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2002 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Welcomes "L.H. Turtle, M.D."

CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 4, 2002)---As part of its commitment to environmental issues, Morton Plant Hospital recently welcomed its sponsorship turtle, part of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's Tampa Bay Tour of Turtles. Self-taught artist Michelle Mardis created the turtle, named "L.H. Turtle, M.D.", exclusively for Morton Plant Hospital. The sculpture clothed in hospital scrubs, mask and stethoscope is located outside the hospital's main entrance.

"The sponsorship turtle was customized to honor Morton Plant Hospital's physicians, as well as demonstrate the hospital's dedication to this environmental awareness project," said Hal Ziecheck, chief operating officer, Morton Plant Hospital.

Historically, Morton Plant Hospital has utilized its highly sophisticated imaging equipment to assist the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in the diagnosis of its medically compromised animals. The hospital has also been instrumental in providing diagnostic tools such as CT scans and X-rays, as well as medical supplies whenever the aquarium has needed assistance.

The Tour of Turtles is an art project launched by the Aquarium in conjunction with non-profit organizations in the area. Its purpose is giving local businesses an opportunity to get more involved with their community, promoting local artists, educating people about the endangered loggerhead sea turtles, and raising funds for local non-profit organizations. Ninety-eight turtles were placed throughout the Tampa Bay area in schools, malls, restaurants, hospitals and other public places.

At the end of Tour of Turtles in April 2002, all sponsorship turtles will be auctioned and the proceeds will be donated to various non-profit organizations in the Tampa Bay area. The Morton Plant Mease Foundation, Inc. will benefit from the auction of L.H. Turtle, M.D. Each year the Morton Plant Mease Foundation raises nearly $10 million, with 100 percent going directed into the community to support a wide range of health care programs as well as charity care.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care. Named a Solucient Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospital for the fourth consecutive year in 2001, Morton Plant Hospital has more than 50 specialty areas of service including cancer treatment, cardiovascular medicine, behavioral health, neurosciences, emergency care, surgery services, women's health, rehabilitation and orthopaedics. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., (727) 462-7000.

Contact: Phoebe Ochman/Beth Hardy

MPMHC News Bureau

727 / 461-8117 Phone

727 / 468-7586 Pager