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Hospital holds open house for Oncology Center

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

The Oncology Radiation Center at Henry Medical Center (HMC), welcomed the community and celebrated its official opening on Thursday.

The center is on the campus of the hospital, which is located at 1133 Eagle's Landing Parkway, in Stockbridge.

On hand for the open house, were government officials, representatives from the county, the cities of McDonough and Stockbridge, the Henry County School System, and the local business community.

The celebratory event featured live music by guitarist, Sean Shuffler, and drummer, Charles Toombs, as guests helped themselves to sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts.

Extending a warm greeting to the visitors were Charles Scott, president and chief executive officer of Henry Medical Center; Dr. J. Warner Ray, chief executive officer and chief medical officer for Radiation Oncology Services in Riverdale; and Dr. Joseph Blissit, a member of the Operating Board of Henry Medical Center, Inc.

The $8 million Oncology Radiation Center had an "unofficial" opening and began treating cancer patients, on July 12, said Michelle Nunnally, the hospital's public relations specialist.

On Thursday, more than 150 people streamed through the new 10,000-square-foot facility, peeking into the examination rooms, and getting a look at some of the medical equipment.

Henry County Commission Chairman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis, also in attendance, made a few brief remarks. "[It's a] great day in Henry County. I'm certainly proud to see the doors of this facility open," she said. "It's going to be such a huge benefit to the citizens of this community, and I'm really thankful for the leadership and the vision of Henry Medical Center, to continue to add quality services [for] the residents of this county. Congratulations, it's a wonderful facility."

The open house also was an opportunity for business people to network, said Nunnally. "Tonight's open house is in conjunction with the [Henry County Chamber of Commerce] Business After Hours event, that takes place once a month," she said. "We have the business community, we have the medical community, we have anyone in Henry County who needed to see a new business, at the facility.

"We thought this was a great one for everybody to know about," she said. "Tonight's turnout is really impressive."

The open house provided a firsthand look at a medical facility that is expected to fill an important health-related need, according to Dr. J. Warner Ray, of Radiation Oncology Services in Riverdale.

"It's a new service, and a new facility, for residents of Henry County and surrounding counties, who need radiation therapy as part of their treatment program for cancer," he said, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"Henry County has a population of over 200,000, and it's estimated that on a yearly basis, over 1,000 new patients with cancer are diagnosed in Henry County.

"Nationwide, 60 percent of all patients diagnosed with cancer require radiation therapy services," he added. "This facility alone has an estimated need for over 600 new patients per year. That's a large patient population for our radiation center."