“Patients Deserve This”: MUSC Health Black River Medical Center Opens With New Technology, Expertise | MUSK

A patient with the surname Doctor was among the first patients to see doctors at MUSC Health Black River Medical Center. Adonis Doctor, of Johnsonville, South Carolina, arrived by ambulance at the brand new rural community hospital in Cades, Williamsburg County.

“It was my blood pressure, my head hurt,” she said after receiving treatment to ease the pain and address the underlying issue.

In the past, he said he would have to travel another 20 minutes to get to a hospital in Florence. The doctor is happy to have a medical center much closer to home. “It’s nice. They have good people. They don’t even make you wait.

The Black River Medical Center on the Williamsburg County Highway in Cades. Photo by Sarah Pack

The opening of Black River Medical Center is a welcome new chapter for many people in an area that has fallen on hard times when it comes to healthcare. Lake City Community Hospital, about 10 minutes from Cades, and Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, about 15 minutes away, closed their doors. Many employees of those hospitals now work at Black River.

That includes nurse Debra Holliday, who worked at Williamsburg Regional for years — before heavy rains in October 2015 caused such severe damage that the building was rendered unusable.

The woman in the blue coat works at a computer monitor.
Nurse Debra Holliday is delighted to be working at the brand new hospital having worked in a temporary facility in Kingstree for years. Photo by Sarah Pack

“We opened a modular facility in April of 2016 and stayed there for six years,” Holliday said, referring to a temporary facility on the hospital campus. “So everyone who comes to visit Black River from MUSC Health hospitals in Marion and Florence and talks about how great our gear is, I tell them I’m not sorry. I’m not going to apologize, because it’s been difficult for a long time.

That’s why she’s thrilled to be in a new, state-of-the-art hospital. “We are so grateful, all of us. Lake City hospital would not survive. They had financial problems and the hospital itself had problems. Williamsburg certainly did. This is just a great opportunity.”

Doctor in a white coat uses a stethoscope to listen to a woman sitting on a hospital bed.
Dr. Christ Courban listens as Ola Mae Capers, of Lake City, take a deep breath. Capers was the first emergency room patient at the newly opened MUSC Health Black River Medical Center. Photo by John Russell.

Surgeon Joseph Asaro, MD, also came to Black River from Williamsburg Regional Hospital. “It’s beautiful. And bigger than I expected. I’m just thrilled that we’re all finally getting our care, which has been top-notch. We had patient satisfaction scores for years in the 90s, which is great.” Now we have a chance to match that. I feel like we all deserve it and the patients deserve it too. So it’s exciting.

Those patients now have access to equipment that was previously unavailable in their area. For example, a machine that performs 3D mammograms. Mammography technician Tonya Carpenter explains why it’s so beneficial when it comes to breast cancer screening. “It takes three-dimensional images, so instead of just taking four normal photos, it takes a lot of photos so they can tell if you need to come back. It’s just much clearer.Black River Medical Center also has the first permanent MRI in Williamsburg County. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It’s a non-invasive way to get detailed pictures of almost any internal part of the body.

The woman in the blue jacket gestures towards a large piece of white equipment.
Mammography technician Tonya Carpenter discusses 3D mammograms. Photo by Sarah Pack

And Ken Watts, director of imaging services, said the hospital has an excellent facility for people who come in to suffer from strokes. It is designed to get the patient from the ambulance to the brain scan, the first step in evaluating a stroke, as quickly as possible.

“Time is of the essence. So we’re probably able to get the results of a stroke faster here than anywhere else in the system. Just because of the proximity of the emergency medical services who descend to get to the CT. CT stands for computed tomography Tells medical staff what type of stroke the patient has, which guides what type of treatment is needed.

Rami Zebian, MD, serves as medical director for the Florence Division of MUSC Health, which includes Black River Hospital. He said it’s reassuring for patients to know that Black River Medical Center is part of the larger MUSC health care system. “We are trying to have the best assistance locally. And we’re providing MUSC-level care with the help of specialists through telehealth who are in various locations to serve patients here locally.

People standing outside the hospital raise their hands as they pose for a large group photo.
Employees celebrate the opening of Black River Medical Center. Photo by John Russell

It is also reassuring for the employees. Nurse Marsha Floyd, formerly of Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, marveled at the change. “We have more equipment than we ever dreamed we could have. We have more space than we ever dreamed we had. It will take some getting used to, but we are thrilled.

The 64,000-square-foot MUSC Health Black River Medical Center has 25 inpatient beds, four observation beds, two operating theaters, and 16 emergency treatment rooms. Zebian said it is a great addition to an area that was in dire need of such a hospital. “Everyone I’ve talked to says well, if I’m sick, I’d rather be here.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *