Largo Hospital Pioneer Celebrates 101 Years
As a boy Dr. Alan Snider wanted to build a hospital, today his dream flourishes in Largo.
The founder and former owner of what is now known as Largo Medical Center on Indian Rocks Road turns 101 on June 30. The vision to build a hospital began in rural Canada.
As an eight-year-old child in rural Ontario, Snider was very sick. Doctors found the source of his problem, a stone in his bladder the size of a "hen's egg," Snider said.
"While I was in the hospital, I decided I must have my own hospital," Snider said.
Making Snider's dream come true started with earning money as a country schoolteacher so he could go to medical school. Snider studied osteopathic medicine in Philadelphia followed by a four-year surgical residence in Boston.
Snider honed his medical skills at a hospital in York Harbor, Maine. He continued his education through weekly trips to Boston (about 130 miles round trip) to observe the latest surgery techniques.
In the mid 1950s Snider felt prepared to start his own hospital. Snider searched the country to determine where he should start his hospital. He picked Florida and spent a week working at a St. Petersburg hospital to get a feel for the Tampa Bay area.
"I learned about a little town along the coast named Largo. I looked it over and fell in love with it. I packed up my wife, five kids and her parents and moved to town," Snider said.
In January 1957 Snider bought the 14-bed nursing home, which would become the 24-bed Sun Coast Hospital. The medical facility offered surgery, acute care, obstetrics and other routine hospital services.
Snider was the only surgeon at the hospital on Indian Rocks Road for ten years. The hospital grew to a full-service 200-bed acute care medical and surgical teaching hospital. Snider sold the Sun Coast Hospital in 2008.
Snider is very excited about his upcoming birthday and credits his 101 years on several factors.
"I did not develop bad habits. No smoking, rarely drinking. I did a fair amount of exercise. I would walk to work," Snider said. "Turning 101 feels great. I want to keep going for a while. I am making every effort to do just that by walking and not smoking is a big thing."