History of Milford Memorial: Progression of Doctors’ Roles


When he opened his medical practice in Harrington in 1967, Bayhealth Primary Care Physician Vincent Lobo, DO, DACFD, worked 10–12 hours per day, six days per week, and saw roughly 45–50 patients per day. Afterward, he would take care of any house calls (an average of two per week), provide coverage for three area nursing homes and then be on call. He also served as a doctor at the Delaware State Fair because there were not any paramedics at the time.

“I would receive calls on the telephone beside my bed all through the night,” said Dr. Lobo. “After office hours, I had to call the hospital to see if there were any calls for me. In the late 70s or early 80s, the beeper system began, but you still had to find a phone.”

Dr. Lobo says an influx of specialists and technological advancements are two of the primary factors contributing to the dramatic evolution of healthcare in southern Delaware.

Since there weren’t many specialists during the late 60s and early 70s, Dr. Lobo would do minor surgeries in his office. “For example, there were not any orthopaedic specialists in Kent and Sussex counties,” he explained. “Eventually, a general surgeon who did some orthopaedic work came on board. Prior to that, one orthopaedic surgeon would come down from Wilmington once per week. We also only had one psychiatrist, and there weren’t any cardiologists back then. There was a family medicine doctor in Milford, who also did a lot of internal medicine work at the hospital. Before the hospitalists, I would align myself with the internists, and they would take care of my hospitalized patients. Now, we have many specialists available.”

In terms of technology, Dr. Lobo says it’s fantastic. “Years ago, you had to send patients to the hospital for an x-ray and wait a long time for the results. Now, they can go [to an Outpatient Center], and you get the results right away,” he said. “This is also true for EKG methods, which are much quicker, and MRI and CT scans and other advancements in diagnostic imaging have eliminated the need for exploratory surgery. Lab availability is much better these days as well and sometimes you can get results the same day.”

Dr. Lobo also remarked on how the doctor’s role in patient care has evolved. “The doctor used to be the head of the ship, but now patient care involves a real team approach. Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, technologists all work together. This has greatly improved the quality of care for the patient.”

With the design and construction of the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus, the role of doctors has continued to evolve. As part of the project, many Bayhealth doctors recognized and weighed in on the impact the design of the new facility will have on the patient experience.

“We had the chair of the anesthesia department working with support services, such as laundry and materials, to maximize the efficiency of the design of the new hospital,” said Bayhealth Milford Memorial Vice President of Operations/Administrator Michael Ashton, FACHE. “Everyone’s input has been important.”

Visit BayhealthSussex.org to learn more about the history of Bayhealth Milford Memorial and the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus that is scheduled to open in early 2019.

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