Fifty-five years and counting. That’s how long Mississippi Coast residents have been relying on Hancock Medical Center. With modest beginnings, the high-tech facility on Highway 90 is managed by the world-renowned Oschner Health System. Working with area physicians, Hancock Medical offers state-of-the-art health care with a caring, local staff.
In the first half of the 20th century, area health care in Hancock County was offered by Kings Daughters & Sons Hospital, located in a historic frame building in downtown Bay St. Louis. Hancock Medical, county-owned since 1960, started out on Carroll Avenue before moving to a new facility opened on Dunbar Avenue, offering more rooms and updated equipment. Established under the name of Hancock General Hospital, the organization thrived as the community grew.
Although the hospital suffered $26 million in damages during Hurricane Katrina, a heroic group of employees and physicians remained and helped put lives, homes, and the hospital back together. Like any fine hospital, expansion and programs to update procedures and equipment are ongoing, with each technological advance in health care.
For instance, consider the new Telestroke System. When a patient arrives at the emergency department at Hancock Medical with the symptoms of a stroke, a computer with an advanced webcam will be brought to the bedside where the clinical team will connect with a vascular neurologist on call at Ochsner’s mother-ship hospital in New Orleans. The neurologist, patient and clinical team at Hancock Medical can see and speak to each other throughout the consult. The physician examines the patient and reviews the CT scan of the patient’s head, providing guidance on advanced treatments within minutes.
Bay St. Louis resident Roy Herron was the beneficiary of the new system. One morning Mr. Herron could not hold a cup of coffee in his right hand and started feeling a numbness on his right side. Concerned, he drove himself to the hospital.
In many cases, Telestroke consultation will allow patients to stay at Hancock Medical. In more complicated cases, like this one involving Mr. Herron, the patient is transferred to Ochsner in New Orleans for more specialized treatment. Telestroke helps save more lives even with advanced cases because the neurologist will have already met and started treating the patient.
Herron believes that the new system – and the staff – saved his life. “I wouldn’t be here today if not for the efficiency of Hancock Medical and the coordination with Ochsner,” he said.
His emergency room physician at Hancock Medical that day, Dr. Laurie Patterson, believes that this case is one of many each week that prove how local hospitals help save lives. “In the case of Mr. Herron,” she said, “he got here quickly, got the meds he needed here in our Emergency Department and then was transferred to Ochsner in a timely manner.”
The very active foundation makes many things like these possible for Hancock Medical:
- Telestroke Program in the Emergency Department
- Fetal Monitoring System for health of mom and baby
- Mobile Ultrasound in ER
- Mammography Assistance for uninsured in Hancock County
- Endoscope Reprocessor for the Surgery Department
- Baby Isolette for OB Department
- Healthstream Employee Education
- Patient Room Televisions
- Joseph R. Lee, M.D. Operating Room Suite
The Hancock Medical Foundation Board includes Myron Labat (President), Ellis Cuevas, Theresa Bourgeois, Herb Dubuisson Sr., Suzi Lee, Bob McBee, Hank Wheeler, Jeanie Moran, Marilyn Sefton and Ron Hyman.
They work closely with the Board of Trustees and hospital administration members – like Virginia Kenny. Currently Chief Nursing Officer, she’s served in many nursing roles in the hospital since 1982.
Hodges says that he’s excited to help lead Hancock Medical into the future as it delivers quality health care to the residents of Hancock County.
“Our core mission is to be the health resource for Hancock County and it speaks well of our facility that 80 percent of all of our inpatients and outpatients live right here in Hancock County,” Hodges says.
“I’m proud of how friendly and dedicated our staff is to our patients and our community, and I’m proud of the quality health care that we’re providing.”
That quality has been most recently recognized with Hancock Medical named one of eight hospitals in the state to be rewarded with an increase in Medicare reimbursement, a direct correlation to the quality of health care services it is providing patients.
And in 2015, County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program rank Hancock County 7th for health outcomes among the 82 counties in the state. This study reflects the success of Hancock Medical and Hancock County in providing resources toward the overall health of its citizens.
According to Hodges, the Hancock Medical and Oschner team add up to two things: Hometown heart and world-class care.