(copy courtesy of Dr. William Wood)
Dr. William Wood: “As North Carolina had developed an expanding sanatorium system by the early 1950s, anti-tuberculosis drugs were showing great curative promise. As costs and complexity of inpatient treatment led local communities to close and shift care to the NC Sanatorium System, these changes demanded an increased need for medical consultation in complicated cases. The availability of effective anti-tuberculosis drugs reduced infectiousness and transmission, thereby making surgical procedure more feasible in lungs and other organs. Advances in both surgery and anesthesia became a reality. “
“Dean Reece Berryhill, the State Health Department, leading citizens and physicians worked in concert with leaders in the State Sanatorium System to address these issues. Dr. Henry Stuart Willis, medical superintendent, and Mr. Ben Clark, general administrator, were already developing the concept of a consulting, teaching and research hospital in conjunction with the UNC Medical Center. Through the cooperative leadership of this group, the planning and building of Gravely virtually coincided with the expansion of the School of Medicine and the opening of N.C Memorial Hospital in 1952.
Gravely opened as a 100-bed hospital in the fall of 1953. The general medical superintendent’s office and administrators office was moved from NC Sanatorium in McCain, NC, to Gravely to facilitate the relationship with UNC. Internal Medicine and Thoracic Surgery were the initial medical services, while a pediatric service was added several years later.
In the early spring of 1954, Dr. Charles Burnett, chair of the department of internal medicine, asked Dr. Thomas Barnett to assume the leadership position, and, although there was no official pulmonary division, to develop a student and house staff residency program in pulmonary diseases.
Gravely Sanatorium had a very strong role in patient care, greatly expanding the teaching and training of young physicians. Leadership by Drs. Thomas Barnett, Richard M. Peters, Janet Fischer, William Cromartie, H. Stuart Willis, and Derwin Cooper created a learning atmosphere equal to that in the N.C. Memorial Hospital. This faculty was later joined by Dr. William Wood, Mario Batigelli, Irvin S. Perry and Peter Munt for varying lengths of time. “