Only surviving original employee is proud of hospital


Gwen Hudgins 3

 Calvin Gwen Hudgins went to work at the Boaz-Albertville Hospital in 1956 when it was only a few weeks old. Back then, he recalls, you hired on to do whatever needed doing. When a car drove up carrying a woman who had just given birth, Hudgins was asked to tote the woman inside to a bed while a nurse held the still-attached baby.

“Then you did what you had to do,” says Hudgins, 87, believed to be the hospital’s only surviving original employee. “I mopped floors, I waited on patients and I did light maintenance.”

Today’s Marshall South, called ‘B&A’ then by most people, opened with 35 beds and 35 employees. Hudgins remembers there was nothing disposable – glass thermometers had mercury and had to be sanitized and reused. There were few antibiotics available. Highway 431 was two lanes. Where the lobby sits now was a yard.

“I’ve seen a lot of things happen,” says Hudgins, who worked 26 years. When he retired in 1983, the B&A News and Views newsletter called him “one of the few remaining employees who ‘opened’ the B&A Hospital in 1956.”

Hudgins was 27 years old when he walked into the hospital to ask for a job. A nurse picked up the phone and called the administrator at home. He said to tell the applicant to come on over to the house. Hudgins did, and Administrator Paul Hodges told him he needed a floater. He accepted and began doing a little bit of everything at B&A. Once he had to run down a patient who wandered away still wearing his hospital gown.

No degree or college training was required, says Hudgins, who didn’t finish high school. He was 17 when his mother died, leaving him to stay home and take care of his baby sisters while his dad worked.

After floating for a few years, Hudgins moved into the maintenance department. Later he worked in purchasing and did most of the buying for the hospital. He credited his knack for recalling numbers – he can still recite product numbers from back then – with his success in that position. There were 2,200 supply items in inventory then. Hudgins remembers nurses calling him during the night while they were trying to find something in the storeroom.

“I’d say, ‘Go down the aisle about halfway and look on your left.’ They’d find it right there.”

Hudgins’ final position was in the x-ray department where he learned to do chest x-rays. He bypassed the computer age, which started when he was about two years away from retirement.

Hudgins’ recalls one record-keeping snafu that happened at the brand-new hospital, which would never be allowed today. When an employee was hired, they were put on the payroll. There were no forms to fill out. That changed after the Joint Commission visited the hospital and asked to look at employment records. Employees had to fill out applications and backdate them, he says.

Hudgins is very proud of the progress made by the hospital since 1956. There was no ambulance service back then. Anyone who needed to go to the hospital was taken by car. If there was no car to get them there, the local funeral home was called and would transport patients – dead or alive. There were few telephones, and it was a long distance call from Boaz to Guntersville.

“We got by,” says Hudgins.

There were no emergency room doctors then either, he says. When a doctor was needed, he was called. There was a check-in light at the back of the hospital to show if the doctor was in. One RN worked per shift. Doctors would drive to peoples’ houses to deliver babies. If the baby was sick, the doctor would drive the baby to the hospital in his own car.

“You look back and then you look at what it is now and it makes you proud,” he says. “I’m proud of this hospital myself. I worked hard and I’m glad to see it grow.”

Hudgins lives near the hospital in the Beulah Community. After retirement, he worked for two medical supply stores until he was 85. His daughter, Kay Maddox, is office manager for TherapyPlus North and South. He was proud to attend the 50th anniversary celebration for Marshall South nine years ago and he plans to be present for the 60th next April.

“The hospital has been good to me,” he says. “I’ve been blessed.”

Rose Myers is a journalist working for Marshall Medical Centers.

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Mother’s Day marks time to nurture your health


mothers day

Mother’s Day has always been a time to tell the Moms in your life how important they are. Now Mother’s Day can serve an additional role – it kicks off National Women’s Health Week and National Women’s Screening Day, reminding females that their health is also very important to their loved ones.

National Women’s Health Week was set up 16 years ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health. It starts on Mother’s Day, May 10, and is celebrated through May 16.

Here are some simple steps any woman can take to improve her health:

National Women’s Checkup Day is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The 13th annual National Women’s Checkup Day is Monday, May 11. It’s a day when women are encouraged to schedule their annual well-woman visit.

