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Pardee marks 60th birthday

Dr. William Lampley talks about Pardee's founding. Dr. William Lampley talks about Pardee's founding.

Celebrating its 60th birthday on Friday, Pardee Hospital called on a founding physician, Dr. William Lampley, to share his memories of the early days.

"I remember well this day, Nov. 15 in 1953," recalled Lampley, who is 93. "We had looked forward to it for a long time. Patton Memorial had served its purpose well for a number of years but it was now too small for the needs of the community and its layout was obsolete."
Doc Lampley's father, Pete Lampley, a car dealer, had worked with other community leaders for approval of the new facility from the Medical Care Commission in Raleigh.
"I remember how pleased he was when he, along with Drs. Fortescue and Trotter, attorney Ben Prince and perhaps others got a pledge of $100,000 from Ivor Pardee in exchange for naming rights. He chose 'Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital' to honor his aunt who had raised him."
Lampley, a surgeon, took on a big load of emergency room work at the new hospital. The facility had a staff of 22 doctors. It didn't take long for the flow of emergency cases to exceed the capacity of the ER. One Christmas Day, Lampley was called in to treat a young man who had suffered severe burns from rolling into a campfire while sleeping. Lampley was treating the wounds "when Dr. Raiford burst through the door carrying a young child which was limp, blue and not breathing."
Raiford said, "Bill, can you do a tracheotomy real quick?"
Doc Lampley asked the burn patient to sit up, cleared a little room at the foot of the examining table and conducted the emergency operation to save the child.
"The lesson: we needed more than one treatment table in the ER," he said.
Other lessons followed and led to hospital leaders' reacting as Pardee grew over the years. Licensed for 222 beds, Pardee has 1,200 employees, 175 doctors with full admitting privileges covering 40 specialties. Now affiliated with UNC Health Care, Pardee was named no. 1 in the state for surgeries and has won a variety of high marks for safety and cleanliness. It has greatly increased its patient satisfaction scores compiled by the federal agency that administers Medicare.
To build the new hospital, Henderson County voters approved a $250,000 bond issue. They also authorized a separate property tax levy of up to 10 cents per $100 valuation to cover operating costs. The operating subsidy has never been used. Although it remains the owner of the hospital, Henderson County pays nothing toward its operating expenses.
The original trustees were C.W. Cunningham, president; W.A. Baxter, vice president; J.C. Morrow Jr., treasurer; Mrs. Walter K. Pike, secretary; B.B. Massagee, Mrs. John S. Forest, Dr. Mark Bradford, L.B. Prince, L.Y. Biggerstaff, T.D. Hunter Jr., and George S. Johnston. The first administrator was James Morrison. Dr. F.O. Trotter was chief of the medical staff.

The initial investment included the $100,000 donation Ivor Pardee, $350,000 from the federal government, $350,000 from the state of North Carolina and $365,000 from Henderson County. The founders were able to get federal money through the Hill-Burton Act, which Congress enacted in 1946 to help communities build hospitals. The legislation eventually helped more than 4,000 communities across the U.S. build or expand hospitals.
Physicians took out an ad in an edition of the Times-News that celebrated the hospital's opening.
"Who owns the new hospital? You do: This million dollar investment in health and the alleviation of suffering is yours ... and ours," the doctors said. "It is ours to maintain as the finest of its kind, as long as each of us knows where responsibility of ownership lies. It must never become the 'government's,' or be thought of as the 'state's.' When this happens, something 'dies.'"
Pardee CEO Jay Kirby and medical chief of staff Ed Lilly also made comments, and board chair Bill Moyer raised the hospital's new flag that commemorates "60 Years of Caring."

Lightning archive: Doc Lampley recalls 60 years of medicine: