Senate recognizes SGMC virus response

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Jul. 21—VALDOSTA — State Sen. Russ Goodman, District 8, paid a visit to South Georgia Medical Center Wednesday to commend the hospital for its work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodman praised Ronald Dean, SGMC president and CEO, as well as SGMC staff members for their leadership, support of South Georgia residents and giving him guidance on how to navigate the COVID-19 response.

"I'm a farmer, as you all know; my expertise is not in the field of health care. So, I have to rely on people to guide me, and Mr. Ronnie, you are the number one person that I go to. I'll never forget, there was a vote that we had in the Senate, and it was a tough vote for me. I really struggled with it; every vote I had was the toughest vote," he said.

"I prayed about it; Mr. Ronnie called me. I'll never forget it; I said 'Mr. Ronnie, I'm going to be honest. I'm just really having a hard time with this.' I said that I really don't know what the right thing to do is. And he told me that time, 'Russ, whatever you decide, I'm with you.' That meant a lot to me."

Adopted March 25, Senate Resolution 779, signed by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Butch Miller, president pro tempore, Secretary of Senate David Cook and Goodman, reads:

"Recognizing and commending South Georgia Medical Center; and for other purposes. ... It is important to recognize the essential role South Georgia Medical Center, its campuses, facilities, nurses, physicians, and staff play in the delivery of quality health care, the South Georgia economy, and the communities that they serve."

"Given that SGMC has more than 740,000 patient encounters, performs more than 20,000 surgeries, delivers 2,000 babies, and has more than 100,000 emergency room visits annually, and has recruited 20 new physicians to South Georgia ... it is abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments of this extraordinary organization be appropriately recognized."

Dean thanked Goodman for being a listening ear for South Georgia residents and for making them a priority.

"He's been a ... I say blessing. We had been talking to him every day about things that matter to South Georgians and it's not just about health care. His heart is in the right spot," he said.