In 1914, Doctors Herman Dismuke and Gabe Willis, the first doctors in Ocilla, built and opened its first hospital, the Dismuke and Willis Sanitarium. According to the family that lives in the building now, the original hospital was a 20-bed facility. The Sanitarium was located on Vo-Tech Road. The building still stands today across from the old Irwin County High School campus, albeit without its prominent porches. It is now a private residence.
Sometime during the early 1930’s, Dr. Willis built a new hospital in downtown Ocilla, on North Irwin Avenue. Then, in November, 1935, Dr. Dismuke made plans to build his own hospital right next to Dr. Willis’ building. The plan was for the two buildings to be connected by a passageway, although the buildings would be independent of each other. The Dismuke hospital would also use the operating room of the Willis hospital. In May, 1939, plans were made at that time to enlarge and modernize the Willis and Dismuke hospital, as it was known in 1939. The two former buildings were merged into one by the addition of a section built in front of them both and connected with both. The new additions increased the bed space at the time to 20 beds with an operating room, x-ray room, and laboratories to meet the needs of a modern hospital. The building is still in use today as the Irwin County Department of Family and Children Services.
In 1953, Irwin County’s newest hospital facility was constructed on North Irwin Avenue, using prison labor. The hospital had 34 beds. The hospital authority formed at that time was made up of four members: Charles A. Harris, Chairman; Harris Dill, Sr., Vice Chairman; Murphey Rogers, Secretary-Treasurer;, and W. O. Wingate, Jr. The physician roster included Dr. Herman Dismuke, Dr. Tom Little, Dr. W. C. Sams, and Dr. G. W. Willis. The building remained as is until 1996, when under the new management of MGA Health Management, Inc., and a commitment to provide the highest quality patient care, renovations and construction of a new addition to the facility got underway. A new wing was built onto the existing hospital. Once completed, the hospital could boast of a nursery, operating room suites, Lab, x-ray room, Respiratory room, two new surgical suites, new admissions area, new emergency room, and many other areas. The hospital is still being utilized today, and the current management continues to make improvements to the hospital to provide the best medical care possible for its patients.