Largo Medical Center 40th Anniversary


(gentle, upbeat music) – Hi, I’m Tony Degina, I’m the CEO here at Largo Medical Center,
and I’m really excited to be part of the 40th
anniversary celebration, and I’m humbled to be part of the story that is Largo Medical Center. – In Human Resources,
I have the opportunity to not only meet new
candidates that come on board with us, but our employees
that have been here for many, many years, and
my relationship with them is so important because
I get to know people on a more personal level,
and sometimes we get so busy in our day-to-day
operations and functions, we just don’t get to hear those stories about those kids that
are doing little leagues, or participating in community events, and volunteering here at our hospital. – Well, so we’re both
altruistic kidney donors, and we had a great experience
at the transplant center, just the care that they give
you, every step of the way they took care of us,
they walked us through the process, the educated
us, they constantly reminded us, “Hey, you can
change your mind at any point,” and we just felt that we were cared for and we trusted everything
that they were doing. And then even after
surgery, the caregivers at the hospital were just fantastic. – I can remember when I
was the youngest surgeon on staff, and I can also
remember that I became the oldest surgeon on
staff over those 30 years. Beautiful place to work. My patients always got the best of care. I don’t do surgery anymore,
I’m now more administrative, but still love coming
back to Largo Medical, it’s really my home from my old career. – I had a very close friend, 87 years old, who was admitted to the
hospital for 10 days. He passed away, and at
the end of that time, his family came over to me and said, “It was wonderful care that our dad got,” and that made me feel
very proud to be here. (gentle, upbeat music) – I started as the CEO
of Largo Medical Center while it was still under construction in the fall of 1977. I was the only employee of the hospital, and so, we began the process of recruiting department heads and other leaders for the hospital with the ambition of getting the hospital
open by the summer. – Wrapped in our 40th
anniversary for Largo is a 10-year anniversary
of Largo and Suncoast coming together, so
thank you to that staff that have done such an amazing job there. – I remember what a sad day it was when we found out that Suncoast
Hospital would be closing, but what a wonderful day it was when we found out that HCA, Largo Medical Center, would acquire Suncoast Hospital. – One of my proudest moments,
I think, was when Marie was asked to come back and
sit with a dying patient. And she actually gave
the wife the stethoscope so that she could actually hear his heart beat for the last time. So, really great opportunity for us to be at the bedside with the patient, care for the whole family, it’s our family caring for your family,
that’s our mission statement. Really think that’s a huge
piece of what we do at Largo. – My first experience
with Largo Medical Center was on one of the
toughest days of my life. We brought my mom in,
who had been suffering for a long time with
dementia, and I can’t tell you just how amazing the staff, the doctors at Largo Medical Center
treated my mom and my family. We were so happy to just be in a place, at peace, with so many
kind and wonderful people. (gentle, upbeat music) – I come walking in,
this guy, he looks at me and he says, “I don’t
care what’s going on, “we’re gonna make you feel better,” and I just felt so much
better after he said that. I felt like these guys
are gonna look after me. The funny part of the whole thing, after they kept me in there for a while and they really looked at
me, and they talked to me, and all that, this
intern, I guess she was, came running into the room,
and I was there for an hour, and I was more and more apprehensive, ’cause it’s an hour, right? She comes running in and
she says, “I got great news. “You have pneumonia,” and I said, “Geez,” you know, it’s one of those things like, you’re not, you don’t
usually celebrate pneumonia, but she was excited because
they found out what it was. I laughed my off, I thought
it was just terrific. – So, I’ve been a recreation therapist at Largo Medical Center
for almost four years. My first day, we opened
up the geriatric unit on our behavioral health
unit, and it’s been such a pleasure to
watch the hospital grow, and to see all the different programs and the things that we can
provide to our patients. It also means a lot to
me to be part of such a wonderful family here
at Largo Medical Center. – Well, I started at Largo Medical Center way back in the very beginning, and one of the founding
principles at that time, and still present today, is
the value for the employees, the volunteers, and the medical staff. That’s what makes Largo
Medical Center so special. In fact, the founding father of HCA, Dr. Tommy Frist, Sr., his value was good people begat good people, and that’s Largo Medical Center. – I remember when I started
and this was a nice, small community hospital,
and now, we’ve grown into a large teaching institution with transplant and growing,
and growing, and growing. – I have been a volunteer
here at Largo Medical for seven years, and my first memorable moment was as a new transporter. I took a patient, instead
of the admitting office, I took the handicap
patient in the wheelchair back to administration,
and when I opened the door and saw the secretary looking at me, I realized I was in the wrong place. (gentle, upbeat music) – I remember growing up in Pinellas County back as a kid in the 60s, when my dad was practicing medicine
there, did for 55 years, and there just weren’t that many medical institutions or hospitals
throughout the county, and so, Largo Medical
Center, I wanna congratulate you on your 40th anniversary,
and all the wonderful people who work there and
the great work that you do. God bless you, and
again, happy anniversary. – In came this beautiful, young angel, (laughing) and she was just so wonderful to work with, and that’s Debbie. (laughing) – So, I started at Largo
Medical Center in 1986, brand-new graduate nurse, scared to death, and for some wonderful reason, I ended up in the outpatient treatment center, and if it weren’t for
Aisha being my preceptor and mentor, training
me in so many different areas of nursing, I
don’t feel like I could be the nurse that I am today. – So, I work in the
Ambulatory Surgery Unit, I’ve been here for 21 years, and one of my more memorable moments
was meeting my wife, Christina, 17 years ago,
