Care by the Sea: A History of Medicine in Nueces County

An illustrated history of the medical industry in Nueces County paired with the histories of companies and organizations that have shaped the industry.

An illustrated history of the medical industry in Nueces County paired with the histories of companies and organizations that have shaped the industry.


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A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

<strong>by</strong> Bill and Marjorie K. Walraven<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society

Thank you for your <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> this HPNbooks publication.<br />

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A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

<strong>by</strong> Bill and Marjorie K. Walraven<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society<br />

Historical Publish<strong>in</strong>g Network<br />

A division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas

❖ Above: The <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society and Alliance members visit with Texas Representative Todd Hunter dur<strong>in</strong>g First Tuesdays at <strong>the</strong> Capitol <strong>in</strong> 2010.<br />

Opposite, from top to bottom: <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society members answer phone calls from <strong>the</strong> public dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> 5 p.m. news Ask <strong>the</strong> Doctor program at KIII-TV.<br />

NCMS President John McKeever is <strong>in</strong>terviewed about <strong>the</strong> Medical Society’s stance on <strong>the</strong> Las Brisas power plant proposal.<br />

A KIII-TV reporter prepares to <strong>in</strong>terview NCMS members that had volunteered for <strong>the</strong> Ask <strong>the</strong> Doctor booth at <strong>the</strong> 2009 Health Fair.<br />

Dr. James D<strong>in</strong>n, an orthopedic surgeon, discusses bones and fossils at an outreach program at Ray High School.<br />

NCMS members hold a press conference <strong>in</strong> support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Smoke Free Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />


Copyright © 2012 Historical Publish<strong>in</strong>g Network<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced <strong>in</strong> any form or <strong>by</strong> any means, electronic or mechanical, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g photocopy<strong>in</strong>g, without permission <strong>in</strong> writ<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from <strong>the</strong> publisher. All <strong>in</strong>quiries should be addressed to Historical Publish<strong>in</strong>g Network, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790.<br />

ISBN: 9781935377740<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress Card Catalog Number: 2012931882<br />

<strong>Care</strong> <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Sea</strong>: A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

authors: Bill and Marjorie K. Walraven<br />

cover artist: Maureen Reeves Tarazon<br />

contribut<strong>in</strong>g writer for shar<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> heritage: Garnette Bane<br />

Historical Publish<strong>in</strong>g Network<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Barry Black<br />

adm<strong>in</strong>istration: Donna M. Mata, Melissa G. Qu<strong>in</strong>n<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Col<strong>in</strong> Hart, Evelyn Hart, Glenda Tarazon Krouse, Omar Wright<br />

2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A



5 CHAPTER 1 T h e E a r l y D a y s<br />

6 CHAPTER 2 D r. S p o h n A r r i v e s<br />

12 CHAPTER 3 T h e C i t y G r o w s<br />

17 CHAPTER 4 D o c t o r s a t Wa r<br />

20 CHAPTER 5 D r. H e c t o r<br />

23 CHAPTER 6 T h e P o s t w a r Ye a r s<br />

27 CHAPTER 7 T h e N a v y a n d t h e C i t y<br />

31 CHAPTER 8 F o r t h e C h i l d r e n<br />

37 CHAPTER 9 M o r e G r o w t h a n d H C A<br />

41 CHAPTER 10 T h e S o c i e t y ’s A c c o m p l i s h m e n t s<br />

45 CHAPTER 11 T h e S p o h n S y s t e m<br />

53 CHAPTER 12 Te c h n o l o g y a n d P r e v e n t i v e C a r e<br />

58 CHAPTER 13 A N e w C e n t u r y<br />

64 SOURCES<br />


85 SPONSORS<br />



C o n t e n t s ✦ 3


Many people deserve recognition for <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> medic<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend and for <strong>the</strong> production <strong>of</strong> this book. Much <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>formation about <strong>the</strong> medical pioneers and <strong>the</strong> providers <strong>of</strong> later days came from A Century <strong>of</strong> Car<strong>in</strong>g, 1904-2004, <strong>the</strong><br />

September/October 2004 centennial edition <strong>of</strong> Coastal Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, <strong>the</strong> publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society, edited<br />

<strong>by</strong> Dr. John R. Pettigrove.<br />

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times opened its archives to us, and Allison Ehrlich, Caller-Times librarian, gave <strong>in</strong>valuable assistance.<br />

Paulette Shaw, executive director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society, gave constructive suggestions and, with communications<br />

director Susan Davis, important photographs. L<strong>in</strong>da Powell, market<strong>in</strong>g director for <strong>the</strong> CHRISTUS Spohn Health System provided<br />

valuable <strong>in</strong>formation and photographs, and Dr. Mary Peterson and Dr. Carolyn Taylor <strong>of</strong> Driscoll Children’s Hospital gave us access<br />

to records and photographs <strong>of</strong> that <strong>in</strong>stitution. Bill W. Love, public affairs <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval Health Cl<strong>in</strong>ic Corpus Christi provided<br />

a wealth <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>formation about medic<strong>in</strong>e aboard <strong>the</strong> Naval Air Station. Gerl<strong>in</strong>da Riojas and Veronica Mart<strong>in</strong>ez <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

Public Libraries sent us priceless images from <strong>the</strong> libraries’ collection, and Jesenia Guerra <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Museum <strong>of</strong> Science<br />

and <strong>History</strong> also helped us with illustrations. Dr. Charles Lewis Conckl<strong>in</strong>, Dr. Herbert Madal<strong>in</strong>, and Dr. Damon Bernwanger<br />

provided <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g stories <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir experiences, and Dr. Everett L. “Bud” Holt contributed his <strong>by</strong> e-mail.<br />

The heroes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> story, however, are all <strong>the</strong> physicians, additional medical personnel, and o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong>terested citizens, both named and<br />

unnamed, whose skills and dedication have served <strong>the</strong> area well s<strong>in</strong>ce Corpus Christi was a sleepy fish<strong>in</strong>g village on <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico.<br />

Bill and Marjorie K. Walraven<br />

November 2011<br />

4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ Corpus Christi Bayfront Pier and wharves <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1800s.<br />


C H A P T E R 1<br />


In 1854 a small merchant vessel docked<br />

at Bayfront Pier <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. The<br />

population crowded around, starved<br />

for fresh produce. Grocers chose meat,<br />

fresh vegetables, and fruit—p<strong>in</strong>eapples,<br />

oranges, lemons, limes, and mangos. They<br />

paid little attention to <strong>the</strong> swarms <strong>of</strong> mosquitoes<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s hold. In two weeks<br />

every home <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city was visited <strong>by</strong> a<br />

terrible specter. The dreaded yellow fever<br />

had turned <strong>the</strong> town <strong>in</strong>to a “fever ward.”<br />

Almost every family mourned a loss,<br />

and <strong>in</strong> some cases whole families were<br />

wiped out. “Scarce a family escaped, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> cold wea<strong>the</strong>r came or <strong>the</strong> disease<br />

died out for want <strong>of</strong> new victims,” one<br />

account reported. “The Christmas <strong>of</strong><br />

1854 was a sad holiday…Corpus Christi,<br />

<strong>the</strong> stricken, mourned its dead.”<br />

The terrible specter returned <strong>in</strong> 1867.<br />

A man rode <strong>in</strong> from Indianola and died<br />

<strong>the</strong> next day, sett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong>f a new plague that<br />

would take <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> one-third <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

city’s residents. So many fell ill that few<br />

were available to bury <strong>the</strong> dead, and so<br />

many c<strong>of</strong>f<strong>in</strong>s were needed that lumber<br />

<strong>in</strong>tended for a new Pres<strong>by</strong>terian Church<br />

was used to make <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Ironically, <strong>the</strong> tragedy helped dim<strong>in</strong>ish<br />

<strong>the</strong> l<strong>in</strong>ger<strong>in</strong>g bitterness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Civil War.<br />

Judge Edmund J. Davis, who had served<br />

as a brigadier general <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Union Army,<br />

turned his home <strong>in</strong>to a hospital and helped<br />

care for <strong>the</strong> sick and dy<strong>in</strong>g. This probably<br />

earned him respect from even William H.<br />

Malt<strong>by</strong>, a staunchly Confederate critic <strong>of</strong><br />

Reconstruction. Malt<strong>by</strong>’s wife and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

family members died <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> plague. Mrs.<br />

Annie Moore Schwe<strong>in</strong>, who was born a<br />

slave <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1856, told how<br />

Davis brought “Dr. [Thomas] Kearny here<br />

from Havana at his own expense after <strong>the</strong><br />

three doctors, Merriman, Robertson and<br />

Johnson, all died <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fever.”<br />

In 1869, after ano<strong>the</strong>r outburst <strong>of</strong><br />

yellow fever, Dr. Kearney took <strong>the</strong> post<br />

<strong>of</strong> quarant<strong>in</strong>e <strong>of</strong>ficer for <strong>the</strong> port <strong>of</strong><br />

Corpus Christi, a position he held until<br />

<strong>the</strong> quarant<strong>in</strong>e ended later that year.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r who nursed <strong>the</strong> plague victims<br />

was Mary Nolan Hutch<strong>in</strong>son. Mary<br />

Nolan had come to Texas from New York<br />

with her two young bro<strong>the</strong>rs, Matt and<br />

Tom, after <strong>the</strong>ir parents died on <strong>the</strong><br />

voyage from Ireland. Penniless and with<br />

no means <strong>of</strong> support, she had signed up<br />

as a U.S. Army matron and enlisted her<br />

10- and 12-year-old bro<strong>the</strong>rs as buglers.<br />

After go<strong>in</strong>g south with <strong>the</strong> Army <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Mexican War, <strong>the</strong>y returned to Corpus<br />

Christi. Matt and Tom grew up to<br />

become Rangers and lawmen, and both<br />

were shot to death <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> violence <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> late 1800s. Mary married Charles<br />

Hutch<strong>in</strong>son, who died <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1850s, possibly<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> first yellow fever epidemic.<br />

Dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Civil War, Mary nursed sick<br />

soldiers. An early resident said, “She was<br />

one who was a real angel <strong>of</strong> mercy. All<br />

creeds. All colors alike. In sickness, death or<br />

trouble, it was never too cold or too stormy<br />

or too late to go to <strong>the</strong> sick and needy.”<br />

In 1876, less than ten years after <strong>the</strong><br />

1867 epidemic, “a few doctors got toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

over Sudbury’s store…” and organized<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Association.<br />

Dr. E. A. Nott was elected president;<br />

Dr. A. E. Spohn, vice president; Dr. T. H.<br />

Nott, correspond<strong>in</strong>g secretary; Dr. L. S.<br />

Burke, record<strong>in</strong>g secretary, and a Dr.<br />

Hamilton treasurer. Less than two weeks<br />

later Dr. Burke called a meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Southwestern Texas Medical Association<br />

to be held <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />

It was with <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong><br />

Dr. Spohn that <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> medic<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi began to crystallize.<br />

❖ Matt Nolan, lawman and bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> nurse<br />

Mary Nolan.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 ✦ 5

❖ With assistants, Dr. Spohn, second from left, performs cyst pathology surgery.<br />


C H A P T E R 2<br />


Dr. Arthur E. Spohn, born <strong>in</strong> Canada<br />

and tra<strong>in</strong>ed at McGill University <strong>in</strong><br />

Montreal, was sent to Texas <strong>in</strong> 1868 as U.S.<br />

surgeon <strong>in</strong> charge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> military quarant<strong>in</strong>e<br />

at Galveston. He first moved to<br />

Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1872 and <strong>in</strong> 1876 he<br />

married Sarah J. Kenedy, daughter <strong>of</strong><br />

wealthy rancher Miffl<strong>in</strong> Kenedy. Dur<strong>in</strong>g his<br />

lifetime <strong>the</strong> doctor spent a good deal <strong>of</strong><br />

time hon<strong>in</strong>g his pr<strong>of</strong>essional skills, tak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a series <strong>of</strong> postgraduate courses around <strong>the</strong><br />

country and visit<strong>in</strong>g hospitals <strong>in</strong> Europe.<br />

A civic leader, Dr. Spohn was among<br />

those <strong>in</strong>vited to be on <strong>the</strong> maiden trip to<br />

Laredo <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas-Mexican Railroad,<br />

later known as <strong>the</strong> “Manana Express,” on<br />

September 28, 1881. It was a warm day,<br />

and after District Attorney D. McNeill<br />

Turner, a m<strong>in</strong>ister’s son, prepared <strong>the</strong><br />

punch, an unknown person added three<br />

gallons <strong>of</strong> alcohol and twelve quarts <strong>of</strong><br />

champagne to <strong>the</strong> mix. Someone, possibly<br />

Judge James O. Lu<strong>by</strong> <strong>of</strong> San Diego,<br />

wrote an epic poem describ<strong>in</strong>g what<br />

happened, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g this passage:<br />

With <strong>the</strong> medical corps Hamilton quietly sat.<br />

Dr. Spohn on <strong>the</strong> drum played rat-ta-tat.<br />

Doctor Turp<strong>in</strong> mourn<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> loss <strong>of</strong> his hat.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> excursion to Laredo.<br />

Arthur Spohn, however, was a doctor<br />

ahead <strong>of</strong> his time. In 1870 he had <strong>in</strong>vented<br />

an elastic rubber-r<strong>in</strong>g tourniquet for<br />

bloodless operations that many armies <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> world used as a field <strong>in</strong>strument. On<br />

November 20, 1891, he successfully<br />

performed <strong>the</strong> first Porro-Caesarian delivery<br />

<strong>of</strong> osteomalacia, or s<strong>of</strong>ten<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

bones, <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States. As late as<br />

2000 he was listed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Gu<strong>in</strong>ness Book<br />

<strong>of</strong> World Records for remov<strong>in</strong>g an ovarian<br />

❖ Dr. Arthur E. Spohn, physician and visionary.<br />


6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

cyst that weighed 328 pounds. The<br />

patient survived <strong>the</strong> 1905 surgery.<br />

He married Sarah Kenedy, a union that<br />

gave him a close connection with <strong>the</strong><br />

K<strong>in</strong>g and Kleberg families <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fabled<br />

K<strong>in</strong>g Ranch, as Sarah’s fa<strong>the</strong>r, Miffl<strong>in</strong><br />

Kenedy, had been a partner <strong>of</strong> ranch<br />

founder Richard K<strong>in</strong>g. Dr. Spohn became<br />

a neighbor and close friend, as well as <strong>the</strong><br />

physician, <strong>of</strong> Alice K<strong>in</strong>g Kleberg, daughter<br />

<strong>of</strong> Richard and Henrietta K<strong>in</strong>g, and<br />

her husband, Robert J. Kleberg, at a home<br />

<strong>the</strong>y ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. He<br />

delivered all five <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Kleberg children.<br />

❖ Capta<strong>in</strong> Miffl<strong>in</strong> Kenedy.<br />


The friendship was no doubt <strong>in</strong>tensified<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1888 when <strong>the</strong> doctor spectacularly<br />

saved <strong>the</strong> life <strong>of</strong> Willie Chamberla<strong>in</strong>,<br />

Henrietta K<strong>in</strong>g’s younger half-bro<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Chamberla<strong>in</strong> was bitten <strong>by</strong> a rabid coyote<br />

at <strong>the</strong> ranch. Desperate, Dr. Spohn rushed<br />

with Willie to Paris <strong>in</strong> time to have Louis<br />

Pasteur adm<strong>in</strong>ister his newly discovered<br />

<strong>in</strong>oculation. In a news story from Paris,<br />

journalist James Gordon Bennett wrote<br />

that Pasteur had said, “Our Willie is<br />

saved,” and Chamberla<strong>in</strong> became one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> first bitten humans to be spared a<br />

horrible rabies death.<br />

❖ Robert J. Kleberg, Sr., friend and neighbor <strong>of</strong><br />

Dr. Spohn.<br />


Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> medical care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> late<br />

n<strong>in</strong>eteenth century seems to have been<br />

home based—<strong>the</strong> patient’s d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g room<br />

table, a kerosene lamp, and cistern or<br />

well water serv<strong>in</strong>g as operat<strong>in</strong>g-room<br />

equipment. Dr. Spohn did perform several<br />

operations at Incarnate Word Convent,<br />

assisted <strong>by</strong> Mo<strong>the</strong>r Angelique, and also<br />

used <strong>the</strong> home <strong>of</strong> Carlota Versa<strong>in</strong> Rossi<br />

and her half-sister, Concha Rodriquez,<br />

at 817 North Tancahua to treat patients<br />

who came from ranches <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> county.<br />

A few months after George Blucher<br />

bought Corpus Christi’s first automobile,<br />

an Oldsmobile, <strong>in</strong> 1901, Dr. Alfred<br />

Heaney followed suit. He tried to take<br />

French-born Monsignor Claude Jaillet,<br />

who had served outly<strong>in</strong>g areas so well he<br />

was known as <strong>the</strong> “saddlebag priest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong>,” for a ride, but <strong>the</strong> priest refused<br />

to get <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> “devilish contraption.” Dr.<br />

Heaney put his automobile to use after<br />

Sam Anderson, foreman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coleman-<br />

Fulton Cattle Co., suffered a concussion<br />

when a horse fell on him. The doctor<br />

drove it to <strong>the</strong> reef road on North Beach,<br />

rode a bicycle across <strong>the</strong> San Antonio-<br />

Aransas Pass railroad trestle, and took a<br />

horse and buggy <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> way.<br />

Dr. Spohn soon ordered a Cadillac<br />

to keep up with his competition. He used<br />

it with consideration. Dairyman Peter<br />

McBride was com<strong>in</strong>g to town <strong>in</strong> a mule<br />

cart when he encountered Dr. Spohn’s auto.<br />

“I kept try<strong>in</strong>g to hold <strong>the</strong> mules back,”<br />

McBride said, “but <strong>the</strong>y were scared and<br />

<strong>the</strong>re was no stopp<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>m. Dr. Spohn<br />

stopped his automobile so we could get <strong>by</strong>.”<br />

Dr. Spohn served as president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society <strong>in</strong> 1904,<br />

which <strong>the</strong> present-day society considers<br />

its found<strong>in</strong>g date. Dr. Henry Raymond<br />

was secretary. In addition to <strong>the</strong> two <strong>of</strong>ficers,<br />

five members were Drs. H. S. Burke,<br />

W. E. Carruth, G. W. Gregory, A. G. Heaney,<br />

and G. A. <strong>Sea</strong>l. Dues were $2.00 a year,<br />

and when an <strong>in</strong>crease to $3.00 was<br />

proposed for <strong>the</strong> follow<strong>in</strong>g year, so<br />

many members threatened to quit that<br />

<strong>the</strong> idea was dropped.<br />

Troubled <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> medical facilities<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city, <strong>in</strong> 1895 Dr. Spohn had started<br />

a campaign to raise funds for a hospital.<br />

Alice Kleberg helped raise $6,000 for <strong>the</strong><br />

project, and around 1903 Robert J. Kleberg<br />

prepared a draw<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sanitarium and<br />

donated land for it on North Beach.<br />

❖ Monsignor Claude Jaillet.<br />


C h a p t e r 2 ✦ 7

Dr. Spohn asked Bishop Peter Verdaguer<br />

<strong>of</strong> Brownsville to aid <strong>in</strong> staff<strong>in</strong>g, and <strong>the</strong><br />

bishop asked <strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Incarnate<br />

Word <strong>in</strong> San Antonio for help. Dr. Spohn<br />

told <strong>the</strong> sisters that if <strong>the</strong>y would agree to<br />

take over runn<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> hospital, it would<br />

be deeded without charge to <strong>the</strong> congregation<br />

for as long as it would be “used for<br />

<strong>the</strong> purpose <strong>of</strong> operat<strong>in</strong>g and ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

a sanitarium for all persons…and for no<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r purposes whatever.”<br />

❖ Home <strong>of</strong> Dr. A. G. Heaney.<br />


❖ Bishop Peter Verdaguer.<br />


After a dusty buggy ride from San<br />

Antonio, Mo<strong>the</strong>r Mary Cleophas Hurst<br />

and three o<strong>the</strong>r nuns, Sisters Mary<br />

Conrad, Mary Reg<strong>in</strong>a, and Mary Aust<strong>in</strong>,<br />

arrived <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi on July 16,<br />

1905, to take over <strong>the</strong> new hospital. They<br />

had added <strong>the</strong> $5,000 needed to complete<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g and furnish<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

and even provided fresh produce from<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir own vegetable garden.<br />

Spohn Sanitarium, “named to honor<br />

<strong>the</strong> community’s foremost physician,”<br />

opened on July 26, 1905, on North<br />

Beach, just 100 yards from <strong>the</strong> bay.<br />

Fa<strong>the</strong>r Jaillet became <strong>the</strong> hospital’s first<br />

chapla<strong>in</strong>, and Dr. Spohn’s associate,<br />

Dr. George Heaney, admitted its first<br />

❖ Sisters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Incarnate Word made <strong>the</strong> trip from<br />

San Antonio <strong>by</strong> buggy.<br />


patient. A first annex was erected <strong>in</strong> 1906<br />

and a second, with a chapel, <strong>in</strong> 1911.<br />

Dr. Spohn was known for provid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

medical care to all who needed it, regardless<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir f<strong>in</strong>ancial status, and <strong>the</strong> policy<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ued after his death on May 5, 1913,<br />

<strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. By 1915 <strong>the</strong>re was never<br />

an empty bed—1,554 patients came, with<br />

more than half unable to pay for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

treatment. That year fourteen Sisters were<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> sanitarium, with Mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Mary George Daly as adm<strong>in</strong>istrator.<br />

In 1891 D. Mahoney had built a f<strong>in</strong>e<br />

North Beach home, which was later rented<br />

<strong>by</strong> boxer Bob Fitzsimmons, who came<br />

to Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1895 to tra<strong>in</strong> for a<br />

fight with Gentleman Jim Corbett. Later<br />

it would be used as <strong>the</strong> Shell Beach<br />

Sanitarium operated <strong>by</strong> Dr. W. E. Carruth.<br />

On April 7, 1918, <strong>the</strong> War Department<br />

opened U.S. General Hospital No. 15 <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Beach Hotel to serve as a convalescent<br />

facility. Less than a year later, on February<br />

28, 1919, it closed, and all patients were<br />

transferred to Camp Travis, Texas.<br />

8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Late <strong>in</strong> 1918 <strong>the</strong> flu pandemic hit<br />

Corpus Christi. On October 26 <strong>the</strong>re<br />

were 475 people <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city with <strong>the</strong> flu,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>re had been 21 deaths <strong>in</strong> two<br />

weeks. Many normal activities were suspended.<br />

People were advised to avoid<br />

crowds, to refra<strong>in</strong> from spitt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> public<br />

places, and to avoid us<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> common<br />

towel. The city council closed movie <strong>the</strong>aters<br />

and public dances. Schools closed,<br />

as did poolrooms, dom<strong>in</strong>o parlors, and<br />

soda founta<strong>in</strong>s. Restaurants were required<br />

to move tables at least five feet apart <strong>in</strong><br />

order to stay open. The Red Cross gave<br />

out white gauze masks for workers, and a<br />

soup kitchen at Central High School fed<br />

those too weak to cook for <strong>the</strong>mselves.<br />

On November 11 World War I came to an<br />

end and, a few days later, <strong>the</strong> flu epidemic<br />

subsided, and life returned to normal.<br />

Almost a year later a terrible hurricane<br />

hit <strong>the</strong> city. Its w<strong>in</strong>d speed was only 112<br />

miles per hour, but it pushed a fourteenfoot<br />

wall <strong>of</strong> water <strong>in</strong> front <strong>of</strong> it. Ships at<br />

sea had sent reports, but <strong>the</strong> citizens <strong>of</strong><br />

Corpus Christi were not alarmed. In 1916<br />

a storm had caused m<strong>in</strong>imal damage<br />

to <strong>the</strong> city. But 1919 was different. On<br />

September 14 <strong>the</strong> storm struck, crush<strong>in</strong>g<br />

docks, houses, and build<strong>in</strong>gs below <strong>the</strong><br />

bluff. Dr. Carruth and his family were at<br />

his sanitarium when <strong>the</strong> water suddenly<br />

❖ Patriotic parades greeted <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

‘Great War.’<br />


❖ Dr. Spohn and passenger <strong>in</strong> his Cadillac.<br />


C h a p t e r 2 ✦ 9

❖ Spohn Sanitarium on “North Beach”.<br />


❖ Shell Beach Sanitarium was operated <strong>by</strong> Dr. W. E. Carruth.<br />


1 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

egan to rise. They had lost hope when a<br />

24-foot sailboat washed over <strong>the</strong> fence<br />

and <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong>ir yard. Thirteen people,<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Carruths, boarded <strong>the</strong> boat<br />

as his build<strong>in</strong>g collapsed. Fortunately,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y found four buckets, enabl<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to bail water until <strong>the</strong> boat landed on <strong>the</strong><br />

south shore <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> Bay. Carruth was<br />

conv<strong>in</strong>ced that <strong>the</strong> boat came from God.<br />

At Spohn Sanitarium twelve patients,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sisters, <strong>the</strong> chapla<strong>in</strong>, eight employees,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>ir relatives crowded <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong><br />

chapel. The waters <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi Bay<br />

and <strong>Nueces</strong> Bay met, and <strong>the</strong> build<strong>in</strong>g<br />

began to rock. Fa<strong>the</strong>r Jaillet recited <strong>the</strong><br />

Rosary constantly. About six o’clock <strong>the</strong><br />

north w<strong>in</strong>g was swept away. Sister Theis,<br />

nurse Theresa Reece, and two patients<br />

drowned <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> rag<strong>in</strong>g waters. While <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong>ficial death toll <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> storm was set at<br />

284, estimates ranged as high as 600.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> hurricane North Beach was<br />

decimated. Spohn Sanitarium was a<br />

water-soaked shell. Once aga<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Kenedys and Klebergs were on hand with<br />

support. John G. Kenedy and his wife<br />

gave up <strong>the</strong>ir home for use <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sisters<br />

and <strong>the</strong>ir patients. Alice Kleberg began<br />

fund-rais<strong>in</strong>g for a new facility, and her<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r gave five acres <strong>of</strong> land, near <strong>the</strong><br />

bay and above <strong>the</strong> bluff, for a new hospital.<br />

The build<strong>in</strong>g was established at Ayers<br />

and Third streets with fifty beds on three<br />

floors. The $175,000 facility was blessed<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Most Reverend E. Ledv<strong>in</strong>a on<br />

August 25, 1923. That same year it<br />

acquired a Class A rat<strong>in</strong>g from <strong>the</strong><br />

American College <strong>of</strong> Surgeons and a rat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best hospitals <strong>in</strong> Texas.<br />

And, like his fa<strong>the</strong>r, Dr. Harry G. Heaney<br />

admitted <strong>the</strong> first patient and performed<br />

<strong>the</strong> first operation <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

❖ Spohn Sanitarium after <strong>the</strong> 1919 hurricane.<br />


❖ Henrietta K<strong>in</strong>g gave land for a new hospital.<br />


❖ John G. Kenedy and his wife let <strong>the</strong>ir home be used <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sisters after <strong>the</strong> storm.<br />


❖ The new Spohn Hospital above <strong>the</strong> bluff.<br />


C h a p t e r 2 ✦ 1 1

❖ In <strong>the</strong> early 1940s Sister Adelaide checks <strong>the</strong> babies <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Spohn Hospital nursery.<br />


C H A P T E R 3<br />


In spite <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> death and destruction<br />

<strong>the</strong> hurricane caused, it could be considered<br />

a bless<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> disguise. The storm<br />

illustrated <strong>the</strong> need for a protected deepwater<br />

port <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> central Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico<br />

and led to <strong>the</strong> decision to locate it at<br />

Corpus Christi. The port and <strong>the</strong> subsequent<br />

discovery <strong>of</strong> oil <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> area would<br />

change Corpus Christi from a sleepy fish<strong>in</strong>g<br />

village to a major city. This <strong>in</strong> turn<br />

would mean an <strong>in</strong>creased number <strong>of</strong><br />

medical facilities for its citizens.<br />

In 1924 Dr. George Wyche was society<br />

president, and <strong>in</strong> 1964 he rem<strong>in</strong>isced<br />

about <strong>the</strong> earlier times. He said that at<br />

that time “<strong>the</strong>re was friction among <strong>the</strong><br />

doctors here—th<strong>in</strong>gs were not as <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

now. When I came here <strong>in</strong> 1923, <strong>the</strong> society<br />

had not met <strong>in</strong> many moons, and<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctors were wear<strong>in</strong>g sixshooters<br />

on <strong>the</strong>ir hips. There were only<br />

fifteen or twenty <strong>of</strong> us <strong>the</strong>n. So I got <strong>the</strong><br />

boys toge<strong>the</strong>r, gave <strong>the</strong>m a little pep<br />

talk—and <strong>the</strong>y agreed to park <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

artillery at <strong>the</strong> front desk.”<br />

All was not peaceful <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city, however.<br />

Political rivalries and <strong>the</strong> controversial<br />

circumstances <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1920s led to a<br />

tragedy that brought about <strong>the</strong> establishment<br />

<strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r hospital.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> 1920s <strong>the</strong> Ku Klux Klan had<br />

made a resurgence <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> South, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

South Texas, but <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

race was not <strong>the</strong> issue. The group was<br />

formed <strong>in</strong> opposition to Judge Walter<br />

Timon, <strong>the</strong> county’s political boss.<br />

Because Timon and many <strong>of</strong> his supporters<br />

were Catholic and <strong>the</strong> Klansmen<br />

Protestant, some felt that <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

religious facets to <strong>the</strong> conflict, but o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

dismissed that aspect. Frank C. Allen, Jr.,<br />

whose fa<strong>the</strong>r, along with Frank Roberts,<br />

was among <strong>the</strong> Klan leaders, considered it<br />

purely political.<br />

On October 14, 1922, Sheriff Frank<br />

Rob<strong>in</strong>son and a deputy, Joe Acebo, fatally<br />

shot Roberts, a prom<strong>in</strong>ent real estate dealer.<br />

The two were later acquitted <strong>of</strong> all<br />

charges, but <strong>the</strong> Klan built <strong>the</strong> Fred<br />

Roberts Memorial Hospital as a memorial<br />

to its sla<strong>in</strong> member.<br />

1 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> circumstances <strong>of</strong> its<br />

found<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>the</strong> hospital was badly needed.<br />

Spohn Sanitarium could not accommodate<br />

all those who needed care. In August<br />

1924 an emergency hospital was opened<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> residence <strong>of</strong> Mrs. Ed R. Sizer, Jr.,<br />

at 507 N. Tancahua. She planned to<br />

take <strong>in</strong> a few private patients, but even<br />

her large home was <strong>in</strong>adequate. When <strong>the</strong><br />

Fred Roberts Hospital opened on October<br />

31, 1928, Mrs. Sizer closed her doors<br />

and became <strong>the</strong> hospital’s super<strong>in</strong>tendent.<br />

By 1929 it had a staff <strong>of</strong> twenty doctors<br />

and seventeen nurses and a laboratory<br />

under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> Dr. J. V. Blair.<br />

In 1928 a recently married doctor,<br />

C. P. Jasperson, and his nurse wife were<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g for a place to open his practice.<br />

A veteran <strong>of</strong> World War I, Dr. Jasperson had<br />

grown up and been educated <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Midwest but had started a pediatric cl<strong>in</strong>ic<br />

at The Lihue Hospital on <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong><br />

Kauai, Hawaii, before his marriage. Perhaps<br />

it was <strong>the</strong> Hawaiian climate that encouraged<br />

<strong>the</strong> couple to seek a warm climate, and<br />

after visit<strong>in</strong>g Houston, San Antonio, and<br />

Ed<strong>in</strong>burg, Texas, he decided on Corpus<br />

Christi and opened his <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>in</strong> room 509 <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> new Nixon Build<strong>in</strong>g on Leopard Street.<br />

The city’s population was 25,000.<br />

Medical Society and served as its president<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1941. In 1940 he became president<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas State Pediatric Society.<br />

At some times, <strong>in</strong> those days, <strong>the</strong><br />

unemployment rate was 25 percent, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> doctor <strong>of</strong>ten received garden produce,<br />

shrimp, or oysters <strong>in</strong>stead <strong>of</strong> cash<br />

payment for his services.<br />

Dr. McIver Furman was president <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> medical society <strong>in</strong> 1934. He recalled<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g on one cold w<strong>in</strong>ter morn<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

North Beach, where a woman <strong>in</strong> labor<br />

was desperately ill. He put her <strong>in</strong> his car<br />

and raced toward Spohn Hospital but did<br />

not make it. While <strong>the</strong> ba<strong>by</strong> was delivered<br />

<strong>in</strong> his car, he pressed on <strong>the</strong> horn, hop<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to attract enough attention to get some<br />

help. Instead he was scolded for be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

so noisy. The next time he got such a call,<br />

he called for a taxi for <strong>the</strong> patient.<br />

❖ Fred Roberts Hospital resulted from a feud.<br />


The Medical-Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Hospital,<br />

located on <strong>the</strong> top floor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical-<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Build<strong>in</strong>g, also opened <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

1920s. Instead <strong>of</strong> hav<strong>in</strong>g a regular staff, it<br />

was open to all practic<strong>in</strong>g physicians <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> local area.<br />

As Spohn Sanitarium’s focus changed<br />

from long-term care to treatment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

critically ill, <strong>in</strong> 1930 <strong>the</strong> name was<br />

changed to Spohn Hospital. Because <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was no formal nurs<strong>in</strong>g program <strong>in</strong> South<br />

Texas, <strong>the</strong> Sisters established <strong>the</strong> Spohn<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Nurs<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> 1926. The nurses<br />

lived <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital build<strong>in</strong>g for two<br />

years, but Dr. Henry Redmond, first dean<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school, realized that <strong>the</strong> facilities<br />

were <strong>in</strong>adequate and <strong>of</strong>fered his old home<br />

on Broadway, which was transferred to <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital grounds. Six nurses graduated <strong>in</strong><br />

1930. However, <strong>by</strong> 1935 <strong>the</strong> hospital was<br />

so crowded that <strong>the</strong> school was closed.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r local doctors gave <strong>the</strong> new specialist<br />

little or no consideration. At that<br />

time family practitioners said pediatricians<br />

weren’t needed. “We take care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

babies,” <strong>the</strong>y said.<br />

This changed, however, when <strong>the</strong><br />

daughter <strong>of</strong> a fish<strong>in</strong>g guide—a man who<br />

later helped President Frankl<strong>in</strong> Roosevelt<br />

catch some tarpon—became critically ill.<br />

The family doctor said he had done all<br />

he could for her. Friends recommended<br />

<strong>the</strong> family try this new “ba<strong>by</strong> doctor.”<br />

Dr. Jasperson adm<strong>in</strong>istered parenteral fluids,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> child rapidly recovered. From<br />

that time on he had a large, loyal practice.<br />

He was a solo practitioner, on call twentyfour<br />

hours a day for forty years.<br />

Dr. Jasperson helped organize and<br />

served as first president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi Pediatric Society. He also held<br />

many <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

❖ Early-day pediatrician Dr. Charles<br />

Lewis Conckl<strong>in</strong>.<br />


A second “ba<strong>by</strong> doctor,” Dr. Joseph<br />

McBride Sloan, came to town <strong>in</strong> 1934,<br />

and, <strong>in</strong> 1937, Dr. Charles Lewis Conckl<strong>in</strong><br />

became <strong>the</strong> third. Because his wife had a<br />

mitral valve disorder from rheumatic<br />

fever, doctors recommended that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

locate <strong>in</strong> a sou<strong>the</strong>rn region—Florida,<br />

Texas, or California. He opened an <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

on <strong>the</strong> second floor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Build<strong>in</strong>g on Chaparral Street.<br />

Family doctors <strong>in</strong> those days were still<br />

reluctant to refer <strong>the</strong>ir “little ones” to <strong>the</strong><br />

specialists, and he and Dr. Sloan endured<br />

C h a p t e r 3 ✦ 1 3

❖ Campfire Girls weigh<strong>in</strong>g a ‘ba<strong>by</strong>’ at <strong>the</strong> Girls Friendly Cl<strong>in</strong>ic.<br />


a difficult f<strong>in</strong>ancial situation for a couple<br />

<strong>of</strong> years. “Joe told me it was two years<br />

before he earned enough to meet his<br />

expenses,” Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said.<br />

The doctors volunteered <strong>the</strong>ir services<br />

to treat patients at <strong>the</strong> Girls’ Friendly<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic, created <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Episcopal Church<br />

women. Alice Overton kept <strong>the</strong> charts<br />

<strong>the</strong>re and served as receptionist and nurse.<br />

In 1936 Dr. Furman suggested that a<br />

“City-<strong>County</strong> Health Unit” be formed. The<br />

State <strong>of</strong> Texas had agreed to pay half <strong>the</strong><br />

expense, estimated at $20,000, for two fulltime<br />

doctors tra<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> public health work,<br />

a sanitary eng<strong>in</strong>eer, and a clerk. The funds<br />

were also to provide for drugs, a health<br />

education campaign, and a venereal disease<br />

campaign. The Medical Society endorsed<br />

<strong>the</strong> plan, and <strong>the</strong> unit was established.<br />

The next year Spohn Hospital opened<br />

a fifty-room addition, and, <strong>in</strong> 1938,<br />

Mrs. Sam E. Wilson, wife <strong>of</strong> a prom<strong>in</strong>ent<br />

oilman, founded <strong>the</strong> Crippled Children’s<br />

Hospital Medical Center, Inc., to treat<br />

victims <strong>of</strong> cerebral palsy. The first center<br />

<strong>of</strong> its type <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States, it was <strong>the</strong><br />

first hospital <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> to be<br />

approved <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> American Medical<br />

Association. The medical director was<br />

Dr. K. J. Kemp. In 1942 <strong>the</strong> Ada Wilson<br />

School was added, because Mrs. Wilson<br />

wanted <strong>the</strong> children to make academic as<br />

well as physical progress. All treatment<br />

was outpatient until 1947, when <strong>in</strong>patient<br />

facilities were added.<br />

Two California physicians, Dr. James<br />

M. Tyre, Sr., and Dr. Boyd Henry, came to<br />

Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1939 and opened a 10-<br />

bed facility known as <strong>the</strong> B. D. Henry<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic and located at 1202 Third. Later a<br />

group <strong>of</strong> osteopaths reorganized it as <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Osteopathic Hospital and<br />

<strong>the</strong> five doctors who made up <strong>the</strong> board<br />

❖ Ada Wilson.<br />


❖ Left to right: Dr. McIver Furman, Mrs. Ada Wilson, and architect Richard S. Colley, at <strong>the</strong> groundbreak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Ada Wilson Hospital.<br />


1 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

donated <strong>the</strong>ir stock and made it a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitution. The site became <strong>in</strong>adequate<br />

and <strong>in</strong> 1962 patients were moved<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a new 48-bed facility at 1502 Tarlton.<br />

George O’Byrne became <strong>the</strong> fourth<br />

pediatrician <strong>in</strong> town when he arrived<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1940. Dr. Edw<strong>in</strong> Danford, ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

pediatrician, also arrived <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi <strong>in</strong> 1940. He had been <strong>in</strong>spired<br />

to become a doctor because <strong>of</strong> a bro<strong>the</strong>r<br />

who had a clubfoot, and he also overcame<br />

physical problems. He had spent<br />

a year and a half <strong>in</strong> a tuberculosis sanitarium<br />

and also suffered from diabetes.<br />

In 1946 Dr. Danford was jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>by</strong><br />

Dr. Meyer Kurzner, who had tra<strong>in</strong>ed with<br />

him at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> C<strong>in</strong>c<strong>in</strong>nati.<br />

In 1940, when Dr. E. T. Bickley was<br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society, a prenatal<br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ic and a well-ba<strong>by</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic were<br />

established. “We doctors rarely saw a well<br />

ba<strong>by</strong> before that,” Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said.<br />

“And we set up <strong>the</strong> prenatal cl<strong>in</strong>ic <strong>in</strong><br />

order to see patients dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> first<br />

months <strong>of</strong> pregnancy. Rarely did such a<br />

patient come <strong>in</strong> for exam<strong>in</strong>ations and care<br />

until she was near to term. Usually, her<br />

husband came <strong>in</strong>, paid $5 down, and<br />

promised $35 more when <strong>the</strong> ba<strong>by</strong> was<br />

delivered. Midwives were do<strong>in</strong>g a thriv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess—and we were starv<strong>in</strong>g. The<br />

mortality rate was high.”<br />

❖ Ada Wilson Rehabilitation Hospital.<br />


❖ Kathy Hall, left, occupational <strong>the</strong>rapist assistant supervisor, and Jackie Gave, <strong>the</strong>rapist, help visitor Jim Russell<br />

see what a young patient experiences.<br />


Until late 1940 all specimens for<br />

pathologic exam<strong>in</strong>ation were sent to<br />

Terrell Laboratory <strong>in</strong> Fort Worth. At that<br />

time Dr. John Pilcher arrived and began<br />

to serve all <strong>the</strong> hospitals <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> area from<br />

an <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

Build<strong>in</strong>g. Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said <strong>of</strong> his <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> same build<strong>in</strong>g, on <strong>the</strong> side away<br />

from <strong>the</strong> prevail<strong>in</strong>g sou<strong>the</strong>ast w<strong>in</strong>ds,<br />

“It had only one good feature. It was next<br />

to Dr. Pilcher’s Laboratory.”<br />

Eventually o<strong>the</strong>r doctors started referr<strong>in</strong>g<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r patients to <strong>the</strong> pediatricians.<br />

Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> told Dr. Gordon Heaney<br />

that he would “take care <strong>of</strong> any rugrats he<br />

didn’t want. I had a sizable practice right<br />

away.” Even so, he said, “it took two years<br />

for me to be able to pay my <strong>of</strong>fice bills,<br />

though, and I never did make any money<br />

because I kept tak<strong>in</strong>g care <strong>of</strong> kids whose<br />

parents couldn’t pay. Didn’t even own my<br />

own home till I was 68.”<br />

He said he treated children from birth<br />

to age 16, but <strong>the</strong>y didn’t want to leave<br />

his care.<br />

“I didn’t deliver babies but caught<br />

<strong>the</strong>m on <strong>the</strong> second bounce,” he said.<br />

“I loved every one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1940s tuberculosis was still<br />

a major health threat. On March 28,<br />

1943, Judge Brown<strong>in</strong>g formally presented<br />

<strong>the</strong> key to Hilltop Hospital, <strong>the</strong><br />

Tuberculosis Hospital <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

C h a p t e r 3 ✦ 1 5

❖ The Tuberculosis Hospital under construction.<br />


❖ In an emergency beds were set up <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> hall.<br />


to Dr. C. A. Hearne, president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Tuberculosis Association.<br />

At that time <strong>the</strong> hospital consisted <strong>of</strong> a<br />

three-room house and four one-room<br />

build<strong>in</strong>gs, all connected <strong>by</strong> a wide service<br />

porch where more beds could be set up<br />

<strong>in</strong> an emergency. The first patient was<br />

admitted <strong>in</strong> April. Mrs. D. D. Blades was<br />

nurse-housekeeper-director, Dr. McIver<br />

Furman donated his time as medical<br />

director, and Dr. L. M. Garrett took care<br />

<strong>of</strong> X-ray treatments.<br />

1 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ After <strong>the</strong> 1941 Pearl Harbor attack new enlistees l<strong>in</strong>ed up on Starr Street <strong>in</strong> downtown Corpus Christi.<br />


C H A P T E R 4<br />


After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on<br />

December 7, 1941, doctors, like o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Americans, rallied <strong>in</strong> defense <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

country. Seventy-five physicians on <strong>the</strong><br />

Spohn Hospital staff were called <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong><br />

military. Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

“I hitchhiked to San Antonio to jo<strong>in</strong><br />

up, <strong>the</strong>n got a ride back with a doctor<br />

friend who saw me stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road,” he said <strong>in</strong> a 2010<br />

<strong>in</strong>terview. The friend, a Dr. Priday, <strong>in</strong> a<br />

big Packard “gave me <strong>the</strong> ride <strong>of</strong> my life”<br />

back to Corpus Christi. “I was glad to get<br />

out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> car.”<br />

Asked <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> military what he wanted<br />

to do, he said, “Fly,” but an exam<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

<strong>in</strong> Victoria showed that he was colorbl<strong>in</strong>d.<br />

Fly<strong>in</strong>g was out, but he was told<br />

C h a p t e r 4 ✦ 1 7

❖ Ships like this braved German U-boats to enter<br />

<strong>the</strong> Port <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> war.<br />


❖ As medical <strong>of</strong>ficer on a destroyer, Dr. J. Gordon Bryson treated victims <strong>of</strong> frozen Aleutian warfare.<br />


“The Air Force needs you.” He became a<br />

flight surgeon after turn<strong>in</strong>g his practice,<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g his records and his <strong>of</strong>fice, over<br />

to Dr. Danford. He was sent to Europe,<br />

stationed first <strong>in</strong> Cornwall, England, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

at Orly Airport at Paris. Later he was sent<br />

to Cherbourg, which he called a “dismal,<br />

bor<strong>in</strong>g place.” As a flight surgeon, his job<br />

was to check pilots to make sure <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

fit to fly. He became friends with some, but<br />

those he had to “crash” became enemies.<br />

On one memorable occasion he was<br />

sent on a flight to Africa to get “real eggs<br />

and whiskey.” He was selected to make<br />

<strong>the</strong> trip because he was trustworthy. In<br />

Marrakech, Morocco, he found malaria,<br />

relaps<strong>in</strong>g fever, and amoebic dysentery,<br />

but he bought w<strong>in</strong>e, eggs, and oranges.<br />

“Fly<strong>in</strong>g back to Land’s End was a hairy<br />

adventure,” he said. They tried to land <strong>in</strong><br />

Ireland, but <strong>the</strong> base was socked <strong>in</strong>. After<br />

a stop <strong>in</strong> Prestwick, Scotland, <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

“greeted like heroes <strong>in</strong> Cornwall.”<br />

After <strong>the</strong> war Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> returned to<br />

San Antonio for release from service at<br />

Fort Sam Houston, where he received<br />

$300 <strong>in</strong> severance pay. His wife picked<br />

him up and he returned to Corpus Christi.<br />

Dr. Hans Heymann, president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Medical Society <strong>in</strong> 1968, was a Jew born<br />

<strong>in</strong> Germany. While he was <strong>in</strong> medical<br />

school <strong>in</strong> Heidelberg <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1930s, he<br />

received a letter tell<strong>in</strong>g him, “Although<br />

you are a Jew, you will be allowed to<br />

rema<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> school because your fa<strong>the</strong>r was<br />

an <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Werhmacht.”<br />

Angered, he took as much money as he<br />

could, rolled it <strong>in</strong> a toothpaste tube, and<br />

hiked over <strong>the</strong> mounta<strong>in</strong>s to Italy. He<br />

completed his medical education <strong>the</strong>re<br />

and, always feisty, left <strong>the</strong> Nazis a note,<br />

“What you <strong>of</strong>fer as a gift is m<strong>in</strong>e as a right,<br />

and I refuse to accept it.”<br />

His tw<strong>in</strong> sister, Gretel, was left beh<strong>in</strong>d <strong>in</strong><br />

Germany, but he managed to get her out<br />

when <strong>the</strong> borders were opened for <strong>the</strong> 1936<br />

Olympics. Dur<strong>in</strong>g World War II he served<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> U.S, military, mak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> trip across<br />

Burma <strong>in</strong>to Ch<strong>in</strong>a with General “V<strong>in</strong>egar<br />

Joe” Stilwell. It was difficult duty—<strong>the</strong>y<br />

built field hospitals from bamboo and<br />

abandoned <strong>the</strong>m as <strong>the</strong>y moved on.<br />

❖ As a flight surgeon Dr. Charles Lewis Conckl<strong>in</strong><br />

checked pilots <strong>of</strong> planes like <strong>the</strong>se.<br />


As a young lieutenant Dr. J. Gordon<br />

Bryson praised <strong>the</strong> Navy for its medical<br />

facilities dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> war, specifically<br />

blood plasma, sulfa, vitam<strong>in</strong>s, and immunizations.<br />

A native <strong>of</strong> Bastrop, Texas, and<br />

a 1939 graduate <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

Medical branch, he saw extensive service<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pacific as Medical Officer on a<br />

destroyer that fought <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> battles <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Coral <strong>Sea</strong>, Midway, and <strong>the</strong> Aleutians. In<br />

1943 he related one <strong>in</strong>cident that illustrated<br />

<strong>the</strong> motto “Br<strong>in</strong>g Them Back Alive.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Aleutians <strong>the</strong> ship fished a sailor<br />

out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> icy waters. Although <strong>the</strong> man<br />

1 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

World War II experiences brought pa<strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> a different sort—pa<strong>in</strong>ful nightmares—<br />

to ano<strong>the</strong>r Corpus Christi medical pioneer,<br />

war hero, and champion <strong>of</strong> education—Dr.<br />

Foy Moody, for whom Moody<br />

High School was named.<br />

❖ American troops advance shortly after <strong>the</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bulge.<br />


was stiff and appeared dead, <strong>the</strong>y began<br />

treatment, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g one unit <strong>of</strong> plasma.<br />

He began to show signs <strong>of</strong> life, so thirty<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes later, around 2:00 p.m., <strong>the</strong>y<br />

gave him ano<strong>the</strong>r unit <strong>of</strong> plasma. At<br />

6:00 p.m. Dr. Bryson went back to check<br />

on <strong>the</strong> patient. He was <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> galley,<br />

ask<strong>in</strong>g for someth<strong>in</strong>g to eat.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> more dramatic medical<br />

events <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> war was performed not <strong>by</strong> a<br />

Corpus Christi doctor but <strong>by</strong> a young<br />

Navy corpsman who would later have a<br />

long, successful term as a hospital adm<strong>in</strong>istrator<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city. He was Wheeler Lipes,<br />

who, as a pharmacist’s mate, performed<br />

an appendectomy on a fellow sailor on<br />

<strong>the</strong> submar<strong>in</strong>e <strong>Sea</strong>dragon <strong>in</strong> 1942 under<br />

<strong>the</strong> South Ch<strong>in</strong>a <strong>Sea</strong>. The successful<br />

operation was portrayed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1943 film<br />

Dest<strong>in</strong>ation Tokyo, starr<strong>in</strong>g Cary Grant<br />

Even doctors on <strong>the</strong> home front<br />

became victims <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> war. Dr. James<br />

Cott<strong>in</strong>gham told <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> birth<br />

<strong>of</strong> his younger bro<strong>the</strong>r and <strong>the</strong> problems<br />

<strong>of</strong> Dr. Blair.<br />

January 19, 1942, was a mandatory<br />

blackout <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

sight<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> a German submar<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico. “My younger bro<strong>the</strong>r, Lon<br />

Cott<strong>in</strong>gham, was born that night <strong>in</strong> Fred<br />

Roberts Hospital,” Dr. Cott<strong>in</strong>gham said.<br />

“The C. C. Caller-Times wrote an article<br />

about Dr. Blair hav<strong>in</strong>g to drive without<br />

headlights from <strong>the</strong> C. C. Yacht Club<br />

when my mo<strong>the</strong>r went <strong>in</strong>to labor. He ran<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> road, wreck<strong>in</strong>g his car, arriv<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital after my mo<strong>the</strong>r delivered.”<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r Corpus Christi doctor, Dr.<br />

H. Gordon Heaney, saw service <strong>in</strong> North<br />

Africa. In his first action he was rushed<br />

through artillery fire to <strong>the</strong> Tenth Field<br />

Hospital. He opened his medical supply<br />

trucks and found <strong>the</strong>m filled with French<br />

abortion <strong>in</strong>struments from World War I.<br />

“There wasn’t an <strong>in</strong>strument I could<br />

use. All we could do was put pressure<br />

on <strong>the</strong> wounds and call for a convoy<br />

<strong>of</strong> ambulances,” he said. “Nobody had<br />

<strong>in</strong>spected our medical supplies between<br />

<strong>the</strong> two world wars.”<br />

Dr. Heaney went through North<br />

Africa, Sicily, and Sou<strong>the</strong>rn France. Later<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g his medical career he visited<br />

much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> area on a world tour.<br />

Late <strong>in</strong> his life he suffered a broken back.<br />

“I was on a half-track once that ran<br />

over a German m<strong>in</strong>e,” he said. “Three<br />

<strong>of</strong> my men up front suffered broken<br />

backs. I can now sympathize with <strong>the</strong><br />

pa<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>y endured.”<br />

❖ Dr. Foy Moody was haunted <strong>by</strong> his<br />

wartime memories.<br />


Dr. Moody had moved to Corpus<br />

Christi <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1930s and built <strong>the</strong> Moody<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic but left his practice to jo<strong>in</strong> a U.S.<br />

Army surgical team dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> war. His<br />

unit was <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Bulge. He told <strong>of</strong> operat<strong>in</strong>g eighteen<br />

hours without rest <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>adequate facilities<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r wartime horrors. One <strong>of</strong> his<br />

frequent postwar nightmares was <strong>of</strong> a<br />

soldier whose wound had destroyed his<br />

right kidney. After surgeons removed <strong>the</strong><br />

kidney, <strong>the</strong>y checked to see if his left<br />

kidney was damaged. The young casualty<br />

had no left kidney.<br />

Yet ano<strong>the</strong>r South Texas doctor served<br />

with dist<strong>in</strong>ction <strong>in</strong> Italy. He returned<br />

home with <strong>the</strong> rank <strong>of</strong> major, a Bronze<br />

Star with six battle stars, a lovely Italian<br />

wife, and a daunt<strong>in</strong>g set <strong>of</strong> challenges.<br />

His name—Hector Perez Garcia.<br />

C h a p t e r 4 ✦ 1 9

❖ Dr. Garcia with his wife outside <strong>the</strong> White House after he received <strong>the</strong> Presidential Medal <strong>of</strong> Freedom <strong>in</strong> 1984.<br />


C H A P T E R 5<br />

DR. HECTOR<br />

Hector Perez Garcia was born <strong>in</strong><br />

Mexico on January 17, 1914, to Jose and<br />

Faust<strong>in</strong>a Garcia, who fled from <strong>the</strong><br />

Mexican Revolution <strong>in</strong> 1917 and settled<br />

<strong>in</strong> Mercedes, Texas, <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rio Grande<br />

Valley. He had lifelong memories <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

guns <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> war.<br />

Liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions for <strong>the</strong> family were<br />

grim <strong>in</strong> those Depression days—<strong>the</strong><br />

Garcia children picked cotton, packed<br />

oranges, and foraged for fruit discarded<br />

<strong>in</strong> pack<strong>in</strong>g sheds. They also faced prejudice—schools<br />

punished children for<br />

speak<strong>in</strong>g Spanish, and <strong>the</strong> Texas Rangers<br />

raided <strong>the</strong>ir home. They had no medical<br />

care, and Hector’s four-year-old sister,<br />

Dalia, died from burns after fall<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to a<br />

pit <strong>of</strong> builders’ lime.<br />

Jose Garcia, a pr<strong>of</strong>essor who ran a dry<br />

goods store, was determ<strong>in</strong>ed that his children<br />

would become doctors. “You can<br />

help o<strong>the</strong>r people, and you’ll be <strong>in</strong>dependent,”<br />

he said. “No one can take a<br />

doctor’s job away.” He sold his life <strong>in</strong>surance<br />

to pay for his children’s education.<br />

To help pay his expenses, Hector<br />

hitchhiked to San Antonio every summer<br />

to take part <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Civilian Military<br />

Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Corps, which earned him a commission<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Army. Although <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

1930s Texas medical schools accepted<br />

only one Mexican-American per year,<br />

he earned his medical degree at <strong>the</strong><br />

University <strong>of</strong> Texas at Galveston. Even<br />

as an Army <strong>of</strong>ficer he encountered<br />

prejudice. He was asked, “What medical<br />

school did you graduate from? In Spa<strong>in</strong>?<br />

In Mexico? In South America?”<br />

They were surprised, he said, when he<br />

told <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> answer.<br />

Although Dr. Garcia returned from <strong>the</strong><br />

war a highly decorated hero, he found <strong>the</strong><br />

same anti-Hispanic prejudices his family<br />

had faced <strong>in</strong> earlier years. His first <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

was next to <strong>the</strong> Veterans Adm<strong>in</strong>istration<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice. He had no air-condition<strong>in</strong>g, no car,<br />

and sometimes took a bus to his patients’<br />

homes to perform home surgeries or<br />

deliveries for a fee <strong>of</strong> $1 to $3. Many <strong>of</strong><br />

his patients were veterans who suffered<br />

from malaria, dysentery, beriberi, or war<br />

<strong>in</strong>juries. One case <strong>in</strong> particular <strong>in</strong>volved a<br />

veteran named Jesus Ramos, who was suffer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from stomach pa<strong>in</strong>s. He consulted<br />

a physician who sent him to <strong>the</strong> V. A.<br />

From <strong>the</strong>re he was sent to <strong>the</strong> Naval Air<br />

Station. A doctor <strong>the</strong>re felt his stomach<br />

and told him to return. He went to <strong>the</strong><br />

first doctor, and <strong>the</strong> entire scenario was<br />

repeated. On his second trip to <strong>the</strong> base<br />

2 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

hospital, he was told he needed a letter<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Veterans Adm<strong>in</strong>istration <strong>in</strong> San<br />

Antonio. F<strong>in</strong>ally he went to Dr. Garcia,<br />

who treated him and po<strong>in</strong>ted out <strong>in</strong> a<br />

letter to <strong>the</strong> V. A., “…Mr. Ramos was<br />

suffer<strong>in</strong>g from pa<strong>in</strong>. Had it been appendicitis,<br />

he would not be liv<strong>in</strong>g now.”<br />

On March 26, 1948, Dr. Garcia called a<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g to address <strong>the</strong> concerns <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexican-American veterans about <strong>the</strong> discrim<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

<strong>the</strong>y still faced. This meet<strong>in</strong>g<br />

developed <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> American GI Forum,<br />

<strong>the</strong> name chosen to emphasize <strong>the</strong> fact that<br />

<strong>the</strong> Forum’s participants were American<br />

citizens entitled to <strong>the</strong>ir constitutional<br />

rights. At first <strong>the</strong> organization focused on<br />

veterans’ affairs, but soon o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong>stances<br />

<strong>of</strong> prejudice turned his and <strong>the</strong> organization’s<br />

attention to civil rights.<br />

won’t like it.” Dr. Garcia called on <strong>the</strong><br />

GI Forum and <strong>the</strong>n Senator Lyndon B.<br />

Johnson, and with <strong>the</strong>ir assistance,<br />

Private Longoria became <strong>the</strong> first<br />

Mexican-American to be buried <strong>in</strong><br />

Arl<strong>in</strong>gton National Cemetery. The <strong>in</strong>cident<br />

highlighted <strong>the</strong> treatment <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexican-Americans <strong>in</strong> South Texas and<br />

led to last<strong>in</strong>g friendship and cooperation<br />

between Dr. Hector and Lyndon Johnson.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> Longoria <strong>in</strong>cident is probably<br />

<strong>the</strong> most famous <strong>of</strong> his battles, he had<br />

notable victories aga<strong>in</strong>st discrim<strong>in</strong>ation <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> medical field <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />

bed <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> “Mexican male” ward, but all<br />

beds <strong>the</strong>re were filled. He asked hospital<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials why <strong>the</strong>y didn’t put him <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

“Anglo” ward, where <strong>the</strong>re were two<br />

empty beds. After some discussion this<br />

was done.<br />

In a report <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>cident he wrote on<br />

February 9, Dr. Garcia also raised <strong>the</strong><br />

question <strong>of</strong> a Hispanic on <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

staff. “At this time,” he wrote, “I mentioned<br />

also <strong>the</strong> fact that we had been<br />

promised consideration <strong>of</strong> a Lat<strong>in</strong> member<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital and as yet had not<br />

received any consideration.”<br />

❖ Dr. Garcia relaxes <strong>in</strong> his <strong>of</strong>fice.<br />


❖ Dr. Hector P. Garcia, physician and founder <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> American GI Forum.<br />


In <strong>the</strong> Felix Longoria <strong>in</strong>cident,<br />

Dr. Garcia brought national attention to<br />

<strong>the</strong>se problems. Felix Longoria was a<br />

soldier from Three Rivers, Texas, who had<br />

been killed <strong>by</strong> a sniper <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Philipp<strong>in</strong>es<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g World War II. In 1949 his body<br />

was returned home for burial, but The<br />

New York Times reported that his widow<br />

had been refused <strong>the</strong> services <strong>of</strong> a Three<br />

Rivers funeral chapel because “<strong>the</strong> whites<br />

In 1944 Memorial Hospital was<br />

opened <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi and<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> as a memorial to World<br />

War dead. It was a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it <strong>in</strong>stitution,<br />

f<strong>in</strong>anced <strong>by</strong> its pay<strong>in</strong>g patients, with <strong>the</strong><br />

balance from public funds, split evenly<br />

between <strong>the</strong> city and <strong>the</strong> county. Even<br />

though it was to be a general hospital<br />

with no barriers as to race, creed, age, or<br />

economic status, it ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed all-Anglo<br />

and all-m<strong>in</strong>ority wards. In February 1949<br />

Dr. Garcia went to Memorial to treat two<br />

patients. At <strong>the</strong> hospital he found a<br />

Mexican-American ranch hand, Jose<br />

Samudio, <strong>in</strong> a bed <strong>in</strong> a hallway. He was<br />

told that <strong>the</strong>y were try<strong>in</strong>g to get ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

At that time discrim<strong>in</strong>ation was also<br />

widespread <strong>in</strong> South Texas school districts.<br />

For example, <strong>the</strong> Driscoll district<br />

required all students with a Spanish surname<br />

to spend three years <strong>in</strong> a segregated<br />

first-grade class, regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

ability to speak English. Parents <strong>of</strong> L<strong>in</strong>da<br />

Perez refused to let her speak Spanish<br />

at all, but she was still placed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

segregated class. GI Forum member<br />

James De Anda, later a federal judge,<br />

took <strong>the</strong> case to court and won,<br />

although, he said, “I had to pay <strong>the</strong> cost<br />

<strong>of</strong> depositions out <strong>of</strong> my own pocket.”<br />

Dr. Garcia was recuperat<strong>in</strong>g from an illness,<br />

listen<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>the</strong> radio, when he heard<br />

