Mendenhall is new hospital's first patient
As appeared in the July 30, 2008 edition of The Chatham News
When Chatham Hospital opened the doors to its new facility this week, Frances Mendenhall was the first patient through them. Mendenhall, who has been in the hospital since Sunday, was transported by ambulance from the old hospital at 7 a.m. Monday, July 28. She was one of nine patients to make the approximately four-mile journey to the new hospital.
In an interview Monday morning, Mendenhall said she finds her place in Chatham Hospital's history to be "shocking, exciting and surprising."
"I left the old hospital around 7 a.m. this morning," she said Monday. "While I was on my way here, the EMTs joked about all the prizes I was going to win, since I was the first patient." Mendenhall may not have won any prizes but has experienced a moment of celebrity since becoming the new hospital's first patient. On Sunday evening, hospital staff approached her to see if she would be willing to be interviewed following her transfer to the new location.
"I had to sign a release saying I was willing to be photographed," she said. Mendenhall added she was excited about being moved to the new facility, since she had never visited the hospital's new location. "I had only seen pictures of the new building in the newspaper, so I was excited about getting to see it," she said. "The new facility is beautiful. My experience here has been a pleasant one."
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The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care. UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals, which is ranked among the top 50 in the nation in six specialties by U.S. News & World Report and ranked one of the country's 41 best on the Leapfrog 2007 Top Hospitals list; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; community practices; home health and hospice services in seven central North Carolina counties; and Rex Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County.