You Inspire The Best in Us.

With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.

  • One Pint at a Time
  • Dr. Caetie Rabon: Champion for Rural Health Care
  • A Heart for Nursing
  • Transformation at the Coast
  • In Charge and In Control
  • Bridging the Gap for Local Surgical Care
  • A People-First Approach to Building the Workforce
  • McLeodMyChart
  • An Unexpected Journey
  • Doubling Down on Diabetes
  • Strength on the Sidelines
  • Keeping Up with the Joneses
  • The Many Faces of McLeod Heroes
  • A Servant’s Heart
  • McLeod Health: An Epic Journey
  • Accident Becomes a Blessing in Disguise
  • Partners in Caring
  • Quality Care Close to Home
  • Transforming Health Care
    in the Midlands
  • Accessing Health Care at Work
  • A Bright Future Ahead
  • A New Year and New Lease on Life
  • Free From the Fire
  • Exceeding Expectations
  • Connecting Students with
    Care at School
  • Able to Breathe Again
  • Expanding Access to Specialty Care
  • A Model for Clinical Education
  • Superlative Care in a Rural Setting
  • Repairing Bodies One Patient at a Time
  • Committed to Care Everywhere
  • Enhanced Access to Health Information
  • Lending a Helping Hand
  • The Miracle of Life Restored
  • In Excellent Hands when Seconds Count
  • Breathing New Life
  • A Dose of Vitamin Sea
  • McLeod TeleHealth: Bringing Specialized Care To Rural Areas
  • A Residency Program With A Passion To Care
  • Transforming Lives With A Team Approach
  • How Your Health Impacts Your Job
  • Committed To Safety And Quality
  • Enhancing Men’s Health
  • Enhancing the Patient’s Experience
  • More Than Bricks & Mortar
  • Thankful for the Vision
  • A Mission Dedicated to Healing & Access
  • Access Excellence
  • A Broader Scope
  • In Good Hands
  • Exceptional Surgical Abilities Coupled with Enhanced Technology
  • We turned a One-Pound Bundle into Joy
  • Fred Kristensen
    We gave him the Strength to breathe deep and Soar High
  • The Miracle of Family
  • A Pelvic Health Story – Poonkulali Suresh
    Pelvic Health
  • Marie Wolfe
    An Unexpected Blessing
  • Eddie and Amy Powers
    A Mother's Gift
  • Bryana Hipkins
    Blessed Through Giving

Transformation at the Coast

By Kelly Hughes

McLeod Health has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the residents in Horry, Brunswick and Columbus counties since 2012. That dedication remains and is evident in the transformative plans McLeod Health has for the coastal region.

Horry County grew by more than 29 percent from 2020 to 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Myrtle Beach/Conway/North Myrtle Beach area was also identified as the third fastestgrowing metropolitan area in the country during that same time.

By 2030, Horry County is expected to surpass Charleston County and top more than 500,000 residents, making it the second most populated and largest county in South Carolina. This explosive growth is attributed to the quality of life, low taxes and mild climate found along the Grand Strand.

In addition to houses and roads comes an increased demand for quality healthcare services. Retirees need primary care physicians and specialists to help manage their health during the golden years.

Additional inpatient beds and services will be needed to provide treatment to patients experiencing illness or injury.

“The complexity and cost of healthcare requires our team to be strategic in determining which services to offer at each of our campuses,” said Donna Isgett, President and CEO of McLeod Health. “We will never be able to do open-heart procedures at every McLeod Health campus because it would not provide the best outcomes for our patients. However, being part of a system means our patients have greater access to the care they need.”


McLeod Health Carolina Forest

In five short years, an undeveloped 42-acre tract of land has become a burgeoning medical campus in the heart of the Carolina Forest community. Anchoring the campus is a freestanding emergency department that treats almost 17,000 patients a year.

Outpatient diagnostic testing offers lab tests and radiology exams such as such as X-rays, CT scans or MRI. Physical, occupational and speech therapy services are available for both pediatric and adult patients.

More than 12 primary care providers see patients ages two and older, treating a wide range of illnesses while offering screenings and general wellness. Specialty care has expanded, and new physicians continue to be recruited to meet the increasing needs.

More than 11 medical specialties including Cardiology, Orthopedics, Vascular Care and Gastroenterology have clinics on the Carolina Forest campus.

In October, McLeod Health broke ground on the newest addition to the campus – an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). This ASC will extend the reach of our surgical services for scheduled, same-day procedures. Patients needing a colonoscopy or hip replacement will undergo their procedures in an outpatient setting and go home the same day.

McLeod Health plans to break ground on a new hospital at the McLeod Health Carolina Forest Campus in April 2024.

