RCH celebrates past and present

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, September 17, 2008

AHOSKIE—It was all about the past and the present here Sunday.

Dozens gathered at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital (RCH) to explore and celebrate an open house themed in remembering the hospital’s past and observe the hospital’s present accomplishments.

The community was offered several activities to partake in around hospital grounds, including a barbecue lunch, historical displays and tours of the Radiology and Obstetrics departments.

A reader’s theatre performance and discussion presented by Chowan University topped off the day at RCH.

“Were just thrilled to open our doors to the community,” said RCH’s President Sue Lassiter.

Lassiter continued by saying it has been a year of celebration for RCH’s medical staff because of the hospital’s 60th anniversary.

“This is our chance to celebrate with the community,” she said about the open house.

A display of RCH and medical history (on its first stop) was available for guests to peruse. The exhibit, compiled by the Murfreesboro Historical Association, will also make an appearance at Chowan University at a medical symposium and the Cofield Town Hall in the upcoming weeks.

The display offered a time line of the hospital’s history, including the first attempt at building a hospital in 1914 and the year the hospital was completed 1948.

RCH has grown from a 40-bed facility employing 75 to a 114-bed hospital serving thousands of patients each year.

The display also features facts about early medicine in the Roanoke-Chowan area, including Native Americans and African-Americans who used herbal medicines for treatment.

A section of the display was committed to James Spurgeon “Jim” Jordan of Como, a well known faith healer who used herbal and “conjuring” medicines on his patients. Spurgeon practiced faith healing for 70 years and was well-known all over the east coast.

Orlanda Reed of Winton said she enjoyed reading and looking at the artifacts on display.

Reed said she learned a lot about the history and also enjoyed the reader’s theatre presentation of “A Face of Stone.”

The display also drew the attention of the hospital’s current employees. RCH Gift Shop employee Flordelis Chamblee of Harrellsville was impressed by the display as well.

“It’s nice to see the old stuff and the history (of the hospital),” she said.

East Carolina University Professor Todd Savitt led a discussion with the guests subsequent to Chowan University students and professors performing a reader’s theatre adaptation of William Carlos Williams’s short story “A Face of Stone.” The performance told the story about the relationship between a physician and their patient.

On September 26, RCH will continue their 60th anniversary celebration at Chowan University with a symposium celebrating medical leaders in the area.