Fort Walton Beach, Fl — Fort Walton Beach Medical Center recently announced the recipients of its 2016 HCA Awards of Distinction. The winners of the Frist Humanitarian Awards, which recognize one physician, one employee and one volunteer who each demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their community, are Dr. Eric Sandwith, Gerladine Lewis, and Mary Ann Roberts. The honorees of the Excellence in Nursing Award, celebrating the extraordinary clinical and compassionate care delivered by nurses every day, is Betty Carswell. The HCA Awards of Distinction is the highest honor a physician, employee, volunteer, and a nurse can receive.

"Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care, and each of these individuals is being honored because of their ongoing commitment to fulfilling this mission," said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. "We are grateful to work alongside these awardees, knowing that our community is growing stronger every day because of the contributions of such passionate individuals."

About the Winners: Frist Awards

The First Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the humanitarian spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Fr. Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA.

Dr. Eric Sandwith, 2016 Physician Frist Humanitarian Award Winner. Dr. Sandwith is an outstanding healthcare provider and treats all of his patients and their families as though they were his own. He always has time to listen and makes himself available to answer any questions to help put his patients and their families at ease. He is someone who has never met a stranger and works well with staff and physicians from all departments throughout the facility. He demands the best from the staff and has even started a monthly education program for nurses to increase their knowledge and enable them to better care for their patients. Despite his demanding work schedule, he is also very involved with many different organizations and his community. He has been the honorary commander of the 33rd Firefighter Wing for two consecutive years. He is an avid supporter of the Heart Ball and sits on the committee of the American Heart Association. Dr. Sandwith and his family also participate in the Heart Walk every year. He has supported the establishment of a local chapter of the Mended Hearts and is a supporter of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Florida Ballet. Dr. Sandwith joined the heart program at FWBMC in 2006 and has built a thriving open heart program that continues to grow. Last year, he performed 212 heart surgeries as a solo practitioner and has a tremendous impact on the lives of many people in our community.