Following in her Footsteps
When the founder of Indian River Hospital left to serve in World War II, a committed group of volunteers took charge of her hospital. This is the story of how that happened and how that has never changed.
“I was 2 and my brother Bob was 4 when Mother opened Indian River Hospital,” remembers 87-year-old Maxine Case, daughter of Garnett Lunsford Radin. “Originally the building was supposed to be a hotel. But this was back in 1932. The Land Bust of 1926 and the Great Depression had prevented it from ever opening.”
The hotel-turned-21-bed hospital was located on Old Dixie Highway and 10th Lane. “Bob and I lived in the hospital. Our room was right next to the autoclave room where they sterilized equipment.”
Case shared that her mom decided at age 14 that she wanted to be a nurse, as she took care of her father who was dying from cancer. At age 29, after receiving an inheritance from the sale of land in Nebraska, Radin opened the first hospital in Indian River County with $22,500 of her own money. The closest hospital at that time was 70 miles away on mostly unpaved roads.
“Conditions were pretty primitive but patients received lots of tender loving care,” says Case. “People had little money to pay their bills. Mother struggled to keep the hospital open.”