Though it is located in Cocoa Beach, the name Cape Canaveral Hospital (CCH) highlights the industry and the endeavor that would also name this stretch of Florida’s beach the Space Coast.
Dr. Joseph Von Thron was the driving force behind the conception, planning and building of CCH. Dr. Von Thron recalled, “I arrived in Cocoa Beach in 1955, and recognized a real need for a community hospital. The closest hospital at that time was Wuesthoff. In those days, there was a drawbridge over the Indian River on SR 520. I came close to having to deliver babies while waiting for that bridge on several occasions.”
Community and medical leaders actually met in a cabin donated by the Cocoa Beach Chamber and conceived the idea in the spring of 1957. As Larry Garrison, former president of CCH and retired COO of Health First said, “The vision of a community hospital, specific to the needs of its residents resulted in the formation of this hospital. Over 50 years later, this original vision is at the heart of Cape Canaveral Hospital’s continued development.”
Fundraisers were launched, feasibility studies were done, legislators were lobbied, and between 1957 and 1960 the groundwork was laid – literally, as the land the hospital rests on was dredged from the Banana River. In December 1959, architects submitted plans for the initial structure, which called for a 150-bed hospital, with 50 patient beds in the first phase. Matching funds were obtained from the federal government, and in April of 1961 construction began.
There was an outpouring of public support when the hospital opened in 1962. At that time there were 120 auxillians ready to serve the community. Today, those numbers have grown to over 1,500 auxillians and 240 members of the medical staff.
Cape Canaveral Hospital Today
A 21-bed, level II Emergency Department includes special areas for pediatric treatment, obstetrics and gynecology, minor injury care, an isolation room, and a helipad for patient transfers.
- Certified “Baby-Friendly” by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the Mother/Baby Unit includes a birthing suite and eight private birthing rooms.
- The Cancer Care Program is approved by The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and affiliated with the University of Florida/Shands Cancer Center.
- CCH Surgical Services include nine operation rooms, one cystology exam room, and a full-service room for endoscopy/GI procedures.
- The Women’s Diagnostic Center offers state-of-the-art, personalized services including mammography, ultrasound, stereotactic breast biopsy, and patient education.
- CCH Cardiovascular Laboratory performs echocardiography, cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology laboratories.
- The Medical Plaza, a six-story facility adjacent to the hospital, is devoted to ambulatory services and also houses 16 physicians’ offices.