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Boca Raton Community Hospital gets new name

Boca Raton Community Hospital is becoming Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

The name change is meant to reflect the medical facility’s growth and top-rated cardiac, stroke, oncology, women’s health and emergency care programs, according to hospital spokesman Thomas Chakurda.

Friday’s switch from Community to Regional also coincides with the 80th birthday of Gloria Drummond. She was the driving force behind the establishment of the hospital.

“We feel there is no better way to launch the next iteration of the institution than on the birthday of the woman who turned great personal tragedy into such a magnificent community triumph,” said hospital President and CEO Jerry Fedele, in a news release.

In 1962, Gloria and Robert Drummond were living in Boca Raton when their two young children, Debra and James Randall, were poisoned, according to the release.

At the time, the nearest hospital was Bethesda in Boynton Beach. The children died before they could get medical attention.

The Drummonds started raising money to build a hospital in Boca Raton through the Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League, named in their children’s memory.

There were a lot of naysayers and skeptics at first, Drummond told the Sun Sentinel in a recent interview at her home.

“All the older people said, ‘We go back North for a hospital,’ ” she said.

Boca Raton Community Hospital opened just five years later in July 1967 at a cost of $3.5 million.

Now the hospital has a $73 million state-of-the-art cancer center, among other nationally ranked facilities, according to Becker’s Hospital Review and HealthGrades.

“The caliber of our service makes us more of a destination hospital than a community hospital, like for our cancer and cardiac programs,” Chakurda said.

The name change is not a simple matter.

It will trigger a “cascade of changes … signage; stationery. It will take awhile to complete,” he said. “Clearly there’s a cost to the changes but I’ll decline to put a number to it.”

A birthday celebration is planned for Gloria Drummond on Sept. 30 on the hospital campus, at 800 Meadows Road.

“I never think about it,” Drummond said, about all the hoopla and accolades. “All I wanted to do was build a hospital.”

People who want to attend her birthday party are asked to RSVP by calling 561-955-4329 and leaving their name and number.

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