C h a p t e r 5 ✦ 2 1

His national and <strong>in</strong>ternational achievements<br />

were phenomenal. President Johnson<br />

appo<strong>in</strong>ted him to <strong>the</strong> National Advisory<br />

Council on Economic Opportunity and<br />

later as alternate U.S. ambassador to <strong>the</strong><br />

United Nations, where he gave <strong>the</strong> first<br />

speech <strong>by</strong> an American <strong>in</strong> a language o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

than English. In 1972 he was appo<strong>in</strong>ted to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Advisory Committee on Civil<br />

Rights. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan<br />

awarded him <strong>the</strong> Presidential Medal <strong>of</strong><br />

Freedom, <strong>the</strong> highest honor <strong>the</strong> President<br />

can give a civilian.<br />

❖<br />

Dr. Garcia with President Ronald Reagan <strong>in</strong> 1983, when <strong>the</strong> president spoke at <strong>the</strong> American GI Forum <strong>in</strong> El Paso.<br />


school super<strong>in</strong>tendents from S<strong>in</strong>ton and<br />

Beeville both say that <strong>the</strong>y segregated<br />

Mexican-American students. “I made a<br />

vow to myself,” he said, “that if I fully<br />

recovered my health, I would spend <strong>the</strong><br />

rest <strong>of</strong> my life work<strong>in</strong>g on behalf <strong>of</strong><br />

my people.”<br />

And he did. His patients <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1940s<br />

came from Corpus Christi barrios. They<br />

were Mexican-Americans with a median<br />

annual <strong>in</strong>come <strong>of</strong> $1,134. An average <strong>of</strong><br />

209 Mexican-Americans out <strong>of</strong> 100,000<br />

died <strong>of</strong> tuberculosis, compared to<br />

31 Anglos. Infant diarrhea accounted for<br />

37 percent <strong>of</strong> Mexican-American deaths,<br />

compared to 7 percent for Anglos, and<br />

67.2 percent <strong>of</strong> Mexican-Americans lived<br />

<strong>in</strong> homes without <strong>in</strong>side flush toilets. Dr.<br />

Garcia provided medical care for <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>digent<br />

and led efforts to obta<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>door plumb<strong>in</strong>g<br />

where it was lack<strong>in</strong>g and to improve<br />

conditions for migrant farm laborers.<br />

❖ The Indigent Cl<strong>in</strong>ic at Memorial Medical Center<br />

was named for Dr. Garcia <strong>in</strong> 1993.<br />


His leadership <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> civil rights movement<br />

brought him a lengthy list <strong>of</strong> honors,<br />

both local and national. The ma<strong>in</strong> post<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi is named for him,<br />

and his statue stands <strong>in</strong> a courtyard at Texas<br />

A&M University-Corpus Christi. In 1993<br />

<strong>the</strong> once-segregated Memorial Medical<br />

Center named its <strong>in</strong>digent cl<strong>in</strong>ic for him.<br />

❖ Statue <strong>of</strong> Dr. Garcia stands <strong>in</strong> a courtyard at<br />

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.<br />


Dr. Garcia took pride <strong>in</strong> work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> system. In 1993, three years<br />

before his death on July 26, 1996, he<br />

told The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “The<br />

biggest impact that I had was that I never<br />

pushed or favored any demonstrations or<br />

revolt to tear down <strong>the</strong> system. I always<br />

thought <strong>the</strong> system would work with us.”<br />

2 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ Successful tuberculosis treatments meant fewer patients for Hilltop Hospital.<br />


C H A P T E R 6<br />


As <strong>the</strong> city cont<strong>in</strong>ued to grow after<br />

World War II, more medical facilities and<br />

services became available to its citizens.<br />

The Medical-Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Hospital on<br />

Chaparral ceased operation <strong>in</strong> 1954<br />

when Frankl<strong>in</strong> Flato and his sons,<br />

Fred and Robert, opened a $5 million<br />

Corpus Christi Medical Center on a<br />

three-acre tract on Morgan Avenue across<br />

from Memorial.<br />

Two privately owned hospitals opened<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> late 1940s. The Ghormly<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic, operated <strong>by</strong> Dr. W. H. Ghormly,<br />

opened <strong>in</strong> March 1947 <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> former Fred<br />

Roberts Hospital Build<strong>in</strong>g. It operated<br />

until 1956, when it was converted <strong>in</strong>to<br />

a nurs<strong>in</strong>g home. Dr. J. H. Thomas and<br />

Dr. Thomas Spann founded <strong>the</strong> Thomas-<br />

Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic and Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1949.<br />

Writ<strong>in</strong>g about Dr. Foy Moody, <strong>the</strong> 1947<br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society, <strong>in</strong> Coastal<br />

Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, September/October 2004,<br />

Dr. John M. E<strong>the</strong>ridge described those<br />

postwar years as “<strong>the</strong> Golden Age <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, before Medicare and after <strong>the</strong><br />

discovery <strong>of</strong> penicill<strong>in</strong>…malpractice <strong>in</strong>surance<br />

cost less than $100 a year; <strong>of</strong>fice visits<br />

were $3; OB care and delivery were $90<br />

for a female [<strong>in</strong>fant] and $100 for a male,<br />

because <strong>of</strong> circumcision; an appendectomy<br />

was $150; and a hysterectomy $250.”<br />

By 1948 <strong>the</strong> facilities at Hilltop, <strong>the</strong><br />

tuberculosis hospital, <strong>in</strong>creased from<br />

thirteen to twenty-four beds, and <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

spr<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> that year Hilltop Hospital<br />

became a <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>in</strong>stitution,<br />

operat<strong>in</strong>g under a six-man board. Dr.<br />

Walter C. Brown donated his time as<br />

medical director. Soon after that, <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Commissioners approved <strong>the</strong> use<br />

<strong>of</strong> streptomyc<strong>in</strong>, and it and o<strong>the</strong>r new<br />

drugs were used to treat <strong>the</strong> patients.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> 1950s <strong>the</strong> hospital was a firepro<strong>of</strong><br />

build<strong>in</strong>g with 104 beds, where<br />

patients could rema<strong>in</strong> for a full course <strong>of</strong><br />

treatment. In 1957 <strong>the</strong> board established a<br />

dental care program for <strong>in</strong>digent patients.<br />

But <strong>the</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new tuberculosis<br />

treatments meant a decrease <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> number<br />

<strong>of</strong> patients, and this lessened need, along<br />

with a lack <strong>of</strong> f<strong>in</strong>anc<strong>in</strong>g, led to <strong>the</strong> clos<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>of</strong> Hilltop. The Commissioners Court<br />

deeded ten acres <strong>of</strong> its grounds to <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> Hospital District to allow negotiations<br />

to lease <strong>the</strong> property to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Mental Health-Mental Retardation<br />

Center for use as a Mental Health Center.<br />

C h a p t e r 6 ✦ 2 3

Throughout <strong>the</strong> 1940s and early 1950s<br />

a terrify<strong>in</strong>g epidemic <strong>of</strong> poliomyelitis<br />

struck <strong>the</strong> country. Around <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong><br />

World War II, <strong>the</strong> twenty-three-year<br />

national average number <strong>of</strong> cases was<br />

6,000. A notable earlier victim <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n known primarily as <strong>in</strong>fantile<br />

paralysis, was future President Frankl<strong>in</strong><br />

D. Roosevelt, left with paralyzed legs <strong>in</strong><br />

1921, when he was thirty-n<strong>in</strong>e years old.<br />

<strong>the</strong> bulbar type, which left <strong>the</strong>m unable<br />

to brea<strong>the</strong>. In 1946 Memorial Hospital<br />

acquired two iron lungs, huge, tank-like<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>es that helped bulbar patients<br />

with respiration.<br />

In 1948 a meet<strong>in</strong>g was caused concern<strong>in</strong>g<br />

prevention <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dread disease. The<br />

Medical Society went on record as feel<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that attendance “at clean, well-supervised<br />

camps would not be dangerous, nor <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

use <strong>of</strong> swimm<strong>in</strong>g pools with chlor<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

water or at <strong>the</strong> beaches unless <strong>the</strong> City<br />

Health Department found <strong>the</strong> water to<br />

be contam<strong>in</strong>ated. It was announced that<br />

tonsillectomies would not be done at <strong>the</strong><br />

present time, and <strong>the</strong> extraction <strong>of</strong> teeth<br />

would be postponed as long as possible.”<br />

epidemic zone, and trash filled city garbage<br />

dumps <strong>in</strong> response to a cleanup order.<br />

By 1954 Dr. Jonas Salk had developed<br />

his polio vacc<strong>in</strong>e. Dr. Hugh Kennedy,<br />

Medical Society president that year,<br />

said, “All <strong>the</strong> problems had been solved,<br />

everybody loved everybody else, and<br />

Dr. Salk solved <strong>the</strong> polio problem. We all<br />

turned out for three all-day sessions at<br />

Exposition Hall and gave Salk vacc<strong>in</strong>e to<br />

thousands. It lasted very well.”<br />

❖ Dr. Frankl<strong>in</strong> Yeager was president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society <strong>in</strong> 1952 dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

polio epidemic.<br />


❖ Dr. Damon C. Bernwanger. His <strong>of</strong>fice was one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> first <strong>in</strong> town to use computerized bill<strong>in</strong>g.<br />


In <strong>the</strong> early 1940s <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> cases<br />

started to grow, and, <strong>by</strong> 1952, <strong>the</strong> national<br />

figure had soared to 57,879, with 3,145<br />

deaths. In 1943 Texas was <strong>the</strong> hardest hit<br />

state <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation, although <strong>the</strong> number<br />

<strong>of</strong> cases <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> state decl<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> next<br />

year. The situation was complicated <strong>by</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> fact that no one knew <strong>the</strong>n how <strong>the</strong><br />

disease was spread.<br />

Researchers discovered that <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

three different types <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> virus, and that<br />

immunity to one did not give protection<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs. Some patients had<br />

no paralysis, <strong>in</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>the</strong> limbs were<br />

affected, and still o<strong>the</strong>rs suffered from<br />

❖ Dr. W. R. Metzger.<br />


The epidemics cont<strong>in</strong>ued, and, <strong>in</strong> 1952,<br />

Dr. Frankl<strong>in</strong> Yeager, who was president<br />

<strong>of</strong> both <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association and<br />

<strong>the</strong> local Medical Society that year, said,<br />

“That summer polio was so prevalent all<br />

hospitals were taxed to capacity. We had to<br />

arrange for care <strong>of</strong> polio patients <strong>in</strong> homes.”<br />

At one time <strong>the</strong> Texas State Militia<br />

stopped traffic com<strong>in</strong>g from San Antonio to<br />

warn people that <strong>the</strong>y were enter<strong>in</strong>g an<br />

In 1962, while Dr. Jack McKemie was<br />

president, a mass immunization program<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Sab<strong>in</strong> oral vacc<strong>in</strong>e was held,<br />

underwritten <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society at<br />

a cost <strong>of</strong> $90,000. However, contributions<br />

covered it. There were only 910<br />

cases nationwide that year, and <strong>the</strong><br />

numbers cont<strong>in</strong>ued to drop, reach<strong>in</strong>g<br />

zero <strong>in</strong> 1987.<br />

A second pathologist, Dr. Joseph<br />

Pasternak, arrived <strong>in</strong> town <strong>in</strong> 1954. He<br />

became <strong>the</strong> pathologist for Spohn<br />

Hospital, while Dr. Pilcher served at<br />

Memorial, and a rivalry developed<br />

between <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

2 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> mentioned several o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

prom<strong>in</strong>ent physicians <strong>of</strong> this period. He<br />

described Dr. Jerome Nast as a “wonderful<br />

doctor.” Dr. Joseph Oshman was a rival<br />

pediatrician, and Dr. Metzger was <strong>the</strong> city<br />

doctor. O<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>in</strong>cluded surgeons Dr. O. S.<br />

Koepsel and Dr. Dutch Rogers, Dr. Kleberg<br />

Eckhardt, and Dr. Ralph V. St. John.<br />

At this time, Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said, most<br />

doctors smoked—but he went to <strong>the</strong> fire<br />

escape to do it. He smoked Fatima-rich<br />

Turkish tobacco. “It was hard,” he said,<br />

“but I gave it up.”<br />

The early 1950s saw a notable <strong>in</strong>crease<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> local pediatricians. Dr.<br />

Helen Woods, who had received her M.D.<br />

degree at Yale University, became <strong>the</strong> first<br />

female to jo<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> ranks. After she and her<br />

husband, Dr. Richard Woods, moved to<br />

Corpus Christi from K<strong>in</strong>gsville, she shared<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices with Drs. Conckl<strong>in</strong>, Jack McKemie,<br />

and George Flood. Dr. Richard Woods<br />

died prematurely from a hepatitis virus<br />

he contracted treat<strong>in</strong>g gunshot victims at<br />

Memorial Hospital. Dr. Mary McCaskey, a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first class to graduate from<br />

Baylor Medical School <strong>in</strong> Houston, also<br />

came that year, jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Dr. George O’Byrne.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r married couple, both pediatricians,<br />

were Drs. Norman and Hannah<br />

Woody. “They came to my <strong>of</strong>fice and asked<br />

if <strong>the</strong>re would be room for <strong>the</strong>m <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus,” Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said. “I told <strong>the</strong>m to<br />

come on…<strong>the</strong>y were top-notch pediatricians”<br />

After Dr. Norman Woody developed<br />

medical problems, <strong>the</strong>y both accepted<br />

teach<strong>in</strong>g positions at Tulane University.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> centennial edition <strong>of</strong> Coastal<br />

Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> Dr. Damon C. Bernwanger,<br />

❖ A polio patient <strong>in</strong> an iron lung is loaded onto a large truck to be moved.<br />


C h a p t e r 6 ✦ 2 5

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society <strong>in</strong> 1952,<br />

cited major changes <strong>in</strong> economics <strong>of</strong><br />

medical practice that began around 1954.<br />

Before that, he said, few patients had<br />

medical <strong>in</strong>surance and those that did had<br />

to fill out <strong>the</strong>ir own forms. He po<strong>in</strong>ted to<br />

changes <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> economy. At that time<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice visits were $4.00, an uncomplicated<br />

delivery was $40.00—and his liability<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance cost him just $75.00 per year.<br />

His <strong>of</strong>fice was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first <strong>in</strong> town<br />

to use computerized bill<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

“The only problem,” he wrote, “was<br />

that when <strong>the</strong> computer broke down<br />

(which was frequently, if I remember correctly)<br />

<strong>the</strong>re were no eng<strong>in</strong>eers <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi and <strong>the</strong>y would have to wait for<br />

one from San Antonio to come down. As<br />

you can imag<strong>in</strong>e, this created a tremendous<br />

delay <strong>in</strong> our bill<strong>in</strong>g process.”<br />

There were also important achievements<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g this period. Under <strong>the</strong><br />

direction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Pediatric<br />

Society, <strong>the</strong> Medical Society established a<br />

Poison Control Center <strong>in</strong> 1958, and <strong>in</strong><br />

1960 <strong>the</strong> Society established a Medical<br />

Scholarship Fund. The first recipient <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> $1,000 was Kir<strong>by</strong> Barker.<br />

In early 1961 ano<strong>the</strong>r pathologist,<br />

Dr. Joe A. Lewis, jo<strong>in</strong>ed Dr. Pasternak.<br />

Dr. Francis Parks and Dr. James Scherer<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ed Dr. Pilcher at Memorial. Dr. Lewis<br />

also became <strong>the</strong> orig<strong>in</strong>al medical exam<strong>in</strong>er<br />

for <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> Civil Rights Movement grew, so<br />

did diversity on <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi medical<br />

scene. In 1963 Dr. Henry J. Williams<br />

became <strong>the</strong> first Black physician admitted<br />

<strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> Society. He was also a civil rights<br />

leader and chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> NAACP.<br />

Hispanic and o<strong>the</strong>r m<strong>in</strong>ority doctors<br />

became accepted <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir colleagues and<br />

patients alike, although some said <strong>the</strong>y<br />

did not receive <strong>the</strong> referrals that o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

doctors received.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctors <strong>in</strong> town <strong>the</strong>n were<br />

general practitioners, and specialists were<br />

few. There were nei<strong>the</strong>r cardiologists nor<br />

chest specialists <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi when<br />

Dr. Herbert Madal<strong>in</strong> arrived <strong>in</strong> 1961.<br />

Dr. Madal<strong>in</strong> was a premed student at <strong>the</strong><br />

University <strong>of</strong> Michigan, jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> Navy<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g World War II, and was <strong>in</strong> boot<br />

camp when <strong>the</strong> war ended. His service<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ued, and he was stationed for a<br />

while at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.<br />

After his discharge he f<strong>in</strong>ished his premed<br />

and medical school studies at Michigan.<br />

He also tra<strong>in</strong>ed at <strong>the</strong> Ford Hospital <strong>in</strong><br />

Detroit, <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Texas Medical<br />

School <strong>in</strong> Galveston, and at <strong>the</strong> Mayo<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic, where he witnessed <strong>the</strong> first<br />

open-heart surgery. He also spent n<strong>in</strong>e<br />

months <strong>in</strong> San Antonio <strong>in</strong> a UT-Galveston<br />

program at <strong>the</strong> Tuberculosis Hospital,<br />

❖ As a chest specialist, Dr. Herbert Madal<strong>in</strong> tried<br />

to ban smok<strong>in</strong>g at Society meet<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />


He and his wife, Sally, who had been a<br />

public health nurse <strong>in</strong> Detroit, looked at<br />

locations <strong>in</strong> Florida and California but<br />

decided to open a practice <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi. They had a rude welcome to <strong>the</strong><br />

city—a dog bit <strong>the</strong>ir daughter on <strong>the</strong> day<br />

<strong>the</strong>y arrived.<br />

He practiced solo for ten years with<br />

his wife as his <strong>of</strong>fice nurse dur<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

period when Memorial Hospital did not<br />

pay doctors. Later Dr. Bill Cox became<br />

his partner and <strong>the</strong>y were jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>by</strong><br />

Dr. John Arr<strong>in</strong>gdale, Dr. Fred Thomas,<br />

and Dr. Sergio Tavares.<br />

At that time even hospitals had cigarette<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>es. As a chest specialist,<br />

Dr. Madal<strong>in</strong> was strongly opposed to<br />

smok<strong>in</strong>g. His wife said, “He made me<br />

quit,” and he tried unsuccessfully to<br />

ban smok<strong>in</strong>g at society meet<strong>in</strong>gs. The<br />

Madal<strong>in</strong>s did not permit smok<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

home, and one time when he held an<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers’ meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>re, one doctor<br />

became so irate at <strong>the</strong> rule that he would<br />

not stay. The rule had ano<strong>the</strong>r repercussion.<br />

Dr. Madal<strong>in</strong>’s surgical practice<br />

depended on referrals, and one physician<br />

who smoked vowed that he would never<br />

refer a patient to <strong>the</strong> nonsmok<strong>in</strong>g<br />

doctor—and he didn’t.<br />

Dr. E. Jackson Giles, who was born <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi and served as a major <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Army Medical Corps dur<strong>in</strong>g World<br />

War II, was an oncologist who believed<br />

that cigarettes could cause cancer.<br />

However, he thought he could not catch<br />

<strong>the</strong> disease—he smoked only cigars and<br />

did not <strong>in</strong>hale. One day <strong>in</strong> 1973, after he<br />

bragged at a meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> Houston that he<br />

was probably immune to <strong>the</strong> disease,<br />

doctors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center<br />

discovered that he was not. He underwent<br />

treatment and lived for a good<br />

many more years.<br />

After his retirement Dr. Lewis<br />

Conckl<strong>in</strong> asked ano<strong>the</strong>r pediatrician,<br />

Dr. Robert Michael “Mike” Dulaney, to<br />

practice <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. In 1967,<br />

after f<strong>in</strong>ish<strong>in</strong>g his second residency,<br />

Dr. Dulaney, his wife, Sue, and two<br />

toddlers drove straight from Ohio.<br />

“When we came over that Harbor Bridge,<br />

I told Sue, ‘Oh, this has got to be <strong>the</strong><br />

place,’” he said.<br />

The young doctor had a frighten<strong>in</strong>g<br />

experience dur<strong>in</strong>g his first year here. On<br />

a foggy night he flew <strong>by</strong> emergency<br />

helicopter to Bay City to treat a newborn<br />

girl <strong>in</strong> respiratory distress. “Com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

on that helicopter without be<strong>in</strong>g able to<br />

see <strong>the</strong> ground about scared me to<br />

death,” he said. “But that little girl grew<br />

up and later brought me her ba<strong>by</strong>.”<br />

2 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ At one time <strong>the</strong> Naval Hospital was comprised <strong>of</strong> sixty-seven build<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />


C H A P T E R 7<br />


In addition to blackouts and reports<br />

<strong>of</strong> German submar<strong>in</strong>es <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico, a major sign <strong>of</strong> World War II <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi was <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>flux <strong>of</strong> sailors,<br />

