Valdosta Daily Times

August 17, 2013

SGMC to open new patient tower next week

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — South Georgia Medical Center will officially open the new patient tower, which includes the Dasher Heart Center, next weekend with a public reception Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.

If you’ve been following the news lately, SGMC recently made changes to their paid time off and benefits packages, which touched off a firestorm of criticism from employees and their families. While it is tempting to second guess the administration, as the information could have been delivered differently and other potential cost savings might have been implemented but not announced, that decision in no way impacts the necessity of expanding and updating the hospital.

Sorry, soapbox time. Many ranters complained, saying that employees’ needs come before anyone else’s.

Having been a patient at SGMC for a week very recently, I can attest first-hand to a number of things, including the need for more space and newer facilities. Being in the hospital is not an enjoyable experience no matter where you are, but how can modern medicine be practiced in a 50-year-old facility?

The new patient tower has private rooms, a godsend for anyone who has ever shared a room with another patient, as well as computers in the rooms so that the nurses don’t have to keep pushing those mammoth COWs, or computers on wheels, from room to room (imagine pushing your desk and computer terminal around your office all day).

The new facility will be state of the art with accomodations for the latest technology that could very well save your life someday, not to mention a healthier, cleaner and more environmentally friendly atmosphere.

Sorry, folks, but while staff is important, people seeking care in newer, nicer facilities have been leaving this area for years. You build infrastructure for the future, and then you work to utilize it to its maximum capability.

Sacrificing patient care by not modernizing and updating, by not building new facilities, will mean fewer jobs in the future. It’s far better to take a small hit now than a total loss later on.

SGMC built the new facility to serve our community, not to hurt it, and we should all be thankful that when we need medical attention, the hospital is here for us. Celebrate the new addition next week, tour it and see for yourself the difference, and let’s all be thankful for the growth and opportunities we have here in Valdosta.

Business Roundup

Pretty exciting news this week with the official opening of the Langdale Fuel CNG (compressed natural gas) pumps. At a $1 per equivalent gallon less than regular gasoline, expect to see a surge in cars, semis, and stations over the next few years.

Guardian Bank will be renovating on North Ashley Street, with plans to build a new drive-thru on the adjacent lot they own which has been empty since a restaurant burned down there years ago.

The Wendy’s on St. Augustine is being demolished and a new one built on the same location.

Unfortunately, the Wedge restaurant closed. It was located in the Baytree Road plaza with several other small businesses. Not enough people interested in eating healthy, according to the owner. However, his plans for The Mill are moving along well and looking for a September opening of the pizza and games family place in the Remerton Mill Plaza on Baytree.

I’ve been asked about the lot being cleared on North Oak Street Extension behind Bank of the Ozarks and I understand it’s where the new treatment facility for behavioral health services will be located.

I also had a question about recent activity at the former Steamhouse Seafood restaurant on James Road. That building was sold last year and I understand it will be renovated into possibly an Indian restaurant.

I also hear Glo, the nightclub downtown, which has been sort of on again, off again for several years, is becoming a late-night hot spot on the weekends.

There is a new, full-service lab in town called SEPA, or Southeastern Pathology Associates, on Northside Drive. They’re being used by a number of physicians locally and the lab is a “one-stop shop” for lab needs.

I received an email blast from Lake Park this week, saying that the popular Lake Dogs restaurant has reopened under new ownership.

The Video Warehouse on Hill Avenue is holding a liquidation sale, preparing to close soon.

It looks like work on the new Lifeway Christian store on Gornto Road where the Hollywood Video used to be is starting, with an opening in the fall.

Still looking for Coyoacan to open on St. Augustine and Hooters to reopen in early September.

That’s it for this week, but if there’s something I missed, please let me know!