History of Dorminy Medical Center
The first hospital in Fitzgerald was located in a building on West Central Avenue, now in use as an apartment house. The old Ben Hill County Hospital, located on West Magnolia Street, was established by Dr. R. M. Ware and Dr. D.B. Ware, brothers who were prominent doctors in the early days of Fitzgerald. In the late 1940s, the Wares decided to close the hospital, but as a result of a town meeting, the county commissioners took over operation of the facility. The hospital was operated by the county commissioners until the 1960s, when it became evident that the city needed a new, expanded hospital. A grant from the Hill-Burton Act, which provided funds to build hospitals in underserved areas, and the proceeds of a bond issue were used to finance the Dorminy Memorial Hospital. However, regulations of the Hill-Burton Act and the state of Georgia required that the hospital could not be operated by a county but could be run by a hospital authority.
The Hospital Authority of Ben Hill County was established April 9, 1969, with five members. The original members were W.R. Snowden, Ben Mills, Norman Dorminy, Jack Massee and J.H. Dorminy. Dorminy Memorial Hospital opened in the current hospital building on August 1, 1974, with John Goodroe as the first administrator in this location. Charles Davis became administrator in May of 1975 and served in that capacity until 1987. The expansion of facilities, equipment and services during this time led to the change of name to Dorminy Medical Center. After Mr. Davis left, Carolyn Drexler served as interim administrator until Dr. Thomas Logue was hired in November of 1988. He was administrator until October 31, 1989, when he was replaced by Neil Copelan. After his brief tenure, Steve Barber and Bonnie Kelly became co-administrators, and in August of 1992, Mr. Barber became chief financial officer and Mrs. Kelly became administrator. Mr. Barber became interim CEO in March of 1993 and went on to be CEO on July 10, 1994. On November 16, 2001, Bruce Shepard became interim CEO, after having served as COO. On March 27, 2002, Shepard was named CEO.
In the early 1980s an expansion to the back of the building enlarged medical imaging, the operating suite and physical therapy. Another addition was completed in 1988, providing needed space for Administration, Human Resources, Community Health and Marketing/Public Relations, and the multi-use Conference Room. Also included are a kitchen and several storage areas. In 1995 the new Dorminy Rehabilitation Center was opened, greatly expanding the scope of services and facilities offered to both individual patients and industries requiring work-hardening and rehabilitation services for their employees.
Dorminy Medical Center has won numerous state, regional and national awards in the 1990s. These include Georgia Rural Hospital of the Year, the 11-state Southeastern Conference Outstanding Service Award, and a National Rural Health Association award for Wellness on Wheels. Individual awards included the first James Alley Service Award from the Georgia Rural Health Association, presented to Dr. Ralph Roberts, and the CEO and Volunteer Liaison of the Year awards from the Georgia Council on Hospital Auxiliaries, presented to Steve Barber and former marketing director Jeanne Adam.
Dorminy Medical Center is a 75-bed, acute-care facility offering highly trained staff and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment. We have two nursing floors, an emergency center staffed around the clock with doctors and a complete support staff, Intensive Care and Stepdown units, OB and newborn nursery services, an operating suite with both inpatient and outpatient surgeries and other procedures, a walk-in after-hour clinic for non-emergency care, a specialty clinic offering the services of specialists in a hometown setting, and a full range of support services including medical imaging, clinical laboratory, cardiopulmonary services, clinical dietary and nutrition services, and both in-house and community education programs. Frequent health fairs, screening and educational programs help detect problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other illnesses in early, treatable stages.