A well-woman visit is a checkup and is a good opportunity to:

  • Discuss your family history, family planning, and personal habits, such as alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Get or schedule necessary tests, such as screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and colorectal cancer.
  • Set health goals, such as being active and maintaining a healthy weight. A well-woman visit helps you get the preventive care you need, including screenings. Screenings can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. Screenings can also identify other problems and help lower your risk for many conditions, such as heart disease. During your well-woman visit, you can receive or schedule many screenings free of charge.Here is a handy checklist of the annual health screenings you should be getting and when you should get them. Clip it out and keep it handy, or create a spreadsheet to keep a health record.
  • Annual Screenings Checklist for Women
  • Schedule your well-woman visit every year. It’s now considered a preventive service and must be covered by most health plans at no cost to you. And if your doctor or nurse says you need more than one well-woman visit in a year, the additional visits are also covered.
  • Blood Pressure Screening

Why: If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke.

When: Beginning at age 18, annually; more often, if high; every two years, if normal.

  • Breast Self-Exam

Why: It’s important to check for abnormalities in your breasts and report them to

your doctor.

When: Beginning at age 20, monthly.


  • Cholesterol Screening

Why: Abnormal cholesterol levels such as high LDL (bad) or low HDL (good) are a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

When: Beginning at age 20; at least every five years, if normal.

  • Clinical Breast Exam

Why: Clinical Breast Exams are conducted by a medical professional in addition to mammograms to check women for any signs of breast cancer.

When: Beginning at age 20, every three years; annually after age 40.

  • Fasting Blood Glucose Test
  1. Why: If left untreated, high blood glucose or “blood sugar” can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.

When: Annually

  • Mammogram

Why: Mammograms are performed to screen healthy women for

signs of breast cancer.

When: Baseline mammogram between ages 35-40; annually after that.

  • Pap Smear

Why: Pap smear is one of the best tools to detect cervical cancer at its earliest stages.

When: Annually beginning at age 18 or as soon as sexually active.


  • Bone Density Test

      Why: A bone density test is one of the most accurate ways to assess

your bone health and can help confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis.

When: Recommended for postmenopausal women under age 65; all women after age 65; sooner if at increased risk.

  • Skin Cancer Screening

Why: Skin cancer usually starts out as a precancerous lesion—changes

in the skin that are not cancer, but could become cancer over time.

When: Perform a self-exam on a monthly basis; clinical screening every three years (adults age 20-39); annually after age 40.


  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

Why: Levels outside of the normal range can indicate a problem with the thyroid gland that needs further testing.

When: Beginning at age 35; every few years after that based on your doctor’s discretion.

  • Colorectal Cancer Screening

Why: By undergoing a routine colonoscopy, benign growths

in the colon known as polyps can be easily removed. If left inside the colon, these polyps have the potential to develop into cancer.

When: Colonoscopy—Beginning at age 50, every 10 years; more frequently if you have a family history.

Sometimes the hardest part of finding the right doctor is knowing where to start. Here are some tips on finding the right physician and on being a better patient:

  • Find Dr. Right – Choose a primary care physician you’re comfortable with and have confidence in. Ask about the office hours, the doctor’s treatment philosophy and who will care for you when your doctor is unavailable.
  • Be preparedEven the best doctors are not mind readers so tell them everything about your health. Be honest about your personal and family medical history. If you are experiencing symptoms, tell your doctor everything about them.
  • Ask questions. Write down your questions beforehand. When your doctor tells you something you don’t understand, ask questions. Start by repeating back in your own words what your doctor tells you.
  • Seek a second opinion. If you are uncomfortable with a diagnosis or treatment plan, get a second opinion. And don’t worry about offending your doctor. A good physician will want you to be comfortable with your diagnosis.

Visit Marshall Medical Center’s website at for more information.

Rose Myers is a journalist working for Marshall Medical Center’s marketing department.

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See your medical information on Marshall Medical’s Patient Portal

Tony Sorcic - patient portal

Tony Sorcic is the kind of guy who likes to stay up on the latest things. He keeps up with current events. He’s very active in his church. And he stays in touch with friends.

So when Sorcic heard that Marshall Medical Centers was offering a new service that would allow patients to see a portion of their medical record on their home computer, he checked into it.  After he was signed up for the Patient Portal through the Health Information department at Marshall North, the 77-year-old was impressed.

