Mease Dunedin Marks 80 Years of Serving the Community
Hospital Opened on April 18, 1937
DUNEDIN, Fla., (April 17, 2017) -- By now, the story has been told many times by many people, but it hasn’t lost its luster after 80 years. How a man who was born on an Indian reservation in Utah and worked in a pharmacy as a 14 year old, would go on to medical school, move to Florida and invest his life savings to build a hospital at the behest of a community.
Dr. Jack Mease moved to Dunedin with his wife, Gladys, and young family in 1926 because he heard the town had “the best drinking water in Florida.’’ With only one other doctor in town, Mease enjoyed a thriving practice in the beginning and opened a 10-bed sanatorium in 1929.
During the Depression, however, many patients could not afford to pay their bills, sometimes offering locally grown produce instead. Unable to afford gas for the drive to the hospital in Clearwater, as the story goes, a group of concerned citizens visited Mease one evening and asked him to build a hospital, promising to pitch in.
The town needed a hospital; the people needed work. Mease was persuaded. He raised the capital, using $7,500 in his own savings, and, at favorable terms, the Dunedin City Commission sold him a 10-acre plot of land at Milwaukee Avenue and Virginia Street. Construction began in 1933.
Mease paid residents in need of work 25 cents an hour -- $1 in cash and the rest in medical credit. They bought used brick for $5 per thousand and went to work. On April 18, 1937, Dunedin Hospital opened with 19 beds and a staff of three physicians and two nurses.
The Mease family lived on the second floor of the small hospital. Gladys helped prepare meals, did the laundry and sewed the linens. Daughters Nancy and Carolyn made curtains for the hospital rooms.
For 50 years, the Meases dedicated their lives to the hospital and to Dunedin’s residents. If only they could see it now.
Today, Mease Dunedin Hospital is a 120-bed acute care facility with nearly 700 employees celebrating 80 years of service. Mease Dunedin continues to improve its campus to better meet the needs of the community.
“We’re proud to have served Dunedin with 80 years of commitment to health care excellence,’’ said Lou Galdieri, president Mease hospitals. “We look forward to growing along with the community and continuing our goal of improving the health of all we serve.’’
To that end, the hospital recently completed renovations to upgrade and modernize the Emergency Room and cafeteria/dining area. The new ER features 22 private patient rooms with updated finishes, a main nurses’ station separating the fast track and acute care areas and a renovated patient and visitor waiting area.
This comes on the heels of a $19 million, multi-phase expansion and renovation project that brought a new critical care unit and ambulatory care unit, and created larger surgical rooms to allow for more specialized surgical equipment for complex orthopedic and spine procedures.
That overall project renovated 33,000 square feet of the hospital’s main building and added another 4,000 square feet of new construction.
From humble beginnings, Mease Dunedin Hospital has stayed true to its path to meet the needs of the community and better serve all. The Meases would be proud.
Established in 1937, Mease Dunedin Hospital is a 120-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Mease Dunedin was recognized as an industry leader in congestive heart care when it received the Premier Award for Quality from Premier Healthcare Informatics, a national alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems. Other recent designations include receiving the EPA’s ENERGY STAR award for superior energy efficiency and The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Spine Care and its Primary Stroke Center. Mease Dunedin Hospital is located at 601 Main St., Dunedin, Fla. For more information about Mease Dunedin, call (727) 733-1111 or visit www.baycare.org/mdh.
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at www.BayCare.org.