Largo, Fl — Laverne and Shirley was the top TV show, Stayin’ Alive was soaring at the top of the billboard charts, and The Deer Hunter had just won best picture. It was June 5, 1978 and Largo Medical Center opened its doors to begin serving the local community. In honor of that historic day 40 years ago, the hospital will host a free celebration Friday, June 1 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the community, and friends and family of Largo Medical Center. The event will be at the hospital’s original and now West Bay campus located at 201 14th Street SW, Largo, FL 33770.
Largo Medical Center 40 Years Ago
This 40th Anniversary Celebration & Dedication will showcase festivities for the entire family including “Toucha-Truck” emergency vehicle displays including an ambulance and a SWAT truck, bounce houses, games, clowns and food trucks with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association. The event will include a special unveiling and historical dedication at 5 p.m.
“I have been CEO of this hospital for almost six years and am humbled to be part of the story that is Largo Medical Center,” said Anthony Degina, Largo Medical Center Chief Executive Officer.
Anthony Degina, CEO
That story began in the early 1970’s. A few Largo business leaders believed residents deserved access to advanced medical procedures. This idea ultimately led to the opening of a state-of-the-art, 246 bed facility with a focus on cardiac care in 1978. In 2008, the 200 bed Sun Coast Hospital on Indian Rocks Road was acquired. In 2014, construction was completed on the Clearwater ER, a Department of Largo Medical Center, and the new free-standing ER facility opened on Gulf to Bay Boulevard. Over the years, the hospital’s emerged as a nationally-renowned teaching hospital, with 425 private beds, and a vast array of services that support local, regional and even state residents.
“When I think of the history here, it’s wonderful to see all the growth we’ve had,” continues Degina. “We now have four campuses and have been adding new services along the way that have benefited the community locally, and now regionally with our tertiary services such as transplant, spine and cardiac surgery. These are all areas where we excel and also provide great service.”
Through all of this evolution, Largo Medical Center’s retained a number of employees with longevity. Brenda Simpson, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, reminisces about nursing in years gone by. “I was talking with my employee, Jean, who has been here all 40 years,” reflected Simpson. “We talked about the times when we wore white uniforms and stockings, and now you can’t even find a white dress in a uniform shop!”
Brenda Simpson, CNO
Leadership believes that the hospital has maintained continued growth and advancements, through expansion and transformation, thanks to a solid mission and set of values driving the direction of the hospital.
“Nursing has evolved, but I still love being at a hospital where I am watching people grow,” says Simpson. “When the young nurses have an ah-ha moment, and say ‘wow, I can do this every day now,’ I recognize what a really great opportunity I have as a CNO.”
Degina adds, “I am so happy with where we have been and where we are going, how we are truly are a family that takes care of the patients and community that we serve.”