“That’s neat,” he said when he saw the screen listing his clinical information back to 2011. “It’s quick and very easy.”

What is a Patient Portal?

A Patient Portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to their personal health information. It can be used anywhere with an Internet connection using a web browser on your home computer, Smartphone or tablet device.

What information can I find in the Patient Portal?

The information on the portal is from Marshall Medical Centers’ electronic health record. Using a secure username and password, patients can pay their bills online and view a summary of their health records.

“You can see your lab results, pay your bill online…Those are things you can do from the comfort of your home,” said Jeff Stewart of MMC’s Information Technology Department. “You can see how your labs have improved over time.”

How do you get signed up?

Anyone who has been a patient at Marshall North or South or has been there for testing has records on file and can obtain access to the Patient Portal. Simply stop by either of the two hospitals and ask to be directed to the Health Information Management department. Staff there will ask you to sign a consent form, present a form of identification, and then login information will be given to you. If you need help getting started, a staff member will assist you.

Where is the portal?

When you visit Marshall Medical’s website at, the home page has a Patient Portal button. When you click it, a screen pops up for login and password then takes you inside the portal.  You will be asked to enter your name, address, date of birth and email address, followed by a series of security questions.

What is on the portal?

The portal does not contain the complete medical record. It lists medications, procedures and lab results, such as cholesterol levels from a blood test. It does not include nurses’ notes or doctors’ notes, but it does contain diagnoses.

Patients also may view outstanding balances and make payments using VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Payments made on the portal are immediately reflected on your account.

Sorcic said he likes having the ability to pay hospital bills online, just as he does other bills.

Keeping up with his medical information is very important to Sorcic, who retired in 1995 due to heart issues and recently battled pneumonia. The Sorcics were one of a group of families who moved to Arab from Wisconsin in the early 1970s to work at Cutler-Hammer. His wife Beverly, who passed away just over a year ago, volunteered at the old Arab Hospital. She was a candy striper and helped set up the gift shop when Marshall North was built before being hired to work in purchasing. They have three children and five grandsons in the Arab area.

Sorcic first encountered a patient portal earlier this year during an appointment with his cardiologist in Birmingham. He signed up for that one and found it interesting. Then, after an appointment at Marshall Pulmonary Associates, he learned that office also has a portal, so he signed up for it too. He hopes to see all medical records available in one site eventually for convenience. Stewart said with the increased interest of people wanting access to information online, it’s just a matter of time. Thousands of people who signed up while hospitalized already are on Marshall Medical’s portal, he said.

“More and more people are using it,” Stewart said.

Sorcic said his only concern is privacy so that no one else can get access to his medical records. Stewart assured him that extensive security measures have been built into the portal.

“I will definitely use it,” Sorcic said. “I was very impressed with what was there. It’s very informative. I’m confident enough to use it.”


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April Member of the Month: Robin Tipton

Member of the month-April 2015 Robin

Do you ever feel like life is a giant jigsaw puzzle? Sometimes we can search for the right piece of the puzzle for what seems like an eternity. When you finally find the right piece you still have to turn it the right way to make it fit. Finding the right fit is very important in life no matter what you are doing. The right fit is highly important whether you are talking about clothing, shoes, light bulbs, or hardware. Exercise is the same way. You have to find what fits your interests and body if you want to see the best results. In addition to that, if you choose a type of exercise that doesn’t fit you will never stick with it. Our member of the month for April 2015 has found a great fit with her exercise choice and is really getting great results. On behalf of Therapy plus Fitness, I would like to congratulate Robin Tipton for earning member of the month.
Robin found that the best exercise fit for her is swimming. She usually swims 4-5 miles per week by alternating breast stroke, back stroke, and freestyle. It usually takes her between 35-40 minutes to swim a mile. When Robin started she could only swim ½ mile and it took almost an hour. She says that she loves to swim because it works her out and relaxes her at the same time.
Robin decided to join Therapy plus Fitness to improve her overall health and to lose weight. The convenience of our location is an added bonus for her since she works at Marshall Medical Centers. Her exercise recommendation to others is to start small with whatever you like and build on that strength.
Robin said that she had a goal of losing 50 pounds when she started. Currently she is half way there with a weight loss of 25 pounds. She also plans to incorporate walking 1-2 miles a week into her workout routine. Robin also made the comment that “the staff at Therapy plus Fitness is wonderful!” “They are always friendly and very supportive.” “Philip Gregg, Jack Morris, and Shelia Martinez all do a wonderful job.” On behalf of my co-workers, Thank you Robin for the kind words. It is the wonderful members such as yourself that make this such a wonderful place to workout. Congratulations Robin on all your accomplishments to this point and best of luck on all your future endeavors.

