In the 1920's
Brunswick County, a rural, economically depressed area, was served by two physicians, Dr. William Goley of Shallotte and Dr. J. Arthur Dosher of Southport. These doctors frequently traveled up to 200 miles a week by horse and buggy to treat patients.
Dr. Dosher had a surgical talent that few had ever seen, and before the dawn of antibiotics or advanced medical technology, he had been known for performing surgeries on his kitchen table and keeping the infirmed in the basement of his Southport home.
In 1924, the Brunswick County Health Department was created by Dr. R. E. Broadway, with the mission of establishing a public hospital. Dr. Broadway solicited the James B. Duke Endowment for funds. After initially met with objections, the Trustees of the Duke Endowment voted to grant $15,000 to Brunswick County for construction of a hospital, which would finance approximately half of the total cost of the project.
For the second half of the costs, Dr.'s Broadway and Dosher literally took their fundraising campaign to the streets, soliciting a $7,500 tax levy from the Brunswick County Commissioners and a $7,500 bond referendum from the City of Southport, in which the citizens voted in favor of 209 to 2. Dr. Dosher helped raise another $3,000 from the people of Southport and Brunswick County, and construction of Brunswick County Hospital, later renamed for its founder Dr. J. Arthur Dosher, began in 1929. The hospital opened to the public on June 2, 1930, with Dr.'s Dosher and Goley as the two members of the medical staff and five additional support personnel.
The population of Brunswick County is 143,000. The kitchen table operation is a relic of the past and has been replaced by robotic arm assisted surgeries, pressurized oxygen therapy in hyperbaric chambers, and 3-dimensional diagnostic imaging equipment that enables screenings and detection of disease in much earlier stages. While the staff of Dosher has increased in size to over 300 frontline and administrative team members, we show up every day committed to carry out the mission that our founding physicians fought so hard to claim, and to make a difference to every patient who comes through our doors.
We have entered the hospital's tenth decade of operation with gratitude and optimism, eager to serve, innovate, and provide the finest healthcare for our community.