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Community Voices:

Starting out with a few dozen beds with a handful of doctors, the Northside Hospital Forsyth has been an amazing story of growth, refinement and innovation in the healing arts.

Just about everyone in the Cumming area knows that this community has been growing rapidly and is often said to be one of the fastest growing places in the country. I’ve been watching it happen and watching the hospital grow along with it.

Hospital Administrator Lynn Jackson says the facility she has overseen since 2001 can now meet virtually any medical need. During the 16 years Jackson has led the institution it has grown from under 50 beds and five doctors to a 325-bed, 500-physician regional medical center that boasts 18 operating rooms.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting tidbits of info she shared in a talk to a Cumming veterans groups is that since they started growing to meet the needs of a rapidly growing Forsyth County in 2002, “we’ve never had a day without construction.”

In fact, right now, there is a fifth physicians’ office building under construction on the southwest corner of the 150-acre campus. That work is on the heels of the recently completed $30 million, three-floor addition to the 1.2 million square-foot hospital itself. That makes it the tallest building in the county.

Buildings are one thing, however, Jackson said it is the 2,600 people who provide every manner of care to nearly a half million patients each year who really make Northside Hospital-Forsyth a special place.

A nurse for over 30 years, Jackson made the transition from bedside to board room. She said it’s her philosophy that people who run hospitals should know something about taking care of patients. That’s the sort of thinking that led to the opening of the Women’s Center in 2008, which among other things, provided in-hospital obstetric care in Cumming for the first time in 25 years. It has since brought 25,000 new babies into the community.

Add to that, the recent opening of Gamma Knife Service for treatment of patients with recurring malignant brain tumors and other neurologic diseases. It is one of only four such facilities in the entire state.

Evolving from a small institution providing basic care to a complex, modern medical center and the largest employer in the county, demonstrates that professional medical care based on a foundation of teamwork, respect and courtesy translates into success. This not-for-profit promotes a healthier community, meets the needs of today while planning for the health care we’ll all require tomorrow.

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