and we’re still together and I love working here
at Largo Medical Center. – Fortunately, Largo Medical
Center saw the opportunity to take the graduate
medical education program to another level, and
they purchased hospital, preserve the careers
of all the house staff, which was huge, as well
as many of the employees at Suncoast Hospital, and to
me, that was very memorable, ’cause that was like family to me. – And of course, we
have two other campuses. One is our behavioral
health outpatient program, so, wanna recognize the staff
that works so hard there, and finally, our Clearwater
ER, our free-standing emergency department
that does such great work in a new area for our organization. (gentle, upbeat music) – I was out in our little
hollow greeting people, and I went to walk through the pool area into the house, passed out cold, and the next thing, I’m in an ambulance coming to Largo Medical. No one knew who I was and
I never said who I was, and it was the most
extraordinary experience, in terms of how kind, how caring, how dedicated everyone was to making sure that they did everything
they could to make sure that there was nothing
seriously wrong with me. – Well, I came on staff in
1991, and I was very worried about coming into a community hospital. Didn’t know many of the doctors, but I can tell you, from day one, it was such a warm collegial feeling. – I love my job, I love
the people I work with. I appreciate all the
opportunities I’ve had here, and I look for more. – I’ve been working at
Largo Medical Center for 11 years, and I
remember when I was playing football back in high
school, I actually separated my shoulder and I came in here to the ER, and they took great care of
me, and little did I know I’d be working here many years later. – I was lucky enough to be number employee 32 at Largo Medical Center. I started April third, 1978. That was two months before
the hospital opened. We got to write policies and procedures, interview new employees,
the best part was, the weeks before the hospital opened, we did dry runs on the
areas on the second floor. So, employees go to be patients,
they got to be doctors, they got to be nurses,
and we got to develop the systems and see how they worked. Pharmacy sent out
medications, they were M&Ms and Tootsie Rolls, but we got to give them to the patients and make
sure that everything was working correctly before
we opened for patients and took their lives into our hands. – Largo Medical Center
was designed originally as a freezing hospital, and
so, we had to work around that. Some of the unique parts
of that was the cabinet arrangements in each room,
and which from the hallway, supplies could be loaded
into the cabinets, and the nurses accessed
the supplies from inside the room, designed to
reduce the amount of time nurses were spending in
utility rooms and at nursing stations, and more time with
patients, which was good. (gentle, upbeat music) – When we walk in the
doors of this hospital, we know what true professionalism is. Our students understand pride,
they understand success, and that’s having been in the environment of Largo Medical Center. They always say it
starts from the top down, but honestly, you can’t
even tell where the top is here, because everybody
is such a family. That’s my experience with
Largo Medical Center. – It was back when we had the hurricane that came through, and
I was on the Team A, so, we were here, and
there was a bunch of us, it was on the second
day, basically exhausted, but we all a big family,
a team that helped out, and somebody, we were sitting
there on a little break, sipping on water, and somebody
puts on the salsa music. Next thing you know, we’re dancing, having a good time, but
we were so broke down, but it was just so, a joyful thing, and we all had a big
laugh, and it was great. – [Interviewer] And then
you went back to work? – And we went back to work, yeah. – Happy 40th anniversary,
Largo Medical Center, and thanks to all the support and loyalty to the Chamber of
Commerce these many years. You know, our partnership has done a lot for the community and the region. In fact, it was through
our association that we established Largo’s Medical
Arts District over a decade ago, with Largo Medical Center
as the centerpiece. Today, the District has
so many fine medical institutions and private practices, employing hundreds of people, and with Largo Medical
Center now, we have an organ transplant service
center, quite remarkable. – I started off as a CNA over at IROC, and then I found out about Jersey College opening up, and I was
like, what better way to become a nurse than
to learn in the hospital that I get the most experience in? (gentle, upbeat music) – My dad has been here a number of times, as has my mom, and every
time, they have gotten incredibly compassionate and empathetic care that has made them well. And so, I am in debt
to Largo and the staff that do such great
things for our patients. – I’ve been at Largo Medical
Center for six years, and the one thing that
I really think of about Largo Medical Center is the
friends that I’ve made here, and they really become family. You’re here a lot of
hours and you’re doing some really important stuff, and sometimes some kind-of stressful
stuff, and these guys have always got your
back, and that’s one thing that I love to be a part
of is that friendship and just all the people. – I started here in 1980, I
was recently a patient here, and some of the people who took care of me I’ve known for years, and
they took care of me so well, and I thought they would,
’cause we’re friends, but what was nice was some
people that had no clue that I had ever worked
here also took such great care of me, and I wanna thank them. – The biggest change there
was we had over 10,000 medical records, paper
charts, in our old office, which is now the Medical
Executive Committee’s office, and this room we’re standing
in now is our storage room, which had another 10,000
charts in it, paper charts, on rolling files, so the
biggest change I can see in that aspect is that we
went from 30 staff members to three during the day, because of our change to electronic medical records. – My most memorable moment
at Largo Medical Center was probably back with Hurricane Irma, just how everybody came
together as a team. The situation itself was kind-of a mess, the hurricane coming in,
we got families coming in, but with the team comes
together to take care of not only our patients, but the families that came in here for shelter,
also, it was just amazing. – Happy anniversary. (gentle, upbeat music)

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