WakeMed celebrated its 50th anniversary last week with a 1960s-themed party featuring Raleigh actor Ira David Wood III as emcee, music, drinks, food and the unveiling of "Healing Hands," a monument in the courtyard of its flagship Raleigh campus. Earlier in the day, leaders at Wake County's largest hospital system announced the biggest and boldest strategic bet in its long history: a $750 million hostile bid to buy cross-town rival Rex Healthcare. WakeMed contends that buying Rex from the UNC Health Care System would improve patient care in Wake County and beyond, reduce costs by eliminating redundant services, and provide a much-needed cash infusion for the parent UNC system and the state. Wake Med is also trying to defend its home turf from what it has said are "predatory" expansion tactics by UNC Health using taxpayer money. But a deal, which would reshape the Triangle's healthcare market, faces many obstacles.