The ‘new’ hospital turns 50

Barbecue on June 12 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of current LMH building.

You know you have lived in a town for a long time when an organization is having a 50-year anniversary and you remember being at the original ribbon-cutting.

Next week, on Friday, June 12, from 3 to 7 p.m., Langley Memorial Hospital will be hosting an event called the South Tower anniversary celebration to commemorate the opening of the South Tower, which replaced the original cottage hospital.

The event will be held in the parking lot at LMH with a barbecue, live music, and displays of memorabilia. It is open to the public and parking is free. This is a great opportunity to catch up on some valuable Langley history.

Taking some time to reflect on my interaction with the local hospital over the years brings back a flood of memories, some happy, some sad, but how fortunate that my family and I had such professional care so close to home. Many in our province don’t have that luxury.

I was born on top of the hill in the little hospital, with Murrayville on my birth certificate. Two of my children and both of my grandchildren were born at LMH so we have a three-generation connection to the facility.

I have walked through the front doors smiling with flowers or balloons to celebrate happy occasions and I have arrived in an ambulance in pain and full of fear. I have held my new babies as they entered the world and I have held the hands of my Dad, aunt and uncle, as they left us behind for a world much better than ours.

Many trips were made to pick up firefighters who had ridden up in the ambulance to assist with CPR and some trips were made to sit with firefighters waiting for treatment from trauma received on the fire scene.

I have sat with my kids as they received stitches for dog bites and needles for bee stings and I have left there in a sling for a separated shoulder, or an ankle wrapped for a torn ligament. I have been hooked up to machines and poked and prodded and invaded. I have given blood and received blood and I’ve been scanned and x-rayed and ultra-sounded.

I have sat with friends and held their hands in encouragement or prayed with them to find some peace and comfort in troubled times.

Each of my visits has been a positive experience and so I am surprised when I hear the odd complaint. My visits have always been tempered with three things: please, thank you and patience. The hospital is always a busy place and I have the confidence in the professionalism of the staff that they are treating the sickest people first. Sometimes that means I have to wait.

I do not take our local hospital for granted. Many people throughout the world have no chance of ever seeing a doctor, much less lying in a clean hospital bed. Back in the early 1950s, the expansion committee recognized that a growing community would need a new facility to maintain that service at a high level.

On March 4, 1965, all patients were transferred from the cottage hospital to the new facility, a dream come true for many professionals and volunteers.

You have all thought about thanking the folks at LMH after a stay but just never got around to it. Friday, June 12 is your chance. At least that’s what McGregor says.