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April Member of the Month: Drusilla Buckley

Member of the month-April 2015

Her story: I was born with a defective heart valve. In February 2013, my aortic valve was replaced with a porcine valve. As a result of the surgery it was recommended that I do physical therapy. Since then I have regularly attended Therapy Plus Fitness. I attribute that to the friendly and encouraging atmosphere. In September 2014, I joined Weight Watchers. The regular exercise plus the Power Food diet has resulted in a significant weight loss. A couple of months later (November 2014), I found out I had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Thanks to the two years of working out at Therapy Plus, I bounced back quickly. Even the surgeon commented on how strong I was. Praise the Lord, I did not need neither chemo or radiation treatments. Since the surgeon limited my use of specific gym machines, I joined the Stretch and Balance class the last of February 2015. Due to the reconstructive surgery/process, my breast are very tight and uncomfortable. The class has helped in this area.

Workout routine: 5 days a week cardio and 3 days of stretch and balance

Medical benefits: No longer take blood pressure medicine and my blood work results are normal to optimal.

Motivation: My 88 year old father is my inspiration. He is still active and very limber.
My desire is to be healthy, limber and active. I also want to increase my brain health through exercise.

Reach healthy and maintainable weight.
Daily goal: 10,000 steps per day
Be able to sit on the floor going from the standing position to the sitting position and reversing the process without the use of my arms.

Comments: The following ladies have cheerfully answered my questions and willingly given me much needed advice. THANKS!
I would like to especially praise and thank Julie, Elizabeth, and Diane for their support and encouragement during my physical therapy following my aortic valve surgery.
Kudos to Diane and Regina for their encouragement and aid in identifying machines that I can or specifically cannot use following my breast surgery.
Kathy (Stretch & Balance Class) has been an inspiration and an excellent instructor.

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10 tips for marathon training


Running a marathon can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a runner’s life. With race season almost upon us, it’s important to train properly. Here are 10 training tips that will help you reach your goal.

Remember: Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program!


1. Have fun

Love your running! Any plan you follow should be sustainable for both your short-term goals and long-term health benefits. If you are overly ambitious and try more than you can handle, you may get injured or mentally burned out. Stay with what you can handle and enjoy it.


2. Stay healthy

Don’t let small things turn into big things. It is important to stay healthy so you can run most days. Keep an eye on your shoes; be careful in bad weather, work on improving running form, stretch to improve flexibility, don’t run with an injury, don’t do what you are not ready for. Begin each day by drinking water. It is an investment in your health. Another tip for endurance athletes is to get full blood work, including iron levels, at your annual physical. Get a hard copy for your records. As an endurance athlete, you don’t want your iron levels to be too low. Consult your doctor.


3. Get a coach

Find someone who you trust. Look at where you are, what your goals are, and how can you get from here to there. A coach can also help you identify and minimize risk factors in your training and improve strength, flexibility and running form.


4. Be consistent

Train with consistency and at a pace that is “conversational.” It is true what Coach Bill Squires and others have said; putting miles in is “Money in the Bank.” Enjoy the outdoors. Morning runs are a great way to begin the day.


5. Gradually build miles

Over time, gradually increase weekly mileage (or minutes). Famous coach Arthur Lydiard once said: “The bigger the base, the higher the peak.”

If you want to complete a marathon, begin training as many weeks in advance as possible. This helps you to safely build your aerobic base. Hopefully, you make running an important part of your healthy lifestyle ‒ there are tons of benefits to this! The rule of thumb many use for building miles is increasing about 10% per week. Build safely at a rate that you determine with your coach.


6. Develop a long run

For many, this is the most important run of the week. If your goal is to complete a marathon, developing a long run is key. This is where you learn pacing, hydrating and fueling. To complete a marathon, it would be great to get in at least one 20-miler, maybe more. We are trying to make the marathon just another long run, so don’t be intimidated by the distance. This should be a run to enjoy. Try to find others to do long runs with at your pace.


