At Tidelands Health, our local roots run deep. Today, we are the region’s largest integrated health care delivery network with three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations. But we trace our beginning to the efforts of a small group of committed citizens in Georgetown County in the 1940s.
Our story began with Georgetown American Legion Post #114. At the time, Georgetown did not have medical facilities, and the nearest hospital was in Florence, 68 miles away. The American Legion began an effort to build a hospital as a memorial to the servicemen of Georgetown County. Post #114 Commander A.W. Ford Sr. appointed a hospital committee chaired by Joseph Doyle.
Thomas Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox, donated funds for construction of a hospital, nurses’ home and laundry building. Mrs. Yawkey later contributed toward construction of a surgical suite.
In March 1946, Legion members held the first board of trustees meeting to discuss construction of a hospital. The board elected J. H. Geagan chairman and R.M. Ford vice president. Legionnaires raised funds by public subscription, donations, endowments and other avenues prescribed by the Post Committee. From the hospital’s inception, The Duke Endowment was actively involved in funding various projects.
Planning continued throughout the year. The Board decided to construct a 54-bed hospital. In 1947, R.M. Ford Sr. was elected chairman of the board, with J.P. Parrish elected vice president. An 8.2-acre site on Black River Road was purchased from the Pyatt estate, and architects Lafaye, Lafaye & Fair of Columbia were engaged.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on March 6, 1949. Richard Roach named the first hospital administrator, and Dr. W.G. Armstrong was the first surgeon. Fourteen doctors were accepted on the medical staff. The first patient was admitted to Georgetown County Memorial Hospital on May 11, 1950.
Over the years, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital has grown and expanded to 131 licensed patient beds. And in 2002, Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital was opened to serve the fast-growing northern reaches of our service area. Tidelands Waccamaw also houses Tidelands Waccamaw Rehabilitation Hospital, our region’s only dedicated inpatient rehabilitation hospital. Today, Tidelands Health includes 298 licensed beds and nearly 50 outpatient service locations that stretch from North Myrtle Beach to Hemingway.