As an open house and ribbon-cutting was held on Tuesday at Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis. J. Larry Ladner, president of the Board of Trustees, proclaimed it "a big, historical day in the history of Hancock Medical Center and health care throughout Hancock County." The hospital surgical suites and recovery unit were unveiled and longtime surgeon and Waveland resident Dr. Joseph R. Lee was honored. One of the new operating rooms will be named the Joseph Rillens Lee Surgical Suite.
The celebration was hosted by the Hancock Medical Foundation, Roy Anderson Corp and the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. The five-phase reconstruction project was started in February 2011 and completed under general contractor Roy Anderson Corp, who finished the job months ahead of schedule. No patient care services were interrupted during construction.
"It's a special day for Hancock County. Few people may know the commitment and dedication it took to bring this facility back to where it is today," said HMC CEO Polly Davenport. "So many of you have been with us each step of the way during this reconstruction."
She thanked the hospital staff as well as the many community members and organizations involved in the process. "I think today marks the fruition of a lot of sacrifice, effort and hard work. You can go out from this day forward and say Hancock Medical Center has come home," said Ladner.
Lee was honored for his dedication to the hospital and the community. "God has blessed me in many ways to be associated with many outstanding professionals, and I don't know that I've ever been associated with one that I've had greater admiration for than Dr. Lee," said Ladner. "At least indirectly, he's touched the lives of every family in Hancock County in his 36 years of practice."
After unveiling his name dedication plaque, Lee thanked his family and hospital colleagues. "This is my home and I'm part of this community and the hospital," said Lee. "We've raised a family and been involved in school and church here. It's been a good life."