Navy <strong>of</strong>ficers, and cadets from <strong>the</strong> new<br />

Naval Air Station, tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g site for a large<br />

number <strong>of</strong> heroic Navy pilots, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a future president, George H. W. Bush.<br />

The NAS Hospital was commissioned<br />

aboard <strong>the</strong> station July 1, 1941, although<br />

<strong>the</strong> first patients had arrived <strong>in</strong> May. The<br />

hospital opened with 420 beds planned<br />

for an “ultimate personnel” <strong>of</strong> 12,000. It<br />

was made up <strong>of</strong> 67 build<strong>in</strong>gs on 65.8<br />

acres. At an anniversary celebration twenty-five<br />

years later, Capta<strong>in</strong> C. O. Williams,<br />

stationed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city <strong>in</strong> 1941, recalled <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital construction: “It was just a great<br />

big pile <strong>of</strong> sand.”<br />

Capta<strong>in</strong> W. C. Mann was <strong>the</strong> first command<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer, and <strong>the</strong> medical staff<br />

was composed <strong>of</strong> doctors from <strong>the</strong> Naval<br />

Reserve. Later commanders <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

Capta<strong>in</strong> Jerry T. Miser, who had survived<br />

<strong>the</strong> Pearl Harbor attack and served<br />

eighteen months aboard <strong>the</strong> cruiser<br />

USS Houston dur<strong>in</strong>g World War II,<br />

Capta<strong>in</strong> Lu<strong>the</strong>r C. Bell, who served <strong>in</strong><br />

Europe, at Sicily and Normandy, supervis<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> evacuation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wounded,<br />

and Capta<strong>in</strong> Johnny Young, a hospital<br />

corpsman on a rest and recreation trip<br />

from Midway Island on that December 7.<br />

He served with Mar<strong>in</strong>es <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>vasion <strong>of</strong><br />

Guadalcanal, w<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g a Silver Star for<br />

runn<strong>in</strong>g through fall<strong>in</strong>g bombs to answer<br />

wounded men’s calls for “Doc.” He was<br />

wounded himself. Later he became a<br />

chief petty <strong>of</strong>ficer, and he was commissioned<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1952.<br />

The hospital would have connections<br />

with later wars. Dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Korean War,<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital treated return<strong>in</strong>g POWs. The<br />

first to arrive, <strong>in</strong> 1953, was twenty-yearold<br />

Thomas H. Waddell <strong>of</strong> Fort Worth.<br />

But o<strong>the</strong>r types <strong>of</strong> patients would<br />

also be served. In October <strong>of</strong> that year,<br />

<strong>the</strong> obstetrics department was boom<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

with 122 births recorded.<br />

The hospital opened a blood bank <strong>in</strong><br />

1959. Capta<strong>in</strong> Miser, hospital commander<br />

at <strong>the</strong> time, said, “We are quite proud<br />

<strong>of</strong> our blood bank, which <strong>in</strong> addition to<br />

our own use, supplied more than 300<br />

p<strong>in</strong>ts <strong>of</strong> whole blood to civilian hospitals<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> community.”<br />

By 1969 <strong>the</strong> hospital was <strong>the</strong> Navy<br />

Regional Medical Center, a self-conta<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

command separate from NAS and under<br />

<strong>the</strong> Military Command <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bureau <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> and Surgery. The late 1960s<br />

brought challenges. By November 1969<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital had treated 2,000 Vietnam<br />

War veterans. Most came from Texas or<br />

near<strong>by</strong> states—Oklahoma, New Mexico,<br />

Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and<br />

Missouri. Hurricane Celia, on August 3,<br />

1970, left <strong>the</strong> hospital without water and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r utilities. Patients were flown to<br />

Brooke Army Hospital <strong>in</strong> San Antonio.<br />

Also dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> 1960s efforts began to<br />

replace <strong>the</strong> facility. After months <strong>of</strong> delays<br />

caused <strong>by</strong> a freeze on military construction,<br />

on December 7, 1969, President Lyndon B.<br />

Johnson signed an appropriations bill that<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded $8 million for <strong>the</strong> new hospital. A<br />

year later Congress appropriated ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

$1.9 million, and U.S. Representative John<br />

Young broke ground on May 21, 1971, for<br />

a 6-story, 195-bed hospital. While it had<br />

been scheduled for completion <strong>in</strong> April<br />

1973, it was March 22, 1974, when Young<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> spoke, dedicat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> new build<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

“peace and justice.”<br />

C h a p t e r 7 ✦ 2 7

❖ Cattle graze at <strong>the</strong> orig<strong>in</strong>al site <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval Hospital <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />


It consolidated all medical and dental<br />

facilities <strong>in</strong> one location. Capta<strong>in</strong> James E.<br />

Turner, hospital commander, called <strong>the</strong><br />

new facility “one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most dramatic<br />

changes <strong>in</strong> medical care <strong>the</strong> Navy has seen<br />

<strong>in</strong> years.” It replaced 30-patient wards<br />

with one-, two-, or four-patient rooms.<br />

The staff was made up <strong>of</strong> 240 personnel—<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g 31 medical <strong>of</strong>ficers, 60 nurses,<br />

7 dentists, and 120 corpsmen.<br />

By 1977, however, <strong>the</strong> hospital had<br />

new problems. The military suffered<br />

from a lack <strong>of</strong> doctors, who would have<br />

more freedom and higher pay <strong>in</strong> civilian<br />

life. In June 1978 <strong>the</strong> hospital dropped<br />

several specialties, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g obstetrics<br />

and gynecology; ophthalmology; orthopedic<br />

surgery; and eye, ear, nose and<br />

throat care. By this time some military<br />

dependents were mak<strong>in</strong>g use <strong>of</strong> Medicare<br />

and Champus—<strong>the</strong> Civilian Health<br />

and Medical Program <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Uniformed<br />

❖ An early view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval Hospital.<br />


Services. In 1983 <strong>the</strong> facility was<br />

renamed “Naval Hospital” under command<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast Region, one <strong>of</strong><br />

six regions, with headquarters <strong>in</strong><br />

Jacksonville, Florida.<br />

Traditionally <strong>the</strong> Navy doctors and<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society<br />

doctors held a jo<strong>in</strong>t meet<strong>in</strong>g, Because<br />

<strong>the</strong>re was no surgeon at <strong>the</strong> hospital,<br />

<strong>the</strong> emergency room was closed on<br />

November 20, 1986. The result was<br />

cooperation between Navy <strong>of</strong>ficials and<br />

Memorial Medical Center.<br />

“As <strong>the</strong> regional trauma center, we’re<br />

prepared for anyth<strong>in</strong>g,” Wheeler Lipes,<br />

<strong>the</strong> former Navy corpsman who had<br />

become Memorial’s director, said. The<br />

Naval Hospital emergency room reopened<br />

on February 6, 1987, with a new surgeon<br />

and six civilian doctors to care for<br />

dependents. In May 1988 more civilian<br />

doctors were employed.<br />

The threat <strong>of</strong> Hurricane Dolly <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico <strong>in</strong> July 1988 brought<br />

major storm preparations to NAS and<br />

NAS K<strong>in</strong>gsville, but nei<strong>the</strong>r suffered<br />

major damage.<br />

A drive to close <strong>in</strong>patient facilities<br />

and turn <strong>the</strong> hospital <strong>in</strong>to a cl<strong>in</strong>ic began<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong> 1990, although 1,901<br />

<strong>in</strong>patients were treated <strong>the</strong>re that year.<br />

One factor that led to <strong>the</strong> defeat <strong>of</strong> this<br />

idea was <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> Naval<br />

Station Ingleside as a m<strong>in</strong>esweeper base.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r was a drive <strong>by</strong> retired Navy CPO<br />

W. B. “Red” Stanton and <strong>the</strong> Committee<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Preservation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval<br />

Hospital. After 30,000 letters opposed<br />

<strong>the</strong> plan, it was dropped.<br />

“I th<strong>in</strong>k this is <strong>the</strong> ic<strong>in</strong>g on <strong>the</strong> cake to<br />

keep<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> hospital here,” Stanton said.<br />

Capta<strong>in</strong> Richard Gutshall, hospital<br />

commander, said, “It’s also a victory for<br />

Corpus Christi, s<strong>in</strong>ce it does have an<br />

impact on <strong>the</strong> whole community.”<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> years <strong>the</strong> hospital won numerous<br />

awards, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Meritorious<br />

Unit Commendation for outstand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

service from October 1, 1995, to May 30,<br />

1998, and three Gold Star Awards, <strong>in</strong><br />

2005, 2006, and 2007, for Excellence <strong>in</strong><br />

Health Promotion. The Command was also<br />

recognized at a Military Health System<br />

Conference for its Outstand<strong>in</strong>g Pharmacy<br />

Operation and Community Service.<br />

2 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Community <strong>in</strong>volvement came to <strong>the</strong><br />

forefront aga<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> 2007, when <strong>the</strong> NHCC<br />

emergency response team jo<strong>in</strong>ed city and<br />

county medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals November<br />

13, <strong>in</strong> an annual region wide disaster drill.<br />

The simulation called for an <strong>in</strong>vented<br />

tanker truck and tourist bus collision at a<br />

congested bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong>tersection on <strong>the</strong><br />

city’s south side. Civilian first responders<br />

dispensed nearly a hundred staged disaster<br />

victims to over a dozen hospitals <strong>in</strong><br />

four surround<strong>in</strong>g counties.<br />

❖ Four-patent rooms replaced thirty-bed wards.<br />


❖ A new six-story hospital under construction <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1970s.<br />


❖ The new Naval Hospital was completed <strong>in</strong> March 1974.<br />


C h a p t e r 7 ✦ 2 9

❖ As Myrtle Thompson, with her one-year-old daughter, Katie, makes an appo<strong>in</strong>tment with Hospital Corpsman<br />

3rd Class Rebecca Pr<strong>of</strong>fitt, Corpsmen Brian Skolnik and Todd Dombrosky work at <strong>the</strong> station.<br />


❖ Naval personnel manned <strong>the</strong> hospital.<br />


Naval hospital emergency personnel<br />

quickly deployed from <strong>the</strong> base and l<strong>in</strong>ked<br />

with K<strong>in</strong>dred Hospital staff on <strong>the</strong>ir property<br />

to shape a cordoned decontam<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

and triage zone conveniently located less<br />

than a quarter mile from <strong>the</strong> mishap site.<br />

K<strong>in</strong>dred’s Disaster Coord<strong>in</strong>ator, Hector<br />

Bernal, and NHCC Disaster Preparedness<br />

Officer Chief Hull Technician (SW) Fred<br />

Thomas had worked for four months plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir respective scenario roles <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

mock catastrophe.<br />

“Th<strong>in</strong>gs progressed very well!” Thomas<br />

observed. “Besides gett<strong>in</strong>g ‘hands on’<br />

experience with our civilian counterparts,<br />

we had a chance to smooth out some<br />

m<strong>in</strong>or communication wr<strong>in</strong>kles that<br />

occurred dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> drill, most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

military-civilian term<strong>in</strong>ology differences.”<br />

Earlier that year, on September 22, <strong>the</strong><br />

command fielded four tables <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> display<br />

arena <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi American Bank<br />

Center <strong>in</strong> support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2007 Veterans<br />

Summit, hosted <strong>by</strong> Congressman Solomon<br />

Ortiz and <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />

At that time <strong>the</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic oversaw three<br />

Branch Health Cl<strong>in</strong>ics, located <strong>in</strong><br />

K<strong>in</strong>gsville, Ingleside, and Fort Worth,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Navy Detachment at Brooke<br />

Army Medical Center <strong>in</strong> San Antonio.<br />

Because a number <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>jured Mar<strong>in</strong>es and<br />

sailors required services at <strong>the</strong> Medical<br />

Centers <strong>in</strong> San Antonio, <strong>the</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

<strong>the</strong> Navy Liaison Office at BAMC<br />

to support ongo<strong>in</strong>g needs. The Ingleside<br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ic was closed <strong>in</strong> April 2010, when <strong>the</strong><br />

M<strong>in</strong>e Warfare Base <strong>the</strong>re was closed.<br />

The role <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital changed <strong>in</strong><br />

1997. Arrangements were made with <strong>the</strong><br />

Spohn Hospital System for <strong>in</strong>patient care<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> civilian hospitals, and NHCC<br />

became an outpatient ambulatory care<br />

center. On February 14, 2008, <strong>the</strong> name<br />

was changed from Naval Hospital Corpus<br />

Christi to Naval Health Cl<strong>in</strong>ic Corpus<br />

Christi. At <strong>the</strong> name-change ceremony<br />

Capta<strong>in</strong> R. B. Sorenson, command<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> facility from May 2007, said<br />

“I look forward to cont<strong>in</strong>u<strong>in</strong>g our present<br />

collaboration with <strong>in</strong>patient facilities <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> region.”<br />

3 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ The Driscoll Foundation Children’s Hospital opened <strong>in</strong> 1953.<br />


C H A P T E R 8<br />


Dest<strong>in</strong>y played a role <strong>in</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r major<br />

chapter <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi medic<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

The story began <strong>in</strong> 1835, when Daniel<br />

O’Driscoll <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army came to<br />

Texas to fight <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> revolution aga<strong>in</strong>st<br />

Mexico. He received land grants for<br />

his service at <strong>the</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> San Jac<strong>in</strong>to<br />

and became a prom<strong>in</strong>ent rancher, with<br />

two sons, Robert and Jeremiah. The sons<br />

dropped <strong>the</strong> O from <strong>the</strong> name, and<br />

Robert’s daughter, Clara, and her bro<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Robert, Jr., <strong>in</strong>herited a fortune from <strong>the</strong><br />

family’s ranch<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>terests and from oil<br />

and gas discovered on <strong>the</strong> land.<br />

Although Clara is known to history as<br />

<strong>the</strong> “Savior <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Alamo” for advanc<strong>in</strong>g<br />

money to save <strong>the</strong> shr<strong>in</strong>e when it was<br />

about to be sold, <strong>the</strong> most mean<strong>in</strong>gful<br />

part <strong>of</strong> her legacy is probably Driscoll<br />

Children’s Hospital, which opened <strong>in</strong><br />

February 1953 on South Alameda <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi. Robert Driscoll, Jr., died <strong>in</strong><br />

1929, and Clara died <strong>in</strong> 1945. A provision<br />

<strong>in</strong> her will said “It has always been my<br />

wish that <strong>the</strong> estate created <strong>by</strong> my fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Robert Driscoll, and my mo<strong>the</strong>r, Julia<br />

Driscoll, and my bro<strong>the</strong>r, Robert Driscoll,<br />

Jr., and me be used after my death for <strong>the</strong><br />

amelioration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> conditions <strong>of</strong> those<br />

Texans, and particularly those <strong>of</strong> South<br />

Texas, who may need aid…I so direct my<br />

trustees…to create an endowment from<br />

<strong>the</strong> residue <strong>of</strong> my estate to be known as <strong>the</strong><br />

Robert Driscoll and Julia Driscoll and<br />

Robert Driscoll, Jr., Foundation, <strong>the</strong> purpose<br />

<strong>of</strong> which shall be to provide funds for<br />

<strong>the</strong> construction, equipment, and operation<br />

<strong>of</strong> a free cl<strong>in</strong>ic and hospital for crippled,<br />

maimed and diseased children.” In<br />

1950 <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Foundation received a<br />

vote <strong>of</strong> confidence regard<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> establishment<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital, and it opened <strong>in</strong><br />

February 1953 on South Alameda as <strong>the</strong><br />

Driscoll Foundation Children’s Hospital.<br />

Dr. Joseph M. Sloan was appo<strong>in</strong>ted<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital’s first director. He had been<br />

stationed at Corpus Christie’s Naval Air<br />

Station and served as medical <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

aboard an attack transport <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pacific<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g World War II. After his discharge<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1946, he visited his fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rio<br />

Grande Valley and decided to settle <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi.<br />

While plann<strong>in</strong>g for <strong>the</strong> hospital was<br />

under way, Dr. McIver Furman who had<br />

been Clara Driscoll’s doctor, called a<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> pediatricians to ga<strong>the</strong>r ideas.<br />

Dr. Lewis Conckl<strong>in</strong> drew plans for a circular<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> which all rooms could<br />

be seen from a central nurs<strong>in</strong>g station.<br />

“Architects said it would be too ugly,”<br />

Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said, “but Scott and White<br />

later used such a circular plan.”<br />

C h a p t e r 8 ✦ 3 1

❖ Robert Driscoll, Sr., accumulated a fortune<br />

through ranch<strong>in</strong>g and oil and gas <strong>in</strong>terests.<br />


Under <strong>the</strong> provisions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> will, <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital was to be for <strong>in</strong>digents only.<br />

That didn’t last. Trustees went to court,<br />

and, <strong>in</strong> 1970, hospital facilities were<br />

opened to all children, regardless <strong>of</strong><br />

f<strong>in</strong>ancial status.<br />

❖ Clara Driscoll left her estate to “provide funds<br />

for a free cl<strong>in</strong>ic and hospital for crippled, maimed, and<br />

diseased children.”<br />


It was <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Hospital that<br />

open-heart surgery was first performed<br />

<strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. Dr. Jim Gabbard, a thoracic<br />

surgeon, conv<strong>in</strong>ced <strong>the</strong> govern<strong>in</strong>g<br />

❖ Clara’s bro<strong>the</strong>r, Robert Driscoll, Jr.<br />


board <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital to acquire equipment<br />

for cardiac ca<strong>the</strong>terizations. With<br />

<strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> a grant from <strong>the</strong> Ford<br />

Foundation, <strong>the</strong> equipment was purchased.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> late 1950s <strong>the</strong>re were no<br />

cardiologists <strong>in</strong> town, and Dr. Gabbard<br />

performed <strong>the</strong> ca<strong>the</strong>terizations himself at<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital. He found an <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g number<br />

<strong>of</strong> patients who had congenital heart<br />

defects and needed open-heart surgery.<br />

About ten years later he was jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

<strong>by</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r thoracic surgeon, Dr. Herbert<br />

Madal<strong>in</strong>, and <strong>the</strong> two decided that<br />

open-heart surgery should have a priority<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city. In articles published <strong>in</strong> Coastal<br />

Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, September/October 2004,<br />

Dr. Madal<strong>in</strong> described <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> program:<br />

❖ Dr. McIver Furman was Clara Driscoll’s physician.<br />


Work commenced <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> “laboratory,”<br />

where we operated upon dogs—<strong>the</strong> same<br />

as almost all groups who had started openheart<br />

surgery programs. I must confess that<br />

I use <strong>the</strong> term “laboratory” ra<strong>the</strong>r loosely—<br />

it was actually <strong>the</strong> morgue <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Children’s<br />

Hospital. We did <strong>the</strong> early phase <strong>of</strong> our<br />

work <strong>in</strong> that chamber, only mov<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

<strong>the</strong> operat<strong>in</strong>g room when all <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>volved<br />

personnel felt comfortable with <strong>the</strong>ir roles.<br />

3 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Numerous unpaid volunteers helped<br />

us <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> program.<br />

These <strong>in</strong>cluded <strong>the</strong> first perfusionist <strong>in</strong><br />

town, whom we tra<strong>in</strong>ed—(Fay Drozd),<br />

scrub nurses from Spohn and Memorial<br />

as well as an anes<strong>the</strong>siologist (Dr. Miles<br />

McKitrick). Fortunately, a heart-lung<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e was available for our use. It had<br />

been purchased <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> local Heart<br />

Association a few years earlier but was<br />

just ga<strong>the</strong>r<strong>in</strong>g dust until <strong>the</strong>n.<br />

The animals used had been consigned<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir owners to be “put to sleep,” as <strong>the</strong><br />

euphemism goes. The dogs, with one<br />

exception, arrived well sedated. They never<br />

knew <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir contribution to <strong>the</strong> advancement<br />

<strong>of</strong> surgery <strong>in</strong> our community.<br />

The aforementioned exception was a<br />

somewhat vicious (we thought) German<br />

shepherd that trapped two thoracic surgeons<br />

on top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> morgue table and even<br />

bit one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m on <strong>the</strong> hand (not me)<br />

when he attempted to slip a muzzle <strong>of</strong><br />

gauze over <strong>the</strong> dog. A potential stand<strong>of</strong>f<br />

was resolved when we were able to call<br />

for help on <strong>the</strong> telephone <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

The can<strong>in</strong>e’s seem<strong>in</strong>gly vicious behavior<br />

lasted about fifteen long m<strong>in</strong>utes as<br />

we waited for help. The animal suddenly<br />

became docile and friendly when <strong>the</strong><br />

veter<strong>in</strong>arian who responded to our call<br />

arrived and calmly sedated him. [A<br />

Caller story at <strong>the</strong> time called <strong>the</strong> dogs<br />

<strong>the</strong> “unsung heroes” <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> surgery.]<br />

Only after we were satisfied that our<br />

pump technician was completely familiar<br />

with <strong>the</strong> equipment and that all <strong>of</strong> our personnel<br />

were well rehearsed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> conduct<br />

