Americus hospital loses, but wins also - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americus hospital loses, but wins also

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Demolition at Sumter Regional Demolition at Sumter Regional

January 25, 2008

Americus  -  It's another blow for Sumter Regional Hospital. The hospital didn't come up with enough votes to win an online contest to replace an expensive piece of medical equipment destroyed in the March first tornado, which essentially wrecked the facility.

Hospital leaders hoped to replace their Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine by winning an online contest sponsored by Siemens Medical Solutions.  The hospital posted an online video titled 'Blown Away' about the hospital's effort to rebuild from the devastating tornado.     

There was silence in the Pope Center at South Georgia Technical College as Siemens announced during a web cast that Lockport Memorial Hospital in western New York had the most votes in their online contest to win an MRI.

"When we heard the announcement it was kind of a let down, but I thought surely Siemens doesn't have us here altogether for just a big let down, that they had something in store for us," Said R. N. Rebecca Bobbitt. 

And it turns out that Siemens did have an ace up its sleeve for Americus. While Sumter Regional didn't get enough votes to win, the images of the hospital's devastation and the community support surrounding the rebuilding effort tugged at Siemens' heart strings enough to have them donate an MRI.

"I think it was the story itself, the tragedy itself, but I think a lot of it was clear that the community came together and it was about the strength of the community and we really wanted to be a part of that," Dr. Jeffrey Bundy, V.P. Siemens Medical Solutions.      

Not winning may have been a blessing in disguise, Sumter Regional would have had to have taken delivery of the machine today, and spent half a million dollars for a building that would later be scrapped because of the hospital's current situation.

"It will work out far better than what we had imagined when we entered the contest because we will be able to take delivery of this machine at a time when it will really be most appropriate in our rebuilding process," Sumter Regional Hospital CEO  David Seagraves.      

It's taught everyone a lesson about community support and where it can take you if you work together.

"It was a community effort, we had statewide, nationwide, and worldwide support, even our sister city in Japan voted for us and it was just a great effort," says Mayor Barry Blount.     

Siemens MRI division Vice President Bundy says that the balloting process was sealed, and it wouldn't be revealed just how many votes Sumter Regional Hospital received.  More than 1.4 million people voted in the contest world wide.

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