In 1924, Drs. C. V. Tyner and Kenan Casteen of Leaksville, and Dr. H. Carlyle Dixon of Madison, saw a need for a hospital in the Tri-City area. With a $7,500 gift from Marshall Field and Company, a new 24-bed facility was opened. An additional $7,500 was lent to the doctors for the operation of the hospital. The hospital, owned and operated by Drs. Tyner, Casteen and Dixon, provided 24-hour nursing care. Most of these nurses were trained at the hospital’s school of nursing.
As the responsibilities of hospital management increased over the years, the founding doctors felt it could be better administered with the participation and interest of the community. Thus, in 1953, Tri-City Hospital became a publicly owned community hospital. Marshall Field and Company donated $50,000 for the community’s part of the purchase. It was the last gift given by Marshall Field before it became Fieldcrest Mills, Inc.
The hospital gained immediate support from the community. The newly appointed trustees felt the need for a more modern structure for the public’s health care needs and there began a campaign to build a new hospital. Stimulated by gifts from industry and the community, particularly $100,000 contributions from Fieldcrest and John Motley Morehead, bids were submitted and a new hospital became a reality in 1960. The new hospital was opened and medical specialties were added.
It wasn’t long after the new hospital opened that advances in technology and an increase in patient volume made it apparent that radiology and pathology facilities would have to be enlarged and updated. A campaign began under the leadership of Mr. Harold Whitcomb, and in 1964 the Whitcomb Diagnostic and Treatment Center was opened.
In 1968, a new wing was opened. Built as a long-term care unit, new government regulations changed the direction of its intended use during the building process, and it was opened as a general care floor.
In 1984 a construction project, consisting of a 48,000-square-foot addition and 19,000 square feet of renovation of the existing facility, was completed. The additional space created a new operating suite, emergency and outpatient department, labor and delivery suite, and intensive care unit. Most departments, including physical therapy, respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, medical records and administration, were renovated and expanded. The addition of a new main lobby, waiting areas for families and friends, and elevators provided more privacy and comfort for patients, employees and visitors, as well as improved traffic patterns.
The hospital continued to respond to new ways to serve the community. In March 1986, the east wing of the hospital was converted into a 24-bed skilled nursing facility—Morehead Nursing Center. The unit was expanded to 41 beds in 1987. In 1992 a new Day Hospital was opened for same day surgery and other medical procedures. The surgery suite was renovated and a fifth operating room was opened in 1993. A new birthing center was opened in 1992 with the labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum (LDRP) concept. The mother may remain in the same beautiful room from admission to discharge.
An era of expansion continued with the addition of a third medical office building, a cancer center, and a 134-bed long-term care facility in 1994. Physical Rehabilitation and a Back-to-Work Center opened in Meadow Greens Shopping Center in 1994.
An emphasis was placed on reaching out to the community in the 1990s. Student health centers opened in the county’s four high schools in 1994 to reach young people, and an occupational health program was developed to meet the needs of industry personnel. A congregational health ministries program was initiated in 2000 to serve a liaison role between church congregations and the medical community.
In 2006, the Wright Diagnostic Center opened on South Pierce Street to provide greater comfort and shorter waiting times for patients needing outpatient laboratory and diagnostic imaging exams. The building’s first floor houses outpatient laboratory and diagnostic imaging services. Business offices are located on the second floor.
Morehead Memorial Hospital stands as a source of pride to the community we serve.
In June of 2006, Morehead Memorial Hospital opened a new Emergency Department that was triple the size of the facility it replaced. The crown jewel in a $35 million expansion and renovation project, the 18,970 square foot facility included 16 treatment rooms, larger, more comfortable waiting areas, better security, and space to care for patients requiring isolation, decontamination or psychiatric evaluation.
The final phase of the project included installation of the infrastructure for electronic medical documentation and a major renovation of patient care areas, diagnostic imaging and medical records departments, the front lobby and registration offices, and nursing and physician work areas.