On April 24, 1961, Memorial Hospital of Wake County (now WakeMed Health and Hospitals) opened its doors to all people in the community — regardless of race, origin, religion or sex. On that day, Mr. Jessie Junior Hall brought his wife, Mrs. Liza Ann Rogers Hall, to the hospital because she was in active labor.
They had four children, and this baby would be the fifth. Previously, Mrs. Hall had delivered her children at St. Agnes Hospital — the local hospital for African Americans — but with the shuttering of that facility, they headed to WakeMed where they were offered comprehensive care in the squeaky clean, state-of-the-art medical center.
Residents of Eagle Rock, North Carolina, the Hall family made the trek to Memorial Hospital (eventually renamed WakeMed Health and Hospitals) four more times to bring four more children into the world.
Gale Dumas’ Life Today
Today, April 24, 2021, baby Gale Hall — now Mrs. Gale Dumas — celebrates her 60th birthday along with WakeMed Health and Hospitals.
Mrs. Dumas says, “I grew up on a farm in Eagle Rock, North Carolina, and I’ve enjoyed a full and happy life. Today, I am married with three children and four grandchildren. I retired from the Tammy Lynn Center, where I enjoyed a 23-year career. I am a member of Good Hope Baptist Church and still live in Eagle Rock. My mother sadly passed away at the young age of 59 from breast cancer.”
History Detailed in the News and Observer
On April 25, 1961, News and Observer reporters shared the sweet and historical moment. A picture and detailed article of mom and baby showcase the inclusive, cheerful atmosphere.
This article also reveals another startling finding. Not only were Mrs. Hall and daughter Mrs. Dumas the first obstetrics and gynecology patients, but they were also the very first patients at WakeMed to receive care. Here is the write-up from the article:
Mrs. Liza Ann Hall of the Eagle Rock Community was the most important patient at thenew Wake Memorial Hospital here Monday. In fact, she was the only patient for a time. Then there were two. At 12:07 p.m., Mrs. Hall gave birth to a seven-pound girl.Mrs. Hall, wife of Jessie Hall, was placed in a semi-private room as the hospital began accepting patients. The rest of the 300-bed hospital was minus any patients. Admittance of medical patients will begin today.Staff members, waiting for their business to pick up, were taking care of the many details connected with the opening of a big hospital. On Friday, the hospital expects to have a 175-bed staff on full-time duty.Five reservations had been received from patients for admittance later this week. The hospital will begin taking surgical patients on Wednesday and pediatrics cases Thursday.St. Agnes Closing.While the new hospital goes through its step-by-step opening, St. Agnes Hospital for Negroes will close on the same scale.When emergency room facilities at St. Agnes close Friday, the new hospital’s emergency room operations will open.
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
Serving the community since 1961, WakeMed is a not-for-profit health care system founded and based in Raleigh, N.C. WakeMed exists to improve the health and well-being of our community by providing outstanding and compassionate care to all. Today, WakeMed’s 976-bed system comprises a network of facilities throughout the Triangle area, including three full-service hospitals, seven emergency departments, a dedicated Children’s Hospital and Rehabilitation Hospital, more than 80 physician offices and Wake County’s only Level I Trauma Center. WakeMed’s mission-driven team includes more than 9,800 employees, 1,500 volunteers and 1,300 affiliated physicians, along with the more than 580 physicians and providers with WakeMed Physician Practices – all representing the best minds and the biggest hearts and the finest quality in health care and community health. For more information, visit wakemed.org or follow WakeMed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.