7. Even and negative split running

Every run should be even or negative split. This means that you go out easy and gradually get faster every run.

● Even split running means the second half is the same time as the first half.

● Negative split running means the second half is faster than the first half.

If your objective is to complete a marathon (as opposed to racing a marathon) you don’t need to run faster than marathon goal pace very often, if at all. The important thing is to discover the pace you can hold for 26.2 miles and practice that, memorize it, and execute it on race day. The marathon should be simply executing another long run. A couple good methods to determine marathon pace are:

● Keep your heart rate under 150 on most runs. If your heart rate is going up, you are probably running too fast. This is very important on long runs.

● What was your pace on a 20-mile run? Did you run an even or negative split?


8. Hydrating and fueling

Try to have as few surprises as possible on marathon day. Whichever marathon you are running, find out what they are giving out for energy drinks, and practice taking it. There is a lot of info available on hydrating/fueling strategies. It is hard to stay hydrated, so practice hydrating on the run to find out what you can handle. Drink water at every water stop.

In regards to fueling, it is critical to go out easy in the marathon so you can burn fat early and save glycogen. This is one reason to practice even/negative split running every day. You will also want to practice fueling, particularly on the long run, to find out what you can handle. Hitting the wall at mile 20 usually means running out of fuel, so part of your practice will be to take in some fuel to get from mile 20 to mile 26.2. Find out what will be given out at the marathon, and practice fueling with it. Plan to take in a few hundred calories of fuel during the race. You will burn fat and glycogen stores for much of the race.


9. Build base, learn pace, execute race

Marathon training is simply preparing your body to run 26.2 miles.

● Build base: The foundation to complete 26.2 miles

● Learn pace: Discover, practice, and perfect even and negative split marathon running. Don’t go out faster than the pace for your best long run.

● Execute race: It is very easy to go out way too hard in a marathon and blow up. Your training will instill the confidence and discipline to execute your marathon race.


10. Taper

In the last couple weeks before the marathon, you should be gradually decreasing miles, decreasing the long run, and getting extra rest and recovery. You might cut by 30%-50% per week for the two weeks leading up to the marathon. Discuss the taper with your coach. Improvement is not possible without recovery, so embrace this time to get the extra recovery. That doesn’t mean you should take two weeks off. If you are healthy, you should still run most days. One good way to monitor recovery year-round is to take your resting heart rate periodically. If you see a trend of elevated heart rate, take extra rest.

Enjoy your training, stay healthy, and consult your coach along the way. You will reach your goal if you stick to your training plan and stay motivated.

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Marshall Medical Centers on 100 SafeCare Hospitals list


Marshall Medical Centers has earned a place on the list of “100 SafeCare” hospitals in the country delivering the finest level of care.

MMC was recognized for healthcare quality in the group of hospitals between 100-400 beds for the “best processes of care, best outcomes of care and best efficacy of care.”

“If all U.S. hospitals attained the 100 SafeCare Hospitals level, there would be improvement in the more than 400,000 hospital deaths and close to 5.1 million preventable complications that occur each year,” stated the group in announcing the achievement.

The SafeCare Group analyzed hospital data to make the 2014-15 ratings. Areas looked at included:

  • Lowest mortality rates
  • Lowest readmissions
  • Lowest complication rates in medical and surgical care
  • Lowest in-hospital medical and surgical infection rates
  • Highest medical and surgical processes of care
  • Highest patient satisfaction scores

Only the 100 hospitals between 100-400 beds with the highest scores made the 100 SafeCare Hospitals list, according to the announcement.

“This distinction is one that Marshall Medical receives with pride because it was borne out of hard work,” said Gary Gore, CEO of Marshall Medical Centers. “Our staffs take very seriously the extensive requirements that make up the standard of quality patient care. They deserve national recognition like this.”

The SafeCare Group was founded in 2010 to help hospitals excel in the areas of patient safety, quality and efficiency. The SafeCare Group software helps hospitals comply with regulatory standards. It has published a 12-point surgical checklist as well as several checklists to avoid hospital falls and bedsores.

To see the complete list click on the link shown below:



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