Two hands are better than one

Published 1:59 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

At the heart of every growing community lie good health care opportunities for its citizens. To accommodate the massive growth in Suffolk, Sentara and Bon Secours hospitals are both expanding their service and facilities in the area.

“We’ve watched the demographic projections and are well aware the Suffolk marketplace is one of the few growth markets in the area,” said Mark Szalwinski, president of Sentara’s Western Tidewater division. “We are very eager to grow along with the population so we can serve them well.”

Since 1951, the residents of Suffolk and surrounding communities have been heir to a legacy of health and hope through the generosity of Amedeo Obici, the founder of Planters Peanuts and a leading industrialist.

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As a tribute to his wife, who died in 1938, he established the Obici Charitable Trust, which financed construction of the Louise Obici Memorial Hospital in 1951. It also provided partial funding for the new Obici Hospital dedicated in 2002.

In 2006, Obici Hospital merged with Sentara Healthcare, an award-winning health care organization. Since then, Sentara has begun an addition to Obici Hospital and in 2008 opened Sentara Belle Harbour to accommodate the residents of North Suffolk.

While Suffolk grew around Obici hospital, north Suffolk has grown around Bon Secours, which was built in Harbour View before much of the growth had fully developed there.

“People thought we were crazy for putting up buildings here before anything else was out here,” said Barbara Lynch, vice president of ambulatory services at Bon Secours’ North Suffolk facility.

The facilities include an emergency room with a guarantee of care within 30 minutes of arrival and laboratory services where blood draws and EKGs are completed in a matter of minutes. Also based in Harbour View is InMotion — Bon Secours’s physical therapy center, which focuses on physical rehabilitation, weight loss and enhancing sports performance. InMotion uses cutting-edge technologies to help patients achieve their mobility, health or fitness goals.

Its most recent endeavors include connecting its surgical weight loss facilities, Tidewater surgical center, women’s center and cardiovascular specialists.

“Once a patient is in a service, you can move anywhere in the office,” Lynch said. “It’s one more step to provide coordinated, comprehensive care.”

Together Bon Secours and Sentara are providing personalized and caring services for the citizens of Suffolk.

“They are competitors, but competition is good,” Szalwinski said. “It makes you stronger and gives the community better services.”