<strong>of</strong> such surgery did we feel that we were<br />

ready to operate upon patients. We <strong>the</strong>n<br />

scheduled our first case—a seven-year-old<br />

child with a large atrial septal defect.<br />

Now, we had to determ<strong>in</strong>e who would<br />

be <strong>the</strong> surgeon on this case—Jim or I.<br />

Although we did not give it much<br />

thought at <strong>the</strong> time, whoever it was<br />

would be <strong>the</strong> first surgeon to do openheart<br />

surgery <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. The most<br />

democratic method <strong>of</strong> selection, we<br />

decided, was to flip a co<strong>in</strong>. As fate would<br />

have it, I won <strong>the</strong> toss and <strong>the</strong>refore was<br />

❖ A young girl undergoes a hear<strong>in</strong>g test.<br />


<strong>the</strong> surgeon on <strong>the</strong> first case, with Jim<br />

assist<strong>in</strong>g. On subsequent cases, we alternated<br />

our roles as surgeon and assistant.<br />

Our open-heart program did well.<br />

Upon <strong>the</strong> completion <strong>of</strong> our first twentyfour<br />

cases (without mortality), <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

had a press conference to announce <strong>the</strong><br />

open-heart program. Attend<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> meet<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with <strong>the</strong> press were hospital spokesmen<br />

as well as Jim and myself. We did not<br />

permit <strong>the</strong> press to use our names <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

stories—as was <strong>the</strong> custom at that time.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r among <strong>the</strong> first surgeons<br />

tra<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> such surgery was Dr. Joseph<br />

French Alsop, who graduated from Johns<br />

Hopk<strong>in</strong>s University and Medical School <strong>in</strong><br />

Baltimore <strong>in</strong> 1943 and served as medical<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer on Navy troop transport ships dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

World War II. In 1950 he moved his<br />

family to Corpus Christi, where he founded<br />

<strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Surgical Society. He<br />

served as an <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Society and as<br />

chief <strong>of</strong> staff at Memorial Hospital.<br />

Dr. James Simpson, a pediatric cardiologist,<br />

founded <strong>the</strong> Children’s Heart<br />

Program <strong>of</strong> South Texas at <strong>the</strong> hospital <strong>in</strong><br />

1972. The program received a $17,700<br />

grant <strong>in</strong> 1973 to fund follow-ups. In July<br />

1978 <strong>the</strong> first Pacemaker implant <strong>in</strong> a newborn<br />

took place. The fa<strong>the</strong>r, a Lu<strong>the</strong>ran,<br />

tried to baptize <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>fant but was so overcome<br />

that a Catholic nurse performed <strong>the</strong><br />

❖ Dr. Jim Gabbard, along with Dr. Herbert<br />

Madal<strong>in</strong>, pioneered open-heart surgery <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi.<br />


C h a p t e r 8 ✦ 3 3

ite. By 1980 <strong>the</strong> program had seventeen<br />

satellite cl<strong>in</strong>ics <strong>in</strong> thirteen South Texas<br />

towns. Around this time Alpha Phi alums<br />

sold Valent<strong>in</strong>e lollipops to raise funds to<br />

buy equipment for <strong>the</strong> cardiac section.<br />

The first open-heart surgery on an<br />

adult <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi was performed<br />

at Memorial Medical Center <strong>in</strong> November<br />

1969. As late as 1970 <strong>the</strong> hospital did not<br />

have a Cardiac Unit, but a Cardiology<br />

Department was established <strong>the</strong>re <strong>in</strong> 1972<br />

under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> Dr. Sant K. Upmanyu.<br />

In early 1978 <strong>the</strong> hospital began a<br />

community wide genetics program.<br />

“Genetic screen<strong>in</strong>g and counsel<strong>in</strong>g are<br />

aimed at those whose genetic flaws cause<br />

disability, sometime severe,” said medical<br />

geneticist Dr. Ray Lewandoski.<br />

Driscoll, Memorial Medical Center, and<br />

Ada Wilson Crippled Children’s Hospital all<br />

received community support. In October <strong>of</strong><br />

that year <strong>the</strong>y were among recipients <strong>of</strong> a<br />

grant from Champl<strong>in</strong> Ref<strong>in</strong>ery that totaled<br />

$23,000. Start<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> early 1980s,<br />

Driscoll also benefited from <strong>the</strong> national<br />

Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. With<br />

KIII’s Joe Gaz<strong>in</strong> and Ka<strong>the</strong>r<strong>in</strong>e Childers<br />

mak<strong>in</strong>g pitches every few m<strong>in</strong>utes, <strong>the</strong><br />

1993 event raised $534,000. The previous<br />

year’s sum was $602,000, thanks to a large<br />

s<strong>in</strong>gle donation and, <strong>in</strong> 1997, <strong>the</strong> total was<br />

$735,309; <strong>in</strong> 1998, $850,000, and <strong>in</strong> 1999,<br />

$963,135. The money raised went for<br />

equipment and children’s programs,<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g test<strong>in</strong>g for diabetes and for<br />

hear<strong>in</strong>g problems <strong>in</strong> newborns. The<br />

Fiesta de los N<strong>in</strong>os, underwritten <strong>by</strong><br />

Koch Industries, Inc., Bechtel, American<br />

Airl<strong>in</strong>es/American Eagle, K-99, and<br />

Southwest Airl<strong>in</strong>es raised more than<br />

$125,000 for <strong>the</strong> hospital <strong>in</strong> 1998.<br />

Enterta<strong>in</strong>ment for patients and past<br />

patients was not overlooked. Over <strong>the</strong><br />

years members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Children’s<br />

Hospital Auxiliary visited, br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g companionship<br />

and toys to patients. In <strong>the</strong><br />

fall <strong>of</strong> 1979, <strong>the</strong> hospital held its first<br />

“Birthday Party” for “graduates” <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

newborn <strong>in</strong>tensive care unit. “We’d like<br />

to see <strong>the</strong>m aga<strong>in</strong>,” Dr. Alfonso M. Prado<br />

said. “It’s someth<strong>in</strong>g we have been try<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to do for a long time.” “Darth Vader”<br />

stuntman Tom Callahan visited <strong>in</strong> 1983.<br />

Every year a Christmas party was held<br />

for patients, previous patients, and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

families. The young patients were also<br />

<strong>in</strong>vited to submit designs for Christmas<br />

cards. Those chosen were pr<strong>in</strong>ted on<br />

cards that were sold, with proceeds go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to benefit <strong>the</strong> children. Such policies cont<strong>in</strong>ued<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years.<br />

On July 13, 1992, n<strong>in</strong>e members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Coastal Bend Guides Association and<br />

medical staff members took seventeen<br />

❖ Channel 3’s Joe Gaz<strong>in</strong> and Kathryn Childers <strong>in</strong>spir<strong>in</strong>g donations at a Children’s Miracle Telethon.<br />


❖ A t<strong>in</strong>y ba<strong>by</strong> receives treatment.<br />


patients to a Chemo Kids Fish Off. All <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> “kids” received a four-<strong>in</strong>ch trophy.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m was 7-year-old Colton<br />

Wright, who caught two 20-<strong>in</strong>ch redfish<br />

but said, “I’m not go<strong>in</strong>g to eat it.”<br />

Clowns also came <strong>by</strong> to cheer up<br />

<strong>the</strong> patients. Mary Ann S<strong>in</strong>clair formed<br />

“Clowns Who <strong>Care</strong>” <strong>in</strong> 1996 for <strong>the</strong> sole<br />

purpose <strong>of</strong> enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Driscoll patients.<br />

“At first I just planned to go over to<br />

Driscoll <strong>by</strong> myself to visit <strong>the</strong> children,”<br />

she said. “Then friends saw my costume<br />

and said <strong>the</strong>y wanted to be a clown.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>rs heard about my plans and told me<br />

<strong>the</strong>y wanted to be a clown. It all came<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r as if it had been preorda<strong>in</strong>ed.”<br />

The late 1980s were a time <strong>of</strong> growth for<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital. A Pediatric Rheumatology<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic opened on October 11, 1983. Dr.<br />

Earl J. Brewer, chief <strong>of</strong> rheumatology at<br />

Texas Children’s Hospital and cl<strong>in</strong>ical pr<strong>of</strong>essor<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> pediatrics department <strong>of</strong> Baylor<br />

College <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> <strong>in</strong> Houston, said, “We<br />

are go<strong>in</strong>g to provide a coord<strong>in</strong>ated approach<br />

for children with rheumatoid diseases.”<br />

A new seven-story tower opened on<br />

October 25, 1987, and newly renovated<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices opened <strong>in</strong> January 1989 as <strong>the</strong> f<strong>in</strong>al<br />

step <strong>of</strong> a $49 million expansion.<br />

A partnership with Halo Flight emergency<br />

medical service was announced on<br />

3 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

June 8, 1988. Driscoll was picked for <strong>the</strong><br />

air evacuation site because it had a helicopter<br />

pad. The service, based <strong>in</strong> Brooks<br />

<strong>County</strong>, also took patients to a hospital <strong>in</strong><br />

Falfurrias and later to o<strong>the</strong>r hospitals <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi.<br />

The same year saw Driscoll Foundation<br />

Children’s Hospital become Driscoll<br />

Children’s Hospital. As part <strong>of</strong> Healthy<br />

Children 2000, a national focus on ways<br />

to prevent childhood <strong>in</strong>jury and disease,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Children’s Resource and Development<br />

<strong>of</strong> South Texas opened. Dr. Mulukulta<br />

Ramadrishna, pediatrician and chief <strong>of</strong><br />

staff-elect, po<strong>in</strong>ted out that it would work<br />

to prevent accidents.<br />

A 1990 addition benefited <strong>the</strong> families<br />

as much as or more than it did <strong>the</strong><br />

patients. It was <strong>the</strong> Ronald McDonald<br />

House, which provided a place for <strong>the</strong><br />

families <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>patients to stay. It orig<strong>in</strong>ally<br />

housed sixteen families, operat<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

almost 100 percent capacity. A 5,500-<br />

square-foot expansion <strong>in</strong> 2001, funded <strong>by</strong><br />

grants and donations, added eight rooms<br />

and a weekend manager’s room.<br />

Along with Driscoll, <strong>the</strong> City-<strong>County</strong><br />

Health Department received funds from a<br />

$71 million 1993 grant <strong>the</strong> state gave to<br />

local agencies across Texas. Dr. Christopher<br />

M. Buttery, Health Department director,<br />

said, “Currently our WIC (Women, Infants<br />

and Children) program has a caseload <strong>of</strong><br />

3,500 expectant women and <strong>the</strong>ir children<br />

recertified each month. We give <strong>the</strong>m<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation on proper diet and vouchers<br />

to buy supplementary nutrition.”<br />

The hospital recorded a first <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

state <strong>in</strong> 1994 with a WIC cl<strong>in</strong>ic-onwheels,<br />

which was designed to br<strong>in</strong>g<br />

health services to women and children<br />

covered under <strong>the</strong> WIC program and liv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> rural areas with little or no transportation.<br />

The cl<strong>in</strong>ic provided prenatal<br />

care, nutritional tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, immunizations,<br />

and basic health screen<strong>in</strong>g. In its first five<br />

months it treated more than 2,500<br />

patients. “The community’s reception is<br />

so wonderful that we had wished we had<br />

done it earlier,” said Monica Stender,<br />

Driscoll’s WIC program director.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> middle 1990s Dick K<strong>in</strong>g, executive<br />

director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical<br />

Society, said <strong>the</strong>re were roughly fifty<br />

pediatricians <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi area.<br />

That was not enough. On December 3,<br />

1996, <strong>of</strong>ficials from Driscoll, Texas A&M<br />

University and Scott & White Memorial<br />

Hospital signed an agreement to br<strong>in</strong>g<br />

more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> specialists to South Texas.<br />

“Corpus Christi isn’t where <strong>the</strong> problem<br />

is,” K<strong>in</strong>g said. “The problems are<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> (Rio Grande) Valley. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

reasons cases from <strong>the</strong> Valley are referred<br />

to Driscoll is because <strong>the</strong>re aren’t enough<br />

pediatricians <strong>the</strong>re to treat <strong>the</strong>m”<br />

Dr. J. E. Stibbards, Driscoll’s president<br />

and chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer, said <strong>the</strong>re<br />

were only 60 or 70 pediatricians <strong>in</strong> all <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Valley to handle some 250,000 people<br />

younger than 18. And that population is<br />

expected to grow, he added.<br />

“We need more pediatricians <strong>in</strong> South<br />

Texas, and this is one way to do it,” he<br />

said. “The whole purpose <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> program<br />

is to assure that quality pediatricians are<br />

available to <strong>the</strong> children <strong>in</strong> South Texas.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime <strong>the</strong> hospital cont<strong>in</strong>ued<br />

to make technological advances. In 1997<br />

a CT scanner operated <strong>by</strong> a high-speed<br />

computer made it possible for radiologists<br />

❖ An autograph is a welcome addition to a cast.<br />


to search for <strong>in</strong>juries and get results <strong>in</strong><br />

a few m<strong>in</strong>utes <strong>in</strong>stead <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> half hour<br />

previous mach<strong>in</strong>es took. The scanner was<br />

<strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong> its k<strong>in</strong>d <strong>in</strong> South Texas.<br />

Dr. Kirsten Mogbo, a radiologist, said<br />

<strong>the</strong> equipment elim<strong>in</strong>ated <strong>the</strong> need to<br />

sedate <strong>the</strong> children. “It’s all over before<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are too fearful and want to move<br />

around, “ she said.<br />

❖ A $49 million expansion program brought this<br />

tower <strong>in</strong> 1987.<br />


C h a p t e r 8 ✦ 3 5

❖ Doctors Regional Hospital on South Alameda.<br />


C H A P T E R 9<br />


The realization that more medical<br />

facilities were needed on <strong>the</strong> south side <strong>of</strong><br />

town grew as <strong>the</strong> city grew <strong>in</strong> population.<br />

One new patient care facility, Parkview<br />

General Hospital, opened <strong>in</strong> 1961 at<br />

4600 Weber Road.<br />

That same year Hurricane Carla hit<br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Coast. As it moved slowly<br />

across <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, Carla steadily<br />

streng<strong>the</strong>ned to its peak <strong>of</strong> 175 mph<br />

(280 km/h) w<strong>in</strong>ds (Category 5 <strong>in</strong>tensity)<br />

on September 11. It weakened just before<br />

landfall between Port O’Connor and Port<br />

Lavaca, but <strong>the</strong> storm’s surge still caused<br />

considerable damage to Corpus Christi.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time Carla became <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

hurricane on record <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Atlantic bas<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Doctors Hospital, with twenty-six beds,<br />

opened at 3160 Reid Drive <strong>in</strong> 1962 and <strong>in</strong><br />

1975 bought <strong>the</strong> Thomas Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic on<br />

Brownlee and operated it as Doctors<br />

Hospital North. A new and larger Doctors<br />

Hospital opened at Alameda and Texan<br />

Trail <strong>in</strong> April 1980, and <strong>in</strong> 1982 Doctors<br />

Hospital North was closed. Parkview<br />

went through a series <strong>of</strong> name changes,<br />

becom<strong>in</strong>g Physicians & Surgeons Hospital<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1968 and Southside Community<br />

Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1986. In 1983 Doctors<br />

Hospital became Humana Hospital, but<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1993 <strong>the</strong> name was changed aga<strong>in</strong>,<br />

to Doctors Regional Medical Center.<br />

The name change was not merely<br />

cosmetic. Columbia Healthcare Corp.<br />

had previously acquired Southside<br />

Community Hospital and Bayview<br />

Hospital, but a new Columbia Healthcare<br />

Corp. was formed <strong>in</strong> 1993 with a merger<br />

between Columbia and Galen Health<br />

<strong>Care</strong>, Inc., formerly Humana. The new<br />

corporation also acquired <strong>the</strong> soon-tobe-completed<br />

Bay Area Medical Center<br />

on Padre Island Drive <strong>in</strong> a partnership<br />

known as Bay Area Medical Group and<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g 100 Corpus Christi physicians<br />

and Dallas-based Medical <strong>Care</strong> America.<br />

“I can only say my reaction is that<br />

it’s a very positive move,” said John A.<br />

Fromhold, executive director <strong>of</strong> Doctors<br />

Regional Medical Center. “The two<br />

hospitals will be able to provide comprehensive<br />

healthcare <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> community.”<br />

In July <strong>of</strong> that same year, Doctors<br />

Regional opened a new Women’s<br />

Pavilion, and Bay Area opened its<br />

doors <strong>in</strong> September with an open house<br />

attended <strong>by</strong> 3,500 to 4,000 people.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 1994 Columbia<br />

merged with Nashville, Tennesseebased<br />

Hospital Corporation <strong>of</strong> America,<br />

known simply as HCA. In October<br />

1995 Bay Area Medical Group opened<br />

<strong>the</strong> Cancer Center <strong>of</strong> South Texas,<br />

a state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art facility on Rodd Field<br />

Road, as a jo<strong>in</strong>t venture with four<br />

local physicians. Robstown Riverside<br />

would also become a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

HCA group as Northwest Hospital,<br />

and <strong>in</strong> 1998 <strong>the</strong> group opened <strong>the</strong><br />

Heart Hospital.<br />

Focus<strong>in</strong>g on a specialized service—<br />

such as cardiology care—hones <strong>the</strong><br />

talents <strong>of</strong> staff and lowers costs <strong>by</strong> elim<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g<br />

duplication, said Steve Woerner,<br />

Medical Center CEO. “For us, it’s a<br />

matter <strong>of</strong> organiz<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> various services<br />

<strong>in</strong>to one place. We’re concentrat<strong>in</strong>g our<br />

talent base and technology.”<br />

3 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ Senior student nurse Rita Mueller tak<strong>in</strong>g care <strong>of</strong> a ba<strong>by</strong> at Spohn hospital <strong>in</strong> 1963.<br />


As more facilities opened, <strong>the</strong> need<br />

arose for more medical personnel. Nurse<br />

Nunnie Clements, a graduate <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Santa<br />

Rosa School <strong>of</strong> Nurs<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> San Antonio,<br />

was one newcomer who played a major<br />

role <strong>in</strong> nurs<strong>in</strong>g education <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city. She<br />

moved to Corpus Christi after she was<br />

told her tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g would enable her to get<br />

any job she desired. She started at Spohn<br />

as a medication nurse, but, dissatisfied<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> nurse shortage that made her late<br />

with medications, she briefly became an<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice nurse for Dr. Foy Moody.<br />

In 1953 Spohn asked her to come back<br />

as an operat<strong>in</strong>g-room nurse, an <strong>of</strong>fer she<br />

was glad to accept.<br />

“Corpus Christi was blessed with<br />

many good surgeons,” she said, “Drs. Joe<br />

Alsop, Chris Isensee, J. Gordon Bryson,<br />

Sherman Coleman.”<br />

However, she had a special work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

relationship with Dr. E. Jackson Giles.<br />

“I was fasc<strong>in</strong>ated <strong>by</strong> how he handled<br />

liv<strong>in</strong>g tissue,” she said. “He would dissect<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g down so you could see every<br />

bit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> anatomy.”<br />

Nurse Clements worked with Dr.<br />

Joseph Klotz <strong>in</strong> neurosurgery. “He looked<br />

so young,” she said, “but he was so smart<br />

and good.”<br />

She also told <strong>of</strong> work<strong>in</strong>g with Dr.<br />

Bryson <strong>in</strong> cataract surgery and with heart<br />

surgeon James Gabbard. She described<br />

an operation <strong>in</strong> 1957 when Dr. Gabbard<br />

replaced a heart valve <strong>in</strong> a patient who<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rwise would have died. At that time<br />

Corpus Christi did not have a heart-lung<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e, but for some reason <strong>the</strong> surgery<br />

had to be done <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city.<br />

“Dr. Gabbard asked if I would scrub<br />

and [said] that we needed to practice with<br />

six special <strong>in</strong>struments every day for<br />

a week before <strong>the</strong> operation,” she said.<br />

“At <strong>the</strong> crucial part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> operation,<br />

Dr. Gabbard had only three m<strong>in</strong>utes to do<br />

his th<strong>in</strong>g with <strong>the</strong> six <strong>in</strong>struments. He just<br />

wanted to put his hand out and have me<br />

give him <strong>the</strong> right <strong>in</strong>strument, and that’s<br />

