About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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‘Please, find another topic’

State senator Edd Houck presents a proclamation to Margaret Lewis and Tim Tobin, congratulating their employer HCA Inc. and its new Spotsylvania hospital.

In a comment last week,  a reader of this blog, Scout 22407, asked, “How long is this going to go on?”

The reader was reacting to a Wednesday post on the first emergency angioplasty at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. It followed similar posts on the first baby at the new hospital and the first pediatric patient who had an emergency appendectomy.

“Are we going to be subjected to every first at the new hospital?” the reader asked. “Enough is enough. Please find another topic.” 

I wanted to explain why I write about the new hospital so often both in the newspaper and in the blog, and why I covered the “firsts” that have occurred there. There are a couple of reasons:

Probably the most important one is that readers, especially those who live in Spotsylvania County,  seem interested in the topic. One measure of that is the top 10 list that each blogger here receives. It’s updated constantly and shows the most frequently viewed postings. Below are the headlines for the top 10 blog entries that I’ve written. As you can see, postings about the Spotsylvania hospital occupy three of the 10 spots:

1. Armitage to leave hospital

2. Lyme strikes close to home

3. Hospitals ask: Who’s the daddy?

4. Spotsy hospital is open–sort of

5. Board restores Blatstein’s license

6. Spotsy celebrates hospital’s opening

7. Update on the new Spotsylvania hospital

8. Want better sex? Ask Dr. Shorter

9. Rankin: Change to hospital’s structure not a pre-sale strategy

10. Rescue of impaled man was ‘textbook’

Reader interest in the topic is understandable, because the opening of the Spotsylvania hospital is a game-changer for this area. Not only is it the first hospital for Spotsylvania County, but it also brings a new hospital company to the area, a national, for-profit company that operates 163 hospitals nationwide. How will it operate the new Spotsylvania hospital? Will it be different than the way Mary Washington Healthcare operates its hospitals? Will doctors practice there? Will they send their patients there?

As for the “firsts” that I’ve written about, these stories are a good way of describing the scope of services at the new hospital and the physicians who will be practicing there. They show that the hospital can handle an emergency appendectomy in the middle of the night. Its cath lab can deal with a 30-year old man who walks into the ER with a heart attack. Unlike Stafford Hospital, which opened in phases, this hospital appears to have opened with all of its services available from Day 1.

So stay tuned, it should be an interesting ride.


  • Lucy

    I like reading about the new hospital, so keep the blogs coming!

  • havingfun

    I like the blog stories too. I don’t think they are enough to go in the paper necessarily, but they are good, short reads for the blog. :) Since I live near the new hospital, I like reading about it and how it is going there.

    Any news on what doctor’s offices are going to be moving in around the hospital? Have any practices already signed leases or anything? I am hoping my doctor’s move there so they will be close by.

  • Jenna

    I love reading about the new hospital and all the great opportunities it is bringing to the Spotsylvania/Fredericksburg community.

    I think readers should skip sections they are not interested in reading and continue on with their day. Criticism on such a positive addition to the community seems ridiculous.