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The 1980s


In 1981, the top three floors of the Laban Pratt Wing opened, providing 32 critical care beds. The community's demand for the Hospital's services continued to grow, prompting the filing of a Determination of Need with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 152 additional beds.


1982 Board MembersUnder the direction of Hospital Director Clark, and William F. Meara, Jr., chairman of the board, the Hospital reorganized again in 1982 — this time into a parent corporation: South Shore Health and Educational Corporation, and four dedicated subsidiaries: South Shore Hospital, South Shore Joint Ventures, South Shore Management, and South Shore Properties.

Also in 1982, the Hospital's cancer management program was recognized for its excellence and received accreditation from the American College of Surgeons as a Community Cancer Management Center. To better coordinate the high influx of emergency patients, South Shore Hospital joined Quincy City Hospital and Milton Medical Center to form the South Suburban Emergency Medical system.

1982 was also the year the Hospital introduced use of a computerized tomography (CT) head scanner, the nursing standards committee was formed, the Institutional Review Board was instituted by the medical staff, and the occupational health department was established.


The years 1983-84 saw many improvements under the corporation's new chairman, Jane S. Phillips, former president of The Friends; and Drs. Charles E. Rounds and Philip O'Sullivan, who each served as medical staff presidents during Phillips' two-year term.

In 1983, South Shore Hospital helped many older people continue to live independently at home by offering the Lifeline® emergency response system, which enables subscribers to contact help at the push of a button. The first 50 Lifeline® units were purchased with the help of the Hospital's annual appeal and a $28,000 donation from The Friends, led by Friends President Barbara MacSwan.

The most significant event of 1983 was the opening of the South Shore Health Care Center in Marshfield, an urgent care center that was later sold.


Diagnostic capabilities were enhanced when the Hospital acquired Doppler ultrasound in 1984. A pastoral care department was begun that year as well, with the appointment of a full-time ecumenical chaplain.


In 1985, a new chairman, Edward S. Amazeen, led the way, along with Dr. Albert H. Marcus, medical staff president. Under Amazeen's chairmanship, South Shore Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of the Corporation, led the development of the Nevin Professional Building , a group of medical condominiums linking key elements of medical staff with the Hospital. The Hospital also introduced an organization-wide computer system that year, acquired a full-body CT scanner, and joined the Voluntary Hospitals of America, which uses group buying power to acquire supplies at low rates.


780 Main Street
780 Main Street was purchased by South Shore
Hospital and became an outpatient surgical
and physicians officesin 1986.

In May 1986, Clark moved into a consulting role with the Hospital after 17 years at its helm, and in September 1986, David T. Hannan was appointed president and chief executive officer of both the Hospital and its parent Corporation.

Under Dr. Arthur J. Garceau's tenure as medical staff president in 1986, the Hospital's critical care program was highly ranked in a nationwide study comparing teaching and non-teaching facilities, receiving attention in the national press, including The New York Times .

To round out a busy year, The Friends made a significant contribution to the Hospital to help fund a courtesy coach service, providing patients with free transportation to and from the Hospital. A trauma unit within our emergency department was established, with the help of a three-year pledge of $125,000 from The Friends. And, after several years of negotiations with the state Department of Public Health, the Hospital gained approval for a 60-bed expansion.


The following year brought a new chairman, Edward F. McHugh, Jr., and a new medical staff president, Dr. Richard A. Alemian. Both would serve through 1988. In 1987, the Corporation affiliated with the VNA Foundation of the South Shore, the parent organization of South Shore Visiting Nurse & Health Services (SSVN&HS). SSVN&HS comprised the Visiting Nurse Association of the South Shore, Hospice of the South Shore, and Home and Health Resources of the South Shore. This affiliation formalized a long-standing working relationship between the region's largest health care provider and the largest home health provider, and ensured continuity of care from hospital to home following discharge. Two Hospital physicians in particular, Drs. James R. Everett and Albert Sullivan, both board-certified oncologists, worked closely with Hospice and helped nurture the relationship.

Another important event in 1987 was the groundbreaking for a new 60-bed addition, financed through the sale of $34 million in bonds.

As health care financing by the state and federal governments became more and more uncertain, the need for Hospital fundraising increased. The Corporation, under McHugh's guidance, recognized this in 1987 when it formed South Shore Health and Educational Foundation and appointed Amazeen as its chairman. The Foundation has since been a vital catalyst for obtaining much-needed capital for investment in new technology, growth, and program development.

Medical highlights in 1987 included the start of a Phase I cardiac rehabilitation program, and expansion of nuclear medicine and ultrasound departments. Cardiology, along with four other clinical areas — emergency medicine, maternity, oncology, and orthopedics — began to be actively developed as the Hospital's "centers of excellence." Toward that end, a new director of emergency services, Dr. Leonard Winer, was hired to enhance emergency services and to help recruit new emergency medical specialists.


In 1988, South Shore Hospital became the first in the Northeast to offer an on-site autologous blood donation program in association with the Red Cross.

The anesthesiology department began using epidural pain management to give patients virtually pain-free recovery from surgery. The program was actively promoted by Dr. James Wechsler, staff anesthesiologist. The Hospital added cardiac rehabilitation Phases II and III (on an outpatient basis), and Hospice of the South Shore became the area's first hospice program to be awarded Medicare certification. The Hospital also instituted a formal patient advocacy program to enhance patient/family satisfaction.


Emerson Building 1989
The Emerson Building in 1989 was named after Dr. George Emerson,
a hospital founder who had died a few years previously.

In 1989, the organization continued to prepare for the coming decade under the guidance of SSHEC Chairman Harry W. Healey, Jr.;, Medical Staff President Bartley G. Cilento, MD; David Hannan, and his administration team. A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) center opened at the end of 1988 as a joint venture between the Hospital and the Shields Health Care Group of Brockton, making advanced diagnostic imaging technology available locally. A new kidney stone lithotripter, a new technology for non-surgical removal of kidney stones, opened in June, the first of its kind in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Also in June, Dr. James M. Klick, staff anesthesiologist, brought distinction to the Hospital's critical care program by becoming one of the first inductees into the newly-formed American College of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Klick was one of only 156 physicians nationwide to be accepted into this organization. The honor called attention to the unique status of the Hospital's anesthesiologists, who also function as critical care specialists in the Hospital's critical care units.

South Shore Hospital 's critical care program received another boost in 1989 in the form of a $100,000 donation from The Friends, led by Friends President Bridget B. Blasser. The funds helped purchase new monitoring equipment for two of the Hospital's four critical care units.

The Planning Committee focused on four major areas of study: evolving medical practice standard (quality and technology issues); impact of an aging South Shore population; role of government in the financing and delivery of health care; and availability of key resources, such as physicians, personnel, and capital.

It recommended four action areas for the 1990s: community focus, the hospital-physician partnership, demonstrating value, and re-thinking the delivery of services.

Nurses move first patient to new Emerson Building
Nurse Nancy Schultz (left) and two unidentified
move the first patient into the
60-bed Emerson
Building in 1989.

The decade ended on a high note with the opening of a new 60-bed addition, three times as large as the original Weymouth Hospital . The ad hoc committee formed to name the building recommended that it be named for Dr. George E. Emerson — the Weymouth surgeon who began this story.



The new Emerson building featured two 30-bed patient care floors, dining room, renovated and expanded administrative offices, as well as a new gift shop. It is a tribute not only to Dr. Emerson, but also to the many members of the South Shore Hospital community who played a role in its development.


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