Indian River Medical Center has a long and interesting history dating back to 1932. It is difficult to imagine a time when Indian River County had no hospital at all, but during the Great Depression the nearest hospital was 70 miles away via two lane roads that were not always paved.
Garnett Lunsford Radin, a 29-year-old registered nurse and resourceful woman from Nebraska, purchased a hotel on Old Dixie Highway with $22,000 of her own money and opened the hospital with 21 beds on May 12, 1932. The hospital staff worked under primitive conditions including an artesian well water system and one wood-burning stove providing the building’s only heat. Meals were carried in from an outdoor kitchen.
With little money to keep the hospital afloat, the Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce, now the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, stepped in, leading an effort to create a non-profit corporation and solicit contributions to keep the hospital open.