Morton Plant North Bay Hospital held a health fair and BBQ today. It was a nice event, with great food and live music. It is my understanding that this was just the first in a series of events scheduled this year to celebrate North Bay’s service to our community.
First, a little background: We moved to West Pasco in January of 1963. My father had just separated from the US Navy and he was eager to bring us back to Florida. My mom was, as the expression goes, “very pregnant” at the time. Weeks later, my youngest brother, Russell Marlowe, was born at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
When dad started practicing in West Pasco, he was the only full time medical doctor in the area. As the area’s population exploded, that changed. A number of new doctors moved to the area and soon there were enough to think about opening a hospital right here in New Port Richey.
North Bay Hospital opened as the county owned “West Pasco Hospital” in 1965. It had just 50 beds. Shortly after it opened, my dad moved his practice to a building right across Indiana Avenue from the front door of the hospital. I remember having to run errands to the hospital from time to time and I discovered that even a kid like me could get past the volunteers managing the welcome desk if I acted like I knew where I was going. The original front entrance is long gone and North Bay Hospital’s lobby is located around the corner on Madison Street.
Things have changed quite a bit at the hospital in the intervening 50 years. The hospital has changed hands several times and it is now part of the Morton Plant BayCare health system. After Community Hospital made the decision to abandon the city in favor of purportedly richer pickings in Trinity, Morton Plant responded by investing more than 100 million dollars in upgrading North Bay Hospital into one of the finest hospitals anywhere.
I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy several meals at North Bay Hospital over the years. What they cook up is definitely NOT classic “hospital food”. The BBQ today was excellent.
I hope you get the opportunity to visit North Bay this year during one of their 50th year celebrations. It is a great facility and an asset to our community.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor