By David Pendered
Grady Memorial Hospital made its debut Tuesday in the campaign for seats at Atlanta City Hall. Every member of the Atlanta City Council signed a proclamation commending Grady for its 125 years of service.
No one appeared to observe that the gala celebration for the 125th anniversary was held March 18 at the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom. Or that June 2 was the 125 anniversary of the actual day that Grady opened its doors.
This is Grady hospital. And commemorations such as the one Tuesday during the city council meeting is a prime opportunity for elected officials to share their personal connection to the city’s first public hospital.
Mayoral candidate Ceasar Mitchell, currently president of the Atlanta City Council, sponsored the proclamation.
“In order to have any real credibility in this city, you have to be able to say that you’re a Grady baby,” Mitchell said. “At least that gets you started down the road to credibility. It may not get you all the way. So I’m glad to say I’m a Grady baby.”
So it began. For the next 15 minutes, city council members stepped forward to tell their story. Here are some highlights of their remarks.
Councilmember Ivory Lee Young Jr. was first to speak. “No, I’m not a Grady baby,” Young said. He went on to describe Grady’s role in caring for folks who may be on the “brink,” and Grady’s health care providers extend their lives. “God bless you,” he said.
Mayoral candidate Mary Norwood stepped forward to describe her family’s connection to Grady.
“Being married to a pediatrician, now retired, and having a step daughter who is a pediatrician, both of them have been in your hospital for many, many years and know of the excellent service you provide,” Norwood said.
C.T. Martin, a candidate for city council president, thanked hospital officials for the work performed at Grady hospital and by the Grady Health System.
“I am a Grady baby,” Martin said. “Thank you so much for all of what you do, what’s you’ve been doing and will do. You have a great program.”
Mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms said her son was treated at Grady.
“The last time my son had a severe asthma attack, on Christmas, I took him to Hughes Spalding,” Bottoms said. “The quality of care was just as good as it is in Scottish Rite, and it is comforting to know that there is somewhere I can get to quickly, that my community can get to quickly. I thank you for what you are doing.’
Both Hughes Spalding and Scottish Rite are overseen by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. CHOA was formed in 1998 by the merger of Egleston Children’s Health Care System and Scottish Rite Medical Center. CHOA assumed management of Hughes Spalding in 2006, according to a report on CHOA’s webpage.
This is the full text of the proclamation:
- “WHEREAS, Grady Memorial Hospital officially opened on June 1, 1892, with 110 beds and one operating room. It has grown considerably from its original facility and now stands as one of the largest public health systems in the United States and the largest hospital in Georgia, with the largest hospital based EMS system serving the City of Atlanta for 125 years; and
- “WHEREAS, Grady Health System maintains its strong commitment to the healthcare needs of the underserved while offering a full range of specialized medical services for the entire community, including Metro Atlanta’s first and only nationally verified Level 1 Trauma Center, and the internationally acclaimed Joint Commission Certified Advanced Comprehensive Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center, known for its cutting-edge care and research; and
- “WHEREAS, In January 2008, a coalition of business and community leaders created the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation, a nonprofit corporation charged with governing the hospital. In response to the corporation’s fundraising campaign, over $350 million in philanthropic contributions helped “Save Grady;” and
- “WHEREAS, Through the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, Grady seeks a public/private partnership with Fulton and DeKalb counties and the philanthropic communities to expand access to care for all by building a new Center for Advanced Surgical Services, and renovating and expanding the Ponce Center; and
- “WHEREAS, Grady is an economic engine generating $1.7 billion in economic output annually and provided over $220 million in indigent and charity care in 2016; and
- “WHEREAS, Grady’s arms are open wide, continually serving all members of the community regardless of ability to pay, emphasizing wellness, prevention, and early detection.
- “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED THAT WE, the members of the Atlanta City Council and on behalf of the citizens of Atlanta, do hereby commend Grady Memorial Hospital and Grady Health System for 125 years of dedication to serving the underserved in Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County, while also being a resource for the entire state – training medical professionals, conducting cutting edge research, and shaping the future of medicine and healthcare.”