care," says Craven.

Today, along with McLeod and a handful of other care centers in the region, people in Florence have a number of choices when it comes to what's most important:  health.

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