Mattapoisett residents pitch in to improve local healthcare

Sep 24

Southcoast Health has big plans for the future.

The healthcare company is the parent company of Tobey Hospital in Wareham, St. Luke's Memorial in New Bedford, and Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. Southcoast is always looking to improve what it can offer, and as of September 23, their pediatric division is at least $87,000 ahead.

The neat sum was raised as part of a pediatric fundraiser for Southcoast Health, hosted by Jill and George Fearons of Mattapoisett. The Fearons' son, Jack, spent time in Boston Children's Hospital with a brain condition. "We were lucky that we could drive to Boston every day, we were lucky that we could afford a hotel room to sleep in a real bed, we were lucky that we had friends come and keep us company," George Fearons said in a short speech. "That isn't possible for everyone. We want to help people get the best of care close to home. Now we know that if there's another emergency, we don't have to go so far."

Jill Fearons explained that she and her husband are adamant in the belief of giving back. "They've done so much for us," she said.

The guest list for the fundraiser, she said, topped 450 people. The Fearons held an initial fundraiser last year where 200 people attended. "The community has been so incredibly supportive," Jill said enthusiastically.  Her fundraising goal for the event was $150,000. By 8:15, before a raffle and silent auction had even occurred, the event's total fundraising amount had come to $87,000.

Brian Sard, the Medical Director of Pediatric Services at Southcoast Health, thanked the Fearons for their efforts. In a speech, he mentioned the case of a five-year-old girl, hit by a taxi in her driveway and rushed to the hospital with multiple crush injuries. "She walked out of the hospital today," he reported to applause, explaining that it was due to fundraising and medical advances that her story was a success.

"Thanks to help like this, I can have a doctor in Boston study x-rays in real time, as the x-ray is occurring," he explained. "We can send a doctor something at home whereas before we would have had to call him to come in. The response time is faster and we have so much more access to other specialist input."

Sard added that the event pushed one important message. "People shouldn't have to travel far to get good medical care," he said. "This event is helping to spread the word." He noted that since he has been the head of the pediatric division, attendance at Southcoast hospitals has risen from 12,000 patients per year to 18,000. "People are starting to know where they can get good care."