❖ Preparations for Hurricane Carla <strong>in</strong> 1961<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded mov<strong>in</strong>g sailboats onto <strong>the</strong> county tax <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

park<strong>in</strong>g lot.<br />


❖ Post-Carla damage along a section <strong>of</strong> Ocean Drive.<br />


C h a p t e r 9 ✦ 3 7

what we did. Dr. Sherman Coleman<br />

assisted. The morn<strong>in</strong>g after <strong>the</strong> surgery,<br />

Dr. Gabbard came to <strong>the</strong> OR and said,<br />

‘Come on, Clem. Let’s go see our patient.’<br />

We were happy all around.”<br />

In 1950 Sister Mary V<strong>in</strong>cent O’Donnell<br />

was named Spohn Hospital adm<strong>in</strong>istrator.<br />

The federal government had passed <strong>the</strong><br />

Hill-Burton Act, which provided funds<br />

for hospital construction, and Sister Mary<br />

V<strong>in</strong>cent vigorously pursued grants. A new<br />

five-story w<strong>in</strong>g, with an additional one<br />

hundred beds, nurseries, operat<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

emergency rooms, X-ray departments,<br />

and orthopedic facilities, plus a convent<br />

on <strong>the</strong> fifth floor, opened <strong>in</strong> 1952.<br />

Sister Mary V<strong>in</strong>cent also planned to<br />

reopen <strong>the</strong> nurs<strong>in</strong>g school, as <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

a national shortage <strong>of</strong> nurses. She asked<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Incarnate Word <strong>in</strong> San<br />

Antonio, her order, to provide funds and<br />

also contacted Ben Vaughn, Sr., adm<strong>in</strong>istrator<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> James R. Dougherty, Jr.,<br />

Foundation <strong>in</strong> Beeville. The Sisters <strong>of</strong><br />

Charity and <strong>the</strong> Foundation each donated<br />

$300,000, and <strong>the</strong> James R. Dougherty,<br />

Jr., School <strong>of</strong> Nurs<strong>in</strong>g opened <strong>in</strong> 1954,<br />

named <strong>in</strong> honor <strong>of</strong> a Dougherty son killed<br />

<strong>in</strong> action <strong>in</strong> World War II.<br />

In 1957 Nunnie Clements was work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

half <strong>the</strong> year as head nurse <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Spohn operat<strong>in</strong>g room and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

half as operat<strong>in</strong>g room cl<strong>in</strong>ical <strong>in</strong>structor<br />

at <strong>the</strong> hospital. In 1959 she was hired<br />

as full-time cl<strong>in</strong>ical <strong>in</strong>structor at <strong>the</strong><br />

nurs<strong>in</strong>g school.<br />

Even with <strong>the</strong> school <strong>the</strong>re was a backlog<br />

<strong>of</strong> operat<strong>in</strong>g room schedules as <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was still a lack <strong>of</strong> tra<strong>in</strong>ed operat<strong>in</strong>g room<br />

technicians. That same year she agreed to<br />

requests to design, direct, and teach an<br />

OR technician tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g program. Three<br />

laypersons were accepted <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> first class<br />

and five selected for <strong>the</strong> second.<br />

Nurse Clements left <strong>the</strong> school to<br />

become <strong>the</strong> director <strong>of</strong> nurs<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

Doctors Hospital, a position she held<br />

until 1965. Dur<strong>in</strong>g that time she worked<br />

with Dr. C. A. Struve and Dr. Bryson to<br />

develop a complete l<strong>in</strong>tless eye-surgery<br />

drap<strong>in</strong>g technique.<br />

❖ James R. Daugherty, Jr., for whom <strong>the</strong><br />

Daugherty Foundation was named.<br />


As late as 1969 ambulance service was<br />

provided, on a rotat<strong>in</strong>g basis, <strong>by</strong> funeral<br />

homes. Anyone need<strong>in</strong>g emergency service<br />

had to first f<strong>in</strong>d out which funeral<br />

home was on duty, <strong>the</strong>n call it. The ambulances<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten had no attendant except <strong>the</strong><br />

driver, and <strong>the</strong> system was dubbed “Grab<br />

and Run,” <strong>the</strong> idea be<strong>in</strong>g to get <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>jured<br />

to <strong>the</strong> nearest hospital as soon as possible.<br />

Dr. Everett L. “Bud” Holt, president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Medical Society that year, wrote, “It was<br />

darkly rumored that sometimes <strong>the</strong> driver<br />

would go slowly <strong>in</strong> order to make <strong>the</strong><br />

victim a funeral home customer.”<br />

❖ Dr. Everett Holt.<br />


When he became president <strong>in</strong> 1972,<br />

Dr. Holt said, he asked a former president,<br />

Dr. Hans Heymann, what <strong>the</strong><br />

Medical Society could do. Dr. Heymann<br />

suggested start<strong>in</strong>g an ambulance service,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Society adopted his suggestion.<br />

The organization paid <strong>the</strong> Town Club for<br />

a luncheon and <strong>in</strong>vited <strong>the</strong> mayor and<br />

city council, <strong>the</strong> county judge and commissioners,<br />

<strong>the</strong> League <strong>of</strong> Women Voters,<br />

union leaders and capta<strong>in</strong>s <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>dustry,<br />

and television and newspaper reporters.<br />

After lunch Carl B. Young, Jr., who<br />

had worked <strong>in</strong> emergency care s<strong>in</strong>ce an<br />

early age, gave a slide presentation show<strong>in</strong>g<br />

such sicken<strong>in</strong>g situations as patients<br />

drown<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own blood or vomitus<br />

or those with serious neck <strong>in</strong>juries<br />

mishandled. The luncheon guests got <strong>the</strong><br />

po<strong>in</strong>t, and all present agreed that <strong>the</strong><br />

system should be changed. “It was amus<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to see how agreeable everyone was<br />

after Carl Young’s presentation and <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> glare <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TV cameras!” Dr. Holt<br />

said later.<br />

Soon <strong>the</strong> system was changed. Under<br />

<strong>the</strong> leadership <strong>of</strong> Dr. Holt and Young,<br />

along with <strong>the</strong> Traffic Safety Advisory<br />

Board, <strong>the</strong> League <strong>of</strong> Women Voters,<br />

local organizations, doctors, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Hospital District, and o<strong>the</strong>rs, <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi city council agreed to<br />

purchase ambulances, tra<strong>in</strong> and equip<br />

personnel, and assign <strong>the</strong> program to <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi fire department. To cut<br />

response time, ambulances were to be<br />

deployed at fire stations throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> city. At first <strong>the</strong>y were manned <strong>by</strong><br />

firefighters who volunteered to be tra<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

as emergency medical technicians. Later<br />

all firefighters <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city were required to<br />

be paramedics.<br />

In 1973, shortly after <strong>the</strong> department<br />

had obta<strong>in</strong>ed its first “Jaws <strong>of</strong> Life” equipment<br />

to aid <strong>in</strong> extricat<strong>in</strong>g accident victims,<br />

Young conducted <strong>the</strong> first Emergency<br />

Medical Technician tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g courses.<br />

Dr. Heymann was also greatly <strong>in</strong>volved<br />

<strong>in</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r Medical Society achievement—<strong>the</strong><br />

formation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend<br />

Community Blood Bank dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> 1969<br />

3 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

presidency <strong>of</strong> Dr. John W. Chriss. Dr.<br />

Heymann, Dr. Sid Conolly, and Dr. Jerry<br />

Silverman began <strong>the</strong> project <strong>in</strong> 1968,<br />

while Dr. Heymann was Society president.<br />

The Society provided $25,000 <strong>in</strong><br />

seed money through a no-<strong>in</strong>terest loan,<br />

which was later repaid. The project had<br />

strong support from Editor Robert M.<br />

Jackson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caller-Times and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

media. Vernon Smylie’s public relations<br />

firm provided favorable publicity for a<br />

token fee. Charles Porter provided discounted<br />

legal services, and later attorney<br />

Dave Coover, Sr., provided his time for<br />

free and also helped <strong>the</strong> Society obta<strong>in</strong><br />

additional property.<br />

The Blood Bank opened on South<br />

Brownlee, with Bill Henderson as executive<br />

director, just <strong>in</strong> time to be closed<br />

after Hurricane Celia struck <strong>the</strong> city on<br />

August 3, 1970. The Category 3 storm<br />

hit Corpus Christi directly, caus<strong>in</strong>g nearly<br />

one-half billion dollars <strong>in</strong> damages<br />

and kill<strong>in</strong>g fifteen people <strong>in</strong> Texas.<br />

In spite <strong>of</strong> some generous donations,<br />

<strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> cash flow would have<br />

bankrupted <strong>the</strong> facility had not George<br />

Schuster donated some undeveloped<br />

property, which provided collateral for<br />

outstand<strong>in</strong>g loans. The first medical<br />

director was Dr. Jerry Silverman, who<br />

served without pay, as Dr. Francis Parks<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>rs did later.<br />

❖ A build<strong>in</strong>g damaged <strong>by</strong> Hurricane Celia.<br />


❖ Residents l<strong>in</strong>ed up for Red Cross assistance after<br />

<strong>the</strong> storm.<br />


❖ Paramedics did not have far to transport this victim <strong>of</strong> an Ocean Drive accident.<br />


C h a p t e r 9 ✦ 3 9

❖ A patient is placed <strong>in</strong> a magnetic resonance imag<strong>in</strong>g mach<strong>in</strong>e.<br />


C H A P T E R 1 0<br />


By 1974 Medicare was approach<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> its first decade. Dr. Vernon L.<br />

Medl<strong>in</strong>, president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society<br />

at that time, said that <strong>the</strong> major problems<br />

<strong>of</strong> his tenure came from Medicare<br />

bill<strong>in</strong>g, largely because doctors and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

staffs did not understand <strong>the</strong> process.<br />

He and Dr. Harold Pruessner became<br />

<strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> procedure and attended<br />

several meet<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical<br />

Association on Tax-F<strong>in</strong>anced Health<br />

<strong>Care</strong> Programs.<br />

Talk <strong>of</strong> national health <strong>in</strong>surance was<br />

on <strong>the</strong> table <strong>in</strong> 1976, along with tort<br />

reform, relicense issues, questions <strong>of</strong> ethical<br />

standards, and <strong>the</strong> health-plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

act <strong>of</strong> 1974. Dr. James Albright, Society<br />

president, said members discussed and<br />

lobbied for <strong>the</strong>ir po<strong>in</strong>ts, although some<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> issues rema<strong>in</strong>ed unresolved.<br />

Dr. Albright was proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> attendance<br />

<strong>of</strong> 100 to 125 members at <strong>the</strong><br />

d<strong>in</strong>ner meet<strong>in</strong>gs that year. On March 30,<br />

1976, Doctor’s Day, Mayor Jason Lu<strong>by</strong><br />

presented <strong>the</strong> organization a special<br />

award for healthcare concerns <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi. Sw<strong>in</strong>e flu immunizations also<br />

marked <strong>the</strong> year.<br />

In 1977 <strong>the</strong> Society was <strong>the</strong> only one<br />

<strong>in</strong> Texas to have unified membership <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association and <strong>the</strong><br />

American Medical Association. Under<br />

<strong>the</strong> leadership <strong>of</strong> President John Paul<br />

Schulze, M.D., <strong>the</strong> Executive Committee<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Censors spent many<br />

hours address<strong>in</strong>g members’ concerns.<br />

4 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ Leslie Lopez has her blood pressure checked <strong>by</strong> Laura Berlanga at <strong>the</strong> annual Health Fair.<br />


The follow<strong>in</strong>g year those concerns<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded cost conta<strong>in</strong>ment and health<br />

plann<strong>in</strong>g. For a variety <strong>of</strong> reasons,<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>flation, a push for access to<br />

quality care, new technology, and an<br />

<strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> hospital and third-payer<br />

charges, costs were four times what<br />

<strong>the</strong>y had been <strong>in</strong> 1968. In his message<br />

to members, Dr. Lowell Kepp, president,<br />

said, “The solutions to our complex<br />

problems will not be solved <strong>by</strong> more<br />

Government, but, <strong>in</strong>stead, we <strong>the</strong> people<br />

must <strong>in</strong>sist on better Government.”<br />

To that end and follow<strong>in</strong>g a suggestion<br />

<strong>by</strong> Dr. Vernon L. Medl<strong>in</strong>, <strong>the</strong> Society<br />

formed a committee <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>formed physicians<br />

to assist legislators <strong>in</strong> healthcare matters.<br />

Headed <strong>by</strong> Dr. Holt, <strong>the</strong> committee cont<strong>in</strong>ued<br />

its efforts <strong>in</strong> 1979. On an om<strong>in</strong>ous<br />

note, <strong>in</strong>surance costs were ris<strong>in</strong>g because <strong>of</strong><br />

an <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> malpractice<br />

lawsuits; and, because <strong>of</strong> fear <strong>of</strong> be<strong>in</strong>g sued,<br />

doctors were call<strong>in</strong>g for more tests and<br />

expensive procedures than <strong>the</strong>y o<strong>the</strong>rwise<br />

might have recommended. Hospital energy<br />

costs had quadrupled <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous<br />

decade. However, Dr. J. E. Antoni,<br />

chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> physicians’ costs subcommittee,<br />

found that medical care rose 8.5<br />

percent and physicians’ fees 7.8 percent<br />

while <strong>the</strong> Bureau <strong>of</strong> Labor’s Consumer Price<br />

Index rose 8.6 percent.<br />

Look<strong>in</strong>g back on his 1979 term as<br />

Society president, Dr. C. L. Conckl<strong>in</strong><br />

recalled a gratify<strong>in</strong>g experience he and<br />

his predecessor had shared <strong>the</strong> previous<br />

year. Along with o<strong>the</strong>r doctors and smaller<br />

medical societies, <strong>the</strong>y worked for<br />

Dr. Mario Ramirez from Rio Grande City<br />

as president-elect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical<br />

Society. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous presidents<br />

had been specialists from a large city, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>y wanted a Hispanic general practitioner<br />

from a small one. Dr. Ramirez was<br />

elected and was “a very good president,”<br />

Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> said.<br />

In his later years Dr. Conckl<strong>in</strong> wrote a<br />

book, Stepp<strong>in</strong>g Stones <strong>of</strong> Understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

for Parents Carry<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Next Generation.<br />

Its forty chapters covered parent<strong>in</strong>g<br />

issues from <strong>the</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> noise on<br />

fetuses to teenage rejection <strong>of</strong> parents.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Society’s highly successful<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>gs was held <strong>in</strong> 1980 while<br />

Dr. Herbert Madal<strong>in</strong> was president and<br />

Sally Madal<strong>in</strong> was president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Society’s auxiliary, <strong>the</strong> wives group later<br />

known as <strong>the</strong> Alliance. The meet<strong>in</strong>g<br />

was held at <strong>the</strong> “Yellow Rose,” a western<br />

dance hall that even had a mechanical<br />

bull, which several doctors tried to ride.<br />

The guest speaker was Larry K<strong>in</strong>g, author<br />

<strong>of</strong> The Best Little Whorehouse <strong>in</strong> Texas. A<br />

sign at <strong>the</strong> event read “The Best Little<br />

Medical Society <strong>in</strong> Texas.”<br />

When Dr. Marco T. Eugenio became<br />

president <strong>in</strong> 1983, tort reform had<br />

become a major issue. The Society<br />

worked to <strong>in</strong>form doctors and <strong>the</strong><br />

community about <strong>the</strong> need for <strong>the</strong><br />

Legislature to pass measures to br<strong>in</strong>g<br />

down <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> malpractice<br />

lawsuits. Committees also worked to<br />

improve doctors’ relationships with<br />

patients and <strong>the</strong> community. Tort reform<br />

efforts became stronger <strong>in</strong> 1990 when a<br />

measure <strong>of</strong> limited reforms passed <strong>the</strong><br />

Legislature, but pla<strong>in</strong>tiffs’ attorneys were<br />

soon able to destroy <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

❖ Sally Madal<strong>in</strong>, wife <strong>of</strong> Dr. Herbert Madal<strong>in</strong>, was<br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical Society’s Women’s Auxiliary<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1980.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 0 ✦ 4 1

Start<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> 1966, <strong>the</strong> Society held an<br />

annual Health Fair at various locations,<br />

from Memorial Medical Center to Padre<br />

Staples Mall. In 1985, dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

presidency <strong>of</strong> Dr. Roberto Bosquez, <strong>the</strong><br />

fair, which had <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me “Better Fit<br />

for Life,” was moved to Memorial<br />

Coliseum. More than 6,000 who attended<br />

received free medical test<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

health <strong>in</strong>formation.<br />

❖ D<strong>in</strong>o Parenti, with Gilbert X-ray <strong>of</strong> Houston, work<strong>in</strong>g on <strong>in</strong>stallation <strong>of</strong> a CAT scanner at Memorial Medical<br />

Center <strong>in</strong> 1981.<br />


That same year <strong>the</strong> Society received<br />

word that <strong>the</strong> 1990 Annual Session <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Society convention<br />

would, for <strong>the</strong> second time, be held <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi. Dr. R. Michael Dulaney,<br />

Society president dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> convention,<br />

said, “Plann<strong>in</strong>g began two years <strong>in</strong><br />

advance…and <strong>in</strong>cluded our most valuable<br />

resource, <strong>the</strong> Auxiliary. Toge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

<strong>the</strong> plans proceeded smoothly, and we<br />

were able to pull <strong>of</strong>f a convention that<br />

stretched Corpus Christi to <strong>the</strong> limit.”<br />

The city worked with <strong>the</strong> Society through<br />

<strong>the</strong> Convention Center and Tourist<br />

Bureau, and every hotel room <strong>in</strong> town<br />

was filled.<br />

Guest speakers were an important part<br />

<strong>of</strong> monthly meet<strong>in</strong>gs. In 1989 Dr.<br />

Lawrence F. Buxton, president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Society, arranged for Spencer Christian,<br />

Good Morn<strong>in</strong>g America wea<strong>the</strong>rman, to<br />

speak. Christian’s major po<strong>in</strong>t was “Seize<br />

<strong>the</strong> moment,” and Dr. Buxton said that he<br />

later used this philosophy to counsel<br />

young, college-age people.<br />

Dr. Janis Birchall, who became president<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1993, felt that <strong>the</strong> Society should<br />

be more <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> community and<br />

its health problems. One result <strong>of</strong> this<br />

op<strong>in</strong>ion was an NCMS plann<strong>in</strong>g retreat at<br />

Port Royal on Mustang Island, where doctors<br />

spent two days plann<strong>in</strong>g changes that<br />

would connect <strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong> community<br />

and recruit more members. Pat Turner,<br />

vice president <strong>of</strong> Nurs<strong>in</strong>g Adm<strong>in</strong>istration<br />

at Spohn, directed <strong>the</strong> event, and former<br />

mayor Betty Turner gave a motivational<br />

speech on open<strong>in</strong>g night. The sessions<br />

must have paid <strong>of</strong>f, as members were at<br />

<strong>the</strong> city council meet<strong>in</strong>g when Dr. Mark<br />

Geneser made <strong>the</strong> case for bann<strong>in</strong>g smok<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> restaurants and at a conference<br />

with o<strong>the</strong>r county agencies to reduce teen<br />

pregnancies. Although <strong>the</strong> results were<br />

not <strong>in</strong>stant, <strong>the</strong> efforts did show progress.<br />

Also <strong>in</strong> 1993 Dr. John Pettigrove<br />

became editor <strong>of</strong> Coastal Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>.<br />

A f<strong>in</strong>ancial crisis hit <strong>the</strong> organization <strong>in</strong><br />

1994, accord<strong>in</strong>g to Dr. William E. Swan,<br />

Jr., president that year. However, Dr.<br />

Ernesto Guido and Dr. Kathleen Archer<br />

4 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ Dr. N<strong>in</strong>a Sisley.<br />


established controls, and <strong>the</strong> crisis was<br />

solved. The Society cont<strong>in</strong>ued to support<br />

tort reform and, <strong>in</strong> addition, supported <strong>the</strong><br />

Patient Protection Act and <strong>the</strong> Health <strong>Care</strong><br />

Quality Improvement Act. Members voted<br />

<strong>in</strong> a poll to de-unify, that is, no longer<br />

require membership <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> AMA.<br />

By that time <strong>the</strong> “Golden Age <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>” had passed, and Dr. H. Ross<br />

Garza, Society president <strong>in</strong> 1995,<br />

described it as “<strong>the</strong> best <strong>of</strong> times and yet<br />

<strong>the</strong> worst…” for <strong>the</strong> medical pr<strong>of</strong>ession<br />

and <strong>the</strong> patients. Improvements <strong>in</strong> technology—CAT<br />

scans (computerized axial<br />

tomography), MRIs (magnetic resonance<br />

imag<strong>in</strong>g), laparoscopic surgery, sonograms—<strong>the</strong>se<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong>novations<br />

brought <strong>in</strong>credible improvements. On <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r hand, Medicare began to limit payments,<br />

prolong payment time, and add<br />

regulations; and doctors were los<strong>in</strong>g control<br />

to managed care plans—HMOs<br />

(Health Ma<strong>in</strong>tenance Organizations), PPOs<br />

(Preferred Provider Organizations), and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r third-party payers. Medical liability<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance costs rose so high that many<br />

doctors left <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>ession. In 1992 one <strong>in</strong><br />

five <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> physicians was sued.<br />