“We have received a Certificate of Need from the State, as required, demonstrating the need for a hospital in this location,” said Monica Vehige, CEO of McLeod Health Seacoast.

“Pending permitting, the construction of this investment in the community’s health will take approximately 24 months,” said Vehige.

“Over the past year, more than 110,000 patient visits have occurred at our Carolina Forest Campus.

These are patients who have chosen McLeod Health for their healthcare, and we owe it to them to have a convenient choice for inpatient care.”

The hospital will be a four-story building with 48 beds and four operating suites. This $56 million investment in the community will be 82,613 square feet.

“McLeod Health has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to our mission of improving the overall health and wellbeing of people living in the communities we serve,” said Scott Montgomery, CEO of McLeod Health Carolina Forest. “We were the first to build a major medical campus in Carolina Forest, the first to bring a free-standing emergency department to Carolina Forest, and we will be the first to build a hospital in response to our residents.”


McLeod Health Seascoast

What was once the outpatient campus of McLeod Health Loris has become a major acute care hospital just 20 miles east on Highway 9 in Little River. Over the past five years, McLeod Health Seacoast has experienced 183% growth of its average daily census. With the rapid growth on the north end of the county, it has expanded from a 50- bed inpatient hospital to 155 beds and the need for more continues.

Orthopedics has been a main service since the opening of the hospital. From high school athletes to active seniors looking to maintain their healthy lifestyle, the team of specialists at McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast treat patients at their outpatient clinics in Little River and Carolina Forest. After conservative treatment options are no longer an option, the skilled team of orthopedic surgeons perform surgeries such as joint replacement, arthroscopy, carpal tunnel and spine surgeries at McLeod Health Seacoast.

In 2022, the joint surgeons were the first in Horry County to begin performing robotically-assisted surgeries on the hip and knees. In 2023, Dr. Eric Nabors joined the team as their first orthopedic spine surgeon with more than 20 years of experience.

“Less than 10 years ago, Dr. Lukowski and I were the orthopedics team at the coast,” said Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Eric Heimberger. “Today, we have more than 15 physicians and advanced practice providers delivering world-class orthopedic care here in Horry County. And together with our inland partners we have more than 40 providers, making us the largest orthopedic provider in our region.”

Cardiology is another main service of McLeod Health Seacoast since its opening in 2011. Prior to 2023, diagnostic heart catheterizations were performed. However, in April 2023 Dr. Joseph Marmora and Dr. Peter Duffy joined McLeod Cardiology Associates and performed the first interventional cardiology procedures at the coast. Patients no

longer have to be transferred to receive immediate treatment for acute heart attacks.

“The rapid growth of our heart program in just nine short months is a testament to the need for additional healthcare

services in this part of Horry County,” said Dr. Joseph Marmora. “We are saving lives of those who would have had to travel further or gone without care previously. This is just the beginning for heart care along the Grand Strand.”

On July 17, 2023, McLeod Health broke ground on the McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research at Seacoast. This center is being designed to prioritize convenience for patients and their families by consolidating the major cancer treatments under one roof. Medical oncology, infusion and chemotherapy services along with radiation oncology will be in one location making this center the first comprehensive treatment center in Horry County.

“Cancer has affected everyone either directly or indirectly at some point,” said Monica Vehige, CEO of McLeod Health Seacoast. “We want to make the burden of a cancer diagnosis easier for patients.”


McLeod Health Loris

McLeod Health Loris has been the cornerstone of healthcare for McLeod Health in Horry County. When the doors opened in 1950, no one could have envisioned the rich future that would lie ahead. Nearly 75 years later, McLeod Health Loris treats more than 27,000 patients annually in the Emergency Department.

In October 2022, the doors opened on a new medical office building to meet the growing demand for urology services.

Within seven months, a new operating room was unveiled in response to the growth of the Dialysis Access Center (DAC) led by Vascular Surgeon Dr. David Bjerken.

“McLeod Health Loris is centrally located and convenient for my kidney patients who need lifesaving care in order to continue their dialysis treatments,” said Dr. Bjerken.

“We see patients from Lumberton, North Carolina to Georgetown, South Carolina who make the drive to Loris for treatment.”

This fall, the DAC team welcomed a new surgeon, Dr. Michael Mitchell, to the team. The addition of this outstanding physician will continue to advance the work of the DAC and solidify McLeod Health as a leader in Dialysis Access throughout the nation.

“We remain committed to delivering the acute care services our patients need,” said Scott Montgomery, CEO of McLeod Health Loris. “Together with our other campuses in Horry County, we are creating a healthcare continuum to ensure convenient access and quality care.”