Celebrating 50 Years of Service

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Sponsored by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

Dr. Carol Shapiro and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center share something special this year. They are both celebrating 50 years of serving our community.

Although the hospital opened in November of 1972, Dr. Shapiro established herself in the community earlier that year. “I go back to February of 1972, before the hospital opened,” says Dr. Carol Shapiro, currently serving as Medical Director of the Sentara Wound Healing Center on the campus of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “The office at that time was a little building in a home on Longview
and when I came to inquire about privileges at the hospital, I met with Mr. Richardson, who was the administrator.”

Having no idea where she’d open an office, the two drove to Dumfries and met with Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo.

“Rich Richardson said, ‘Hey Doc. I’ve got somebody here who wants to be on our staff at our hospital. Do you think you have room for her?’” recalls Shapiro. “Dr. Ferlazzo said, ‘I sure do!’ and he provided me with an office and a place to start…I was meeting people who were so enthusiastic about our hospital and how it was going to grow, and they welcomed me to the community.”

Opening Day

“I walked through the doors on opening day and I’ve been here ever since,” says Shapiro. “What I remember most is the enthusiasm, the excitement. There was no hospital except in Manassas and Alexandria or down in Fredericksburg, and folks were traveling quite a distance to get hospital care.”

Opening day at the hospital, known then as Potomac Hospital, included celebratory speeches and a tour of the new single-story facility with 29 beds and 61 members of the medical staff. “The medical staff met on a regular basis for several months before we actually opened the doors,” says Shapiro. “So we had a very well-organized staff…For me personally, it was really, really exciting. I didn’t consider myself a newbie
anymore, because I’d been here every bit of four months. I could feel the excitement and being part of a new initiative was unbelievable.”

“One of the things that I learned about the hospital was that the cost for building this hospital was totally funded by the community,” says Shapiro. “We were the very last community-funded hospital in the state of Virginia, and that was really rare for a community this size to be able to get a building of that quality without federal or state funds. There was huge pride.”

A Leader in Her Field

“Healthcare has changed dramatically for women over the past 50 years,” says Shapiro, who was the first woman on the staff of Potomac Hospital, first woman president of the hospital, and the first woman president of Virginia State Medical Society. “There have been a lot of firsts and it’s wonderful to see people coming up behind me and women doing a superb job. There is still some bias, but nowhere near what it was when I started my practice in ’72. I was an oddity and it was a challenge to prove that I could do the job as well as, and along with, my male colleagues.”

Those circumstances never stopped Shapiro. “There was a time as a woman, if I was walking with a (male)
doctor, somebody would stop me and address me as ‘nurse’ just by definition that I was a woman,” says Shapiro. “That doesn’t happen so much anymore…women are equal partners with male physicians and are trusted and are in every field, in every area of different specialties.”

As the hospital and services offered continue to advance, Dr. Shapiro’s passion remains steady.

“What I enjoy the most is the people,” says Shapiro, who can’t begin to guess what the next 50 years will bring to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “My patients, the people at the hospital, the people I dealt with in the community at every level…this is my home. Our community is family.”

If you have a non-healing wound, make an appointment with Dr. Carol Shapiro at the Sentara Wound Healing Center at 703-523-0660. For more information visit sentara.com/wound.



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