Hospital beginnings: Sarasota Memorial in 90 years.
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System expands over 90 years with plans for more in the near future.
| 2:35 p.m. November 2, 2015
In the 1920s, Sarasota was abuzz with development and people moving to the area.
The only medical facilities in the area were private hospitals, none of which had sufficient capacity for the population.
One of those hospitals, run by private citizen Joe Halton, over- flowed with patients following an accident. Every room, including Halton’s office, was occupied as the hospital cared for patients.
A group of women involved with the Welfare Association, which was responsible for all charity cases, saw the incident as an opportunity to stress the need for a hospital and began raising money.
The fundraising campaign developed a reputation for its persistence — local businessmen walking down Main Street would pull out their pockets to show they didn’t have money to give.
On Nov. 2, 1925, after years of fundraising, Sarasota Hospital welcomed patients into a 32-bed building. The hospital operated with 10 employees to work all three shifts before expanding in size and capacity in 1930 to 100 beds.
The name Sarasota Memorial Hospital was adopted in 1954 in honor of veterans of both world wars.
15,401 HOURS AND COUNTING
Sarasota Memorial Hospital volunteer Jane Boaks has given 15,401 hours of her time to the hospital — more hours than any current volunteer.
Boaks, 92, joined the hospital in 1986 to give back to the hospital that healed her son, Jim, when he was treated for ulcerative colitis. As a volunteer, she was able to use the skills she gained as an Air Force nurse during World War II.
“You can’t take the hospital out of the nurse once you’ve worked with patients,” Boaks said.
As a volunteer, she’s seen the hospital expand physically and make many technological advances, but her passion for volunteering hasn’t changed.
“At my age I should be hanging it up, but I just don’t want to. As long as I can do it I’m going to stick it out,” Boaks said.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s administration looks south to expand for a growing population.
After an unsuccessful bid to purchase Venice Regional Bayfront Health, SMH announced plans for a way to better service the area.
On Oct. 30, SMH sent a bid to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to start the application process to build a new 200-bed hospital in the Venice area.