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The new Hospital, that replaces ECM, is actually a much-needed improvement and asset for the area.  I wish I hadn't had a reason to visit the Hospital but given my wife's test and procedures we have been there far more than I care to have been but given that we have had opportunity to go there I will say it's a vast improvement over ECM and I'm glad to have the option to go there.

It's not as fancy or luxurious as say Madison's new hospital but you can tell that it was well thought out and a vast improvement in so many areas over ECM.   Gone is the paid parking deck and replacing it is actually complimentary Valet parking and getting around once in the Hospital is very easy and intuitive.  The Emergency Room waiting area is also much improved and much larger and the hospital cafeteria is well thought out and positioned for easy access.  

The food, although I haven't sampled it myself, looked very tasty and not at all undesirable and there, depending on the day, are also other food vendors available.  For instance, on Tuesday and Thursdays, they have a Chick-fil-a representative in an area of the cafeteria serving Chick-fil-a and on Fridays Jimmy Jonn's Sandwiches are available.  On Mondays or Wednesdays, I believe Ricks BBQ is made available and I'm not sure if there is another but at least you are not restricted to "Hospital Food" if you don't want it.    Access to, and from, the new Hospital is also vastly improved.  I can see why Helen Keller tried to fight the Hospital and keep if from happening because whereas ECM wasn't the nicest and easiest place to visit and park, you can tell that those who participated in the design and construction of this new facility knew what they were doing and took care to get it right.   

I can't speak of what the employees that work there feel about it and how, if at all, it has improved their work and job or job place but from what I've heard most are extremely happy with the new accommodations and while I don't, in any way, care to be a patient I at least look forward to the fact that I now have another choice in the area that is well thought out and replaces a place that many dreaded to go.  Now, whereas many are forced to choose ECM due to the available options in the area, the improvements have made that choice or option much easier and accommodating.  North Alabama Medical Center is, and will be, my choice if I ever find myself having to seek services that they provide and I also believe that having it here and the improvements that they have made will make it more likely Florence can potentially attract more physicians who before may have chosen other areas due to the resources that are available. 

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )

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We have lived in Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta and The Shoals, and my wife has had a number of medical procedures in each.  I can honestly say she's never received better care from more caring people than she did at ECM over the years.  My hat's off to the employees there.

I'm sure the employees of Helen Keller Hospital are just as caring.  But the way that Huntsville Hospital has taken over many unprofitable hospitals of North Alabama by renting them and not purchasing them is wrong.  And they wrongly placed so many legal impediments against the building of Florence's new hospital and cost themselves and North Alabama Medical Center untold millions of dollars in attorneys' fees.  I have told my wife that if that helicopter ever has to pick me up, send it north to Vanderbilt Hospital and certainly not east to Huntsville.

And to the nurses and support staff that stay in The Shoals and don't go to Nashville, Birmingham or even Memphis for much larger hospital salaries, thanks.


My late wife was hospitalized at ECM several times during the last 5 years of her life and the care she received was excellent in every way.  As to food, the ECM hospital served some of the best chili I have ever eaten. My only complaint was that it was served some days and not on others, thus making it a guessing game whether it would be available.  

I was in and out of ECM many, many times as both a patient and visitor and never once had a problem with any of the employees. I always strived to be courteous and patient with them and as a result, they were the same towards me. Nice how that works, isn't it. 
The new hospital. I hate seeing the neighborhood of my childhood changed so much and the much-loved school gone, but I am very proud of us having such a nice new hospital and the sight of it when coming down Veterans by the coliseum or across the bridge is awesome.

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