By CHRIS WILSON
AMORY – Several expectant mothers went to the grand opening and open house of Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center’s new Women’s Center Saturday afternoon. The mothers wanted to see where they’d be delivering their new babies. They will be among the first to use the new facility.
The $18 million center marks a new era in women’s health care, said hospital CEO Dwayne Blaylock. He cited the legacy upon which Amory’s hospital was built, its extraordinary services to women and children. He said that based on the records that have been kept, more than 35,000 babies have been delivered at the hospital through the years. Blaylock said when the hospital was purchased by Health Management Associates (HMA) in 2005, a promise was made to build and equip the new Women’s Center.
The Women’s Center was dedicated to long-time Amory physician Dr. Richard Hollis.
Hollis said it was humbling for him to see his name on the new building. He said it was appropriate for the new facility to hold its grand opening on Mothers Day weekend. He said the hospital’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore, wanted good health care for Amory’s citizens. But he said it was Mrs. Gilmore who really pushed for a hospital in Amory. “A lot of women have been the mainstay of hospitals and health care,” Hollis said.
Hollis, who began practicing medicine in Amory in 1960 and retired in 1996, said he still remembers the first baby he ever delivered. It was in 1951 when he was at Tulane. He said he also still remembers a lot of the mothers whom he delivered babies for here in Amory. “They’ll always be dear to my heart,” he said, adding that they come to the Gilmore hospital with high expectations.
Hollis thanked his family for their commitment and support through the years when he was absent from their lives because of his career in medicine.
HMA Division 4 President J. Dale Armour said the new Women’s Center is just the first phase of improvements for Amory’s hospital. He said they plan to renovate the patient rooms next.
Armour cited the Amory community’s support for its ability to have such a good hospital. “Several years ago HMA came to Amory and visited the community and the hospital. We found an excellent community and enthusiastic hospital employees and the medical staff, it’s one of the most supportive I’ve ever been involved with.”
Armour said it was a huge team effort to get the new Women’s Center constructed.
He said the hospital is a key part of the Amory community in that it employs more than 300 people and has an annual payroll of more than $16 million.
“It’s our goal to continue to grow,” he said. “We don’t want people who live in Amory to go anywhere else for health care. Mr. Gilmore had a vision for health care in Amory and we want to continue that.”