Forrest General To Celebrate National Hospital Week

Forrest General is constantly growing to meet the needs of patients and communities here in the Pine Belt. This means serving the community with the highest quality healthcare, expanding services, and constantly evolving with the newest technology. In May, the hospital will begin a partnership with Language of Caring. This organization will assist in continuing Forrest Health’s efforts as part of the We CARE philosophy to create a strong culture of caring. Through this process every individual in the organization will develop and implement the communication skills that make their caring intentional, visible and effective. 

“At Forrest Health, we are focused on doing what is right for the patient and making our system the preferred choice for patients in South Mississippi. We are blessed with talented physicians who stay on the cutting edge regarding new procedures and bring the latest treatment options to our patients,” said Andy Woodard, Forrest Health president and CEO.

One big leap in technological advancement at the hospital came in February 2019 when Sean Douglas, MD, urologist at Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General, was the first to use the state-of-the-art da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System by Intuitive. The da Vinci Surgical System is a complex robot that assists physicians in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Douglas used this robot to perform a robotic prostatectomy to remove the cancerous prostate. The robotic prostatectomy is less traumatic than the tradition open prostatectomy, involving significantly smaller incisions, less pain, easier recovery, and better patient outcomes.

Another huge stride was taken on Friday, March 15, 2019, when Forrest General became the first hospital in Mississippi to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) using the Inari Medical ClotTriever device. This device does not require use of thrombolytic drugs, which means the procedure is much safer for patients than traditional DVT treatment options.

“Forrest General made a huge step in the right direction by bringing this procedure to patients in the Pine Belt. A DVT is a life threatening condition, and having this procedure available strengthens our ability to save lives without causing some of the complications common to traditional DVT treatment options. I am proud to say that Forrest General stands out, once again, at the forefront of technology,” said Robert Wilkins, MD, cardiologist. 

Forrest General’s most recent advancement was acquiring the new Leica BOND 111 for the Pathology Department. This will enable faster turnaround time for receiving test results and add additional testing options to what the lab currently offers. 

“This equipment will give us faster turn-around on test results as well as helping us to add new testing online. One of the first new tests we’ll offer is the PDL-1, making our lab the only one in Mississippi able to perform that test in-house. Previously, it has taken around 2 weeks to get results back. Now, we’ll get results in about two days,” said Kimberly Wright, pathology team leader.

The PDL-1 is used to diagnose patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This test will determine if patients meet the criteria to use the drug Keytruda, which is used in cancer immunotherapy.

In addition to their constant medical advancements, Forrest General serves the community in different capacities such as sponsorships and charitable contributions to Pine Belt organizations as well as through support groups, and many community initiatives.

Camp Bluebird is one example of Forrest General offering caring and support in the community. Camp Bluebird, the first camp for cancer patients and survivors in Mississippi, is staffed completely by volunteers, counselors, and healthcare personnel. In 2019, the camp celebrated 30 years of promoting a sense of well-being among campers, teaching them how to live with cancer and cancer treatments and providing them with a time of rest and relaxation.

Of course, National Hospital Week goes hand-in-hand with National Nurses Week (May 6 – May 12). Forrest General nurses enjoy the benefit of gaining experience in different areas of the hospital and working in a team setting with other nurses and physicians.

“The nurses are the heart of the hospital. They spend much more time with our patients than the physicians are able. The relationship between doctors and nurses is an absolute integral link. We cannot be doctors without our nurses,” said Keith Jones, MD, stroke director.

This week Forrest General will honor all of its nurses, including naming Clinical and Non-Clinical Nurses of the Year and Nurse Leader of the Year.

For more information about Forrest General or on how to start a career at the hospital, visit

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