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Derry Medical Center turning 50

Union Leader Correspondent

April 08. 2014 7:30PM
Derry Medical Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The current facility is in the Overland Medical Park at 6 Tsienneto Road in Derry. (HUNTER MCGEE PHOTO)

DERRY — It’s been 50 years since a young physician from Scotland helped found Derry Medical Center with three of his colleagues from Britain.

At the time, a local newspaper compared it to the Beatles’ transatlantic triumph in America, with a headline that read “British Invasion.”

Through courage and determination, Dr. Eric Anderson started practicing in the small town all those years ago, said Susan Chadwick, director of marketing and public relations for the medical center.

“It’s a great story of one guy who came here from Scotland who just had the courage and the vision to hang his shingle for a medical practice,” Chadwick said.

Since then, the practice has endured and grown; currently, Derry Medical Center has more than 40,000 patients, she said.

“It’s really an economic boon for the whole area, Chadwick said.

After coming to Derry in 1964, several months passed and Anderson decided to invite some of his colleagues from medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland, to work with him in the new practice, Chadwick said. Within a year, three of his colleagues were working beside him in the new practice.

The four doctors had a hands-on primary care practice and delivered babies to patients who in turn became part of three generations that saw the doctor, Chadwick said.

“It was very interesting that there were four doctors from Great Britain in Derry,” Chadwick said. The doctors’ office was across from what at the time was called the Alexander Eastman Hospital, which is now Parkland Medical Center.

“They brought with them a whole style of medicine that was very family- oriented and kind of old-fashioned doctoring,” Chadwick said. “What’s transpired in the past 50 years is that we still have that style of primary care. We treat entire families from newborns up to geriatric patients, but we also incorporated all of the high technology that is important to have in the practice today.”

Anderson kept practicing medicine up until his retirement in 1982, when Dr. Ted Brooks came to the medical center. Brooks is the current president of the Derry Medical Center, at 6 Tsienneto Road in the Overland Medical Park in Derry.

Today, Derry Medical sees patients from throughout Southern New Hampshire, including some from just over the border in Massachusetts. The medical center has its own website, and patients can go online to schedule appointments, refill prescription and to check their medical records.

Derry Medical Center also has its own high-tech diagnostic imaging center, which provides diagnostic imaging at one-third of the cost of hospital imaging, she said.

Doctors today still see the extended families of many of the original patients from 1964.

“So we are really at the cutting edge of medicine without having lost that family doctor,” Chadwick said.

Derry Medical is an independent primary care practice that isn’t affiliated with, or in any one particular hospital. It is the largest independent primary care practice, and among the oldest, in New Hampshire, Chadwick said.

Derry Medical has 30 medical providers, and 180 staff, Chadwick said.

The medical center’s growth through the years and close proximity to patients in the Greater Derry area have made it a key health provider in the community, said Stacey Bruzzese, executive director of the Greater Derry-Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

As with other health providers, Derry Medical will likely face challenges in the coming years with the recent dramatic changes that have affected the health care industry, she said.

“It’s getting harder and harder to serve the public and get enough reimbursements to keep their facilities open with insurance changing and being more selective with who can participate, ”Bruzzese said.

To commemorate Derry Medical Center’s 50th anniversary, a celebration is planned throughout the year, Chadwick said.

A private, invitation-only reception is also scheduled for Friday, April 11, in Derry.

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