Dr. Reginald Bolick and Dr. Joseph Pearson came to Florence in 1975 and 1978 respectively to join with Dr. Billy Houck in a group known as Florence Surgical Associates. The practice of medicine in Florence in the 70's was quite different from today. There were about 80 physicians in the city. We practiced primarily at the old McLeod Hospital and the old Bruce Hospital. The physicians in Florence, in particular with Florence Surgical Associates, practiced a very high quality of medicine and surgery including many surgical procedures which had not, prior to the 70's, been available in this area.
In 1986 Dr. Bolick and Dr. Pearson established Pee Dee Surgical Associates which was later to become Pee Dee Surgical Group. Our office was located on South Dargan Street and our practice was dedicated to providing the highest standard of surgical care and the most current surgical techniques. One of our goals at that time was that Pee Dee Surgical would evolve to the point where it would be the preeminent surgical practice in Northeastern South Carolina. In 1990, Pee Dee Surgical brought the laparoscopic cholecystectomy to the community and in rapid succession thereafter, a full range of laparoscopic surgical procedures were adapted to the point where now the Pee Dee Surgical Physicians perform virtually all types of basic and advanced laparoscopic surgery. Also in the 1980's our surgeons were the first in the community to offer breast conservation for the treatment of breast cancer.
In 1992, Dr. John Gause of New Hope, South Carolina joined Pee Dee Surgical. Throughout the 90's the practice grew in size as well as in the scope of operations performed. In 1997, Pee Dee Surgical became a part of McLeod Physician Associates. At that time our practice merged with Dr. Tommy Wilson who had been in practice in Darlington since 1982. In 1997, Dr. Mark Reynolds joined Pee Dee Surgical to add special expertise in the fields of trauma and surgical critical care. In 1999, Dr. Ed Lee, who had been in practice in Florence for many years merged into Pee Dee Surgical. We also recruited Florence native, Dr. Keith Player, as a seventh surgeon.
Pee Dee Surgical and McLeod Health have a long and strong relationship with the Medical University of South Carolina. As long as we have been in existence, we have had medical students do electives at McLeod and do surgical electives with Pee Dee Surgical. Since 1999 McLeod and Pee Dee Surgical have been a part of the MUSC surgical residency teaching program. We have a fourth and fifth year surgical resident rotating with us at all times.
The relationship with MUSC has facilitated the recruitment of two surgeons. Dr. Amy Murrell of Florence spent several months of her senior year in medical school on a surgical rotation with us. Dr. John Sonfield of Hilton Head did a three month rotation during his residency with us at Pee Dee Surgical. Having this opportunity for them to know Pee Dee Surgical and for Pee Dee Surgical to know them was very helpful in allowing us to recruit these two exceptional young surgeons to the Florence area.