In April, Texas Secretary <strong>of</strong> State Tony<br />

Garza visited <strong>the</strong> city and spoke to <strong>the</strong><br />

Medical Society at a meet<strong>in</strong>g at Spohn<br />

Hospital. “We will not be able to attract<br />

physicians to treat <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> and South Texas as long as <strong>the</strong>re<br />

is a fear <strong>of</strong> frivolous lawsuits,” he said,<br />

but it would be several years before<br />

progress was made <strong>in</strong> this area.<br />

It took nearly two years for <strong>the</strong> group<br />

to <strong>of</strong>ficially end its status as a unified<br />

society. The <strong>by</strong>-laws were f<strong>in</strong>ally amended<br />

to that effect <strong>in</strong> 1997, dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> presidential<br />

term <strong>of</strong> Dr. N<strong>in</strong>a M. Sisley. The<br />

Society established a Speaker’s Bureau<br />

and sent <strong>in</strong>formation to civic groups to let<br />

<strong>the</strong>m know that doctors were available to<br />

speak on medical topics at <strong>the</strong>ir meet<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

Two weeks before Dr. Charles H.<br />

Campbell, 2000 president, took <strong>of</strong>fice, an<br />

article <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Institute<br />

<strong>of</strong> Medical Study accused doctors and<br />

hospitals <strong>of</strong> caus<strong>in</strong>g thousands <strong>of</strong> deaths<br />

annually <strong>by</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g mistakes.<br />

❖ Betty Sue Perry operat<strong>in</strong>g a new Vasoscan at Spohn Hospital.<br />


“The local media did like <strong>the</strong> media<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country,” Dr. Campbell<br />

said. “It bl<strong>in</strong>dly reported <strong>the</strong> release and<br />

<strong>the</strong> study’s flawed conclusions.”<br />

In response <strong>the</strong> local medical community<br />

formed an “Action Team” that conv<strong>in</strong>ced<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caller-Times to run a rebuttal<br />

and to commit to seek <strong>in</strong>formation from<br />

local medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals before pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g<br />

any similar articles.<br />

That year also saw <strong>the</strong> formation <strong>of</strong> a<br />

“Patient <strong>Care</strong> Task Force” to see that compla<strong>in</strong>ts<br />

about patient care were taken to<br />

<strong>the</strong> top level <strong>of</strong> hospitals’ adm<strong>in</strong>istrations.<br />

The cont<strong>in</strong>u<strong>in</strong>g crisis <strong>in</strong> malpractice<br />

lawsuits and <strong>in</strong>surance companies’ delays<br />

<strong>in</strong> reimbursement were areas <strong>of</strong> major<br />

concern when Dr. Robert E. Mast<strong>in</strong><br />

became president <strong>in</strong> 2001. Dr. Mast<strong>in</strong><br />

said, “For <strong>the</strong> first time <strong>in</strong> my memory,<br />

a group <strong>of</strong> physicians and spouses made<br />

<strong>the</strong> trip to Aust<strong>in</strong> to lob<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> politicians.”<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> bill <strong>the</strong>y backed<br />

passed, Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.<br />

C h a p t e r 1 0 ✦ 4 3

❖ Spohn Hospital underwent major expansions dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> 1960s.<br />


C H A P T E R 1 1<br />


❖ A Radiation Therapy Center was named for<br />

Rachel Vaughan.<br />


Over <strong>the</strong> years Spohn Hospital evolved<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a major medical system. In 1964<br />

<strong>the</strong> $410,000 Rachael Dougherty Vaughn<br />

Radiation Therapy Center, was opened,<br />

dedicated to <strong>the</strong> memory <strong>of</strong> Rachael<br />

Dougherty Vaughan. It was funded<br />

<strong>in</strong> part <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> James R. Dougherty<br />

Foundation and was expanded <strong>in</strong> 2000<br />

to house radiation <strong>the</strong>rapy and all<br />

outpatient treatment.<br />

After The Federal Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Act <strong>of</strong> 1964<br />

provided funds for colleges and universities<br />

to develop nurs<strong>in</strong>g degree programs,<br />

Del Mar College developed a nurs<strong>in</strong>g<br />

curriculum and <strong>in</strong> 1968 <strong>the</strong> Dougherty<br />

School at Spohn Hospital closed.<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> succeed<strong>in</strong>g years, however,<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital cont<strong>in</strong>ued to expand. The<br />

Welder Memorial Chapel was added <strong>in</strong><br />

1955 and ano<strong>the</strong>r five-story addition,<br />

Annex B, was made <strong>in</strong> 1961. The ma<strong>in</strong><br />

build<strong>in</strong>g was remodeled and enlarged<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1965 and a 20-bed <strong>in</strong>tensive care<br />

unit completed. A cardiac diagnostic<br />

center was approved <strong>in</strong> 1966, and <strong>in</strong><br />

1969 a five-story, $3,250,000 addition<br />

gave <strong>the</strong> hospital a total <strong>of</strong> 455 beds.<br />

A nuclear medic<strong>in</strong>e facility, Respiratory<br />

Therapy Department, and a seven-bed<br />

coronary care unit were opened <strong>in</strong> 1972,<br />

and a hospital-based computer system<br />

was <strong>in</strong>stalled.<br />

Open-heart surgery began at <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital <strong>in</strong> 1974, and a renal care unit<br />

opened. A special care unit, bra<strong>in</strong><br />

scanner, and ultrasound equipment were<br />

acquired <strong>in</strong> 1975 and a total body<br />

scanner put <strong>in</strong> place <strong>in</strong> 1978.<br />

4 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Technology cont<strong>in</strong>ued to advance<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1980s, with a $479,000 l<strong>in</strong>ear<br />

accelerator placed <strong>in</strong> use <strong>in</strong> 1981. The<br />

$70,000,000 Sarita Kenedy East addition<br />

<strong>of</strong> 100 beds opened and a 21-bed oncology<br />

unit and closed-circuit television<br />

were launched <strong>in</strong> 1982. That same year<br />

saw <strong>the</strong> dedication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Christ <strong>the</strong> Healer<br />

statue, sculpted <strong>by</strong> Dr. Sherman Coleman,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> hospital grounds.<br />

❖ Dr. Sherman T. Coleman, left, along with his<br />

daughter, Kathleen Coleman Edwards, created this<br />

Christ <strong>the</strong> Healer statue for <strong>the</strong> Sarita Kenedy East<br />

Addition to Spohn Hospital.<br />


In 1985 <strong>the</strong> hospital had 10 floors,<br />

550 beds, 440 doctors, and 1,600<br />

employees. Expansion cont<strong>in</strong>ued <strong>in</strong> 1988<br />

as a new rehabilitation department was<br />

added and <strong>the</strong> lob<strong>by</strong> renovated. O<strong>the</strong>r<br />

areas <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong>cluded medical, surgical,<br />

and cardiovascular <strong>in</strong>tensive care<br />

units, a satellite pharmacy, an endoscopy<br />

suite, and o<strong>the</strong>r diagnostic services.<br />

On August 23, 1991, Hospital<br />

President Sister Kathleen Coughl<strong>in</strong><br />

became <strong>the</strong> first woman to receive <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Dist<strong>in</strong>guished Citizen’s<br />

award. Civic leader Barry Andrews,<br />

owner <strong>of</strong> Andrews Distributors, said,<br />

“I found her to be <strong>the</strong> driv<strong>in</strong>g force<br />

beh<strong>in</strong>d Spohn Hospital System and one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most competent adm<strong>in</strong>istrators<br />

I’ve ever worked with.”<br />

In June 1993 Sister Kathleen was<br />

<strong>in</strong>stalled as chairwoman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas<br />

Hospital Association’s Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees.<br />

In 1990 more than one <strong>in</strong> three births<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong>, Kleberg, and San Patricio<br />

counties occurred with little or no prenatal<br />

care, accord<strong>in</strong>g to a 1991 study for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Spohn Hospital System. To mitigate<br />

this situation, Spohn and Driscoll<br />

hospitals, <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong> 1993, <strong>in</strong>troduced<br />

mobile cl<strong>in</strong>ics to reach more pregnant<br />

women, especially <strong>in</strong> rural areas.<br />

❖ Sister Kathleen Coughl<strong>in</strong>.<br />


“There is a concern, based on our data<br />

and mortality rates among newborns, that<br />

people (women) are com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> right upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> moment <strong>of</strong> delivery and when <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

asked what k<strong>in</strong>d <strong>of</strong> prenatal care <strong>the</strong>y have<br />

had, <strong>the</strong>y said, ‘little to none,’” said Leticia<br />

Harris, coord<strong>in</strong>ator for Spohn’s cl<strong>in</strong>ic.<br />

A second whole body scanner was<br />

acquired <strong>in</strong> 1983, Digital Subtraction<br />

Angiography was added, and Home<br />

Health/Hospice Service <strong>in</strong>augurated. A<br />

birth<strong>in</strong>g center and a lithotripter were<br />

added <strong>in</strong> 1984 and a LIFELINE Security<br />

System begun for elderly or disabled<br />

people liv<strong>in</strong>g alone.<br />

A group <strong>of</strong> twenty nurses and health<br />

care specialists went beyond <strong>the</strong> call <strong>of</strong><br />

duty <strong>in</strong> March 1982. With an oil company<br />

contribut<strong>in</strong>g $1,200, <strong>the</strong>y raised<br />

$5,000 to buy a mach<strong>in</strong>e that enabled<br />

Manuel Tello, who was suffer<strong>in</strong>g from<br />

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou<br />

Gehrig’s disease), to leave <strong>the</strong> hospital and<br />

brea<strong>the</strong> at home.<br />

❖ Nurse Kay Appel, right, discusses a telemetry monitor system <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> cardiac-medical surgical unit at Spohn<br />

Hospital with Senator Phil Gramm, left, as monitor technician Vangie Barrera watches.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 1 ✦ 4 5

❖ Left to right: nurses Rita Mueller and Maria Simmons and Dr. F. F. Rogers <strong>in</strong>spect a new emergency room at<br />

Spohn Hospital.<br />


Even <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1990s Dr. Damon<br />

Bernwanger had experiences that illustrated<br />

this problem. One day he heard a<br />

man shout<strong>in</strong>g, “This woman’s gonna have<br />

a ba<strong>by</strong>…follow me!”<br />

The doctor grabbed what equipment<br />

he could and followed <strong>the</strong> man out <strong>the</strong><br />

door, only to see him jump <strong>in</strong>to his car<br />

and drive away. He followed and <strong>the</strong> man<br />

drove and drove, onto a caliche road and<br />

end<strong>in</strong>g up near a campfire where a group<br />

<strong>of</strong> men had ga<strong>the</strong>red. Near<strong>by</strong>, under a<br />

wagon, was a woman scream<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> pa<strong>in</strong>.<br />

After Dr. Bernwanger delivered <strong>the</strong> ba<strong>by</strong><br />

safely, ano<strong>the</strong>r man came up and said,<br />

“I’m <strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r.” He handed <strong>the</strong> doctor<br />

$25. The doctor had ano<strong>the</strong>r, similar<br />

experience, only that time he delivered<br />

tw<strong>in</strong>s—and <strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r paid him $50.<br />

Beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> September 1992 Spohn<br />

Hospital was <strong>the</strong> only one south <strong>of</strong><br />

Houston to take part <strong>in</strong> a nationwide<br />

study to combat heart disease. Yvonne<br />

Lopez, director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> study, said, “This is<br />

<strong>the</strong> first heart screen<strong>in</strong>g that <strong>in</strong>cludes<br />

women and o<strong>the</strong>rs besides white males.<br />

We’re also pleased because it <strong>in</strong>cludes<br />

Hispanics, which make up <strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong><br />

our population.”<br />

Subjects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> study were to undergo<br />

an <strong>in</strong>itial screen<strong>in</strong>g and return every six<br />

months for five years. The employees<br />

were to receive counsel<strong>in</strong>g to encourage<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to “modify behavior patterns that<br />

contribute to any unfavorable results.”<br />

After years <strong>of</strong> plann<strong>in</strong>g, on April 11,<br />

1991, <strong>the</strong> system announced a decision<br />

to open a southside satellite hospital<br />

emphasiz<strong>in</strong>g women’s services and family<br />

care. The site was dedicated on July 25,<br />

1991; ground was broken on March 18,<br />

1992; and on February 14, 1994, <strong>the</strong><br />

102-bed Spohn Hospital South opened<br />

as a full-service acute care hospital. All<br />

maternity services were moved to <strong>the</strong><br />

Southside location.<br />

Because studies showed that women<br />

make most healthcare decisions, local<br />

hospitals began to update and expand<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir labor and delivery services. Part <strong>of</strong><br />

court<strong>in</strong>g female customers is giv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>m<br />

good first hospital experiences, said<br />

Sister Kathleen Coughl<strong>in</strong>. “When you’re<br />

a new couple start<strong>in</strong>g out, who’s <strong>the</strong><br />

first one to go to <strong>the</strong> hospital?” she asked.<br />

“The woman, basically because she’s<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g a ba<strong>by</strong>.”<br />

❖ Left to right: Nurse Leigh Ann Simmons expla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> birth<strong>in</strong>g unit to sisters-<strong>in</strong>-law Kelly and Kathy Byerley.<br />


4 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Of 102 beds at Spohn South, 48 were<br />

set aside for women’s services and<br />

labor and delivery. Twenty-seven special<br />

“BirthDay suites” provided a home-like<br />

environment <strong>in</strong> which women could stay<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong> labor, delivery,<br />

and recovery, along with her ba<strong>by</strong> if<br />

she desired. The BirthDay rooms <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

a wooden, colonial rock<strong>in</strong>g chair for<br />

breast feed<strong>in</strong>g or putt<strong>in</strong>g ba<strong>by</strong> to sleep.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> same room was a s<strong>in</strong>k where a<br />

dad—with <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> nurses—could<br />

give his newborn a first bath. In <strong>the</strong> event<br />

<strong>the</strong> birth didn’t go smoothly, framed<br />

pastel-pr<strong>in</strong>ts on each side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ultramodern<br />

birth<strong>in</strong>g bed slid over to reveal<br />

wall hookups for oxygen and anyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

else needed.<br />

In July 1996, after seven months <strong>of</strong><br />

negotiations, Memorial Medical Center<br />

became a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Spohn system.<br />

Spohn beat out Columbia/HCA Healthcare<br />

Corp., which was also <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong><br />

Memorial, with a bid to spend more than<br />

$7.9 million annually to lease <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

and provide capital improvements<br />

for thirty years with <strong>the</strong> option <strong>of</strong> two<br />

additional five-year terms.<br />

❖ Spohn Memorial emergency room Telemetry System.<br />


“It’s a good th<strong>in</strong>g for Spohn, and it’s a<br />

good th<strong>in</strong>g for <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> and South<br />

Texas,” Spohn President Jake Henry said.<br />

“We’re glad Memorial will be com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to<br />

our constellation <strong>of</strong> health care facilities.”<br />

“This is a proud moment,” <strong>County</strong><br />

Judge Richard Borchard said. “I th<strong>in</strong>k<br />

<strong>the</strong> taxpayers are <strong>the</strong> real w<strong>in</strong>ners <strong>in</strong><br />

this. With this collaboration, we should<br />

be able to ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> current tax rate.”<br />

❖ Nurses help<strong>in</strong>g a new mo<strong>the</strong>r get acqua<strong>in</strong>ted with her <strong>in</strong>fant.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 1 ✦ 4 7

❖ Spohn Hospital President, Sister Kathleen<br />

Coughl<strong>in</strong>, shows a model <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> projected Spohn<br />

Hospital South.<br />


❖ A replica <strong>of</strong> The Heal<strong>in</strong>g Christ receiv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

bless<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> Bishop Rene Gracida at ceremonies at Spohn<br />

Memorial Hospital <strong>in</strong> October 1996.<br />


Memorial President David López said<br />

it was difficult for <strong>the</strong> hospital district’s<br />

board managers to decide whe<strong>the</strong>r to<br />

recommend Spohn or Columbia. “Their<br />

proposals were so competitive,” López<br />

said “But <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> end, <strong>the</strong> board felt go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with Spohn was <strong>the</strong> right th<strong>in</strong>g to do.”<br />

❖ Accompanied <strong>by</strong> Sister Kathleen Coughl<strong>in</strong>,<br />

Bishop Rene Gracida blesses Spohn Hospital South on<br />

its open<strong>in</strong>g.<br />


To meet Memorial’s demands, Spohn<br />

agreed to ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital as <strong>the</strong><br />

regional trauma center, assume current<br />

levels <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>digent and charity care, and<br />

keep revenues <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> to<br />

expand services or reduce taxes. After<br />

some confusion <strong>the</strong> Catholic hospital<br />

❖ Memorial Medical Center became part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Spohn System <strong>in</strong> 1996.<br />


4 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

clarified its position that <strong>the</strong>rapeutic<br />

abortions were permissible when <strong>the</strong> life<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r was at stake.<br />

Expansion cont<strong>in</strong>ued <strong>in</strong> 1996 when<br />

<strong>the</strong> nonpr<strong>of</strong>it system took over Bee<br />

<strong>County</strong> Hospital and broke ground on a<br />

new cardiac/surgery center at Spohn<br />

Shorel<strong>in</strong>e. Up until that time <strong>the</strong> operat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

rooms were small, with low ceil<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

The new rooms were state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art,<br />

with a laboratory, pre-admission test<strong>in</strong>g<br />

equipment, facilities for cardiac care, two<br />

cystoscopy rooms for kidney and bladder<br />

operations, and recovery rooms.<br />

“With this facility we hope to do<br />

more outpatient cases here,” said Robert<br />

Butler, <strong>the</strong> system’s executive vice<br />

president. “This will be a very patientfriendly<br />

facility.”<br />

❖ CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice.<br />


❖ CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville.<br />

❖ Mobile units provide medical care and materials<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> area.<br />



In 1994 a group <strong>of</strong> local women formed<br />

First Friday, an organization to fight breast<br />

cancer. The group, which partnered with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Spohn System’s Breast <strong>Care</strong> Program,<br />

held annual fund-rais<strong>in</strong>g events with<br />

cancer survivor celebrities such as journalist<br />

L<strong>in</strong>da Ellerbee, author Kathy Latour,<br />

actress Marsha Wallace, actor/husband &<br />

wife team Jill Eikenberry and Michael<br />

Tucker, and actress Diahann Carroll as<br />

speakers. Money raised provided yearround<br />

educational programs, television<br />

spots promot<strong>in</strong>g early detection, and free<br />

mammograms for women who could not<br />

afford <strong>the</strong>m, said Joan Moss, breast-care<br />

educator for <strong>the</strong> Spohn Health System.<br />

❖ Spohn Hospital South on Saratoga Boulevard opened February 14, 1994.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 1 ✦ 4 9

❖ Coronary care nurses station.<br />


❖ Trauma Room at Spohn Memorial Hospital.<br />


5 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

In January 1996 <strong>the</strong> system launched<br />

a breast-care system at Spohn South to<br />

consolidate breast-care services. The program<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded a toll-free number for<br />

women’s questions.<br />

The hospital also honored some <strong>of</strong><br />

its own. Three top doctors received<br />

Physician Leadership Awards <strong>in</strong> a ceremony<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Country Club on<br />

March 30, 1998. They were Drs. E. Ben<br />

Groner, Joe Lewis, and Benson L. Mart<strong>in</strong>.<br />

The three had practiced at Spohn for a<br />

total <strong>of</strong> 114 years, and each had served<br />

as chief <strong>of</strong> staff. Dr. Groner, a graduate<br />

<strong>of</strong> Tulane University School <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>,<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> staff <strong>in</strong> 1951 and specialized<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>ternal medic<strong>in</strong>e. Dr. Lewis jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1961 after graduat<strong>in</strong>g from Baylor<br />

University. He served as medical director<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> laboratory at Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e and<br />

as chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> pathology.<br />

Dr. Mart<strong>in</strong>, who earned his medical<br />

degree from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

Medical Branch <strong>in</strong> Galveston, jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong><br />

staff <strong>in</strong> 1965. He was also <strong>in</strong>volved<br />

with Spohn Kleberg Memorial Hospital<br />

and served on <strong>the</strong> Executive Council<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Association <strong>of</strong> Obstetrics<br />

and Gynecology.<br />

In 1996 Dr. Groner received <strong>the</strong><br />

Arthritis Foundation Humanitarian Award.<br />

He was also honored as <strong>the</strong> 1999 honoree<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> National Kidney Foundation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Texas Coastal Bend.<br />

Spohn Health System became CHRISTUS<br />

Spohn Health System <strong>in</strong> November 1998,<br />

when it merged with <strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong><br />

Charity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Incarnate Word <strong>in</strong> San<br />

Antonio. The move consolidated twentyseven<br />

hospitals, four long-term care<br />

facilities, and seven acute-care sites<br />

with a total <strong>of</strong> 23,000 employees <strong>in</strong><br />

Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri,<br />

and Utah. At that time <strong>the</strong> Spohn System<br />

operated five hospitals—three <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi, one <strong>in</strong> K<strong>in</strong>gsville, and one <strong>in</strong><br />

Beeville. In 1999 <strong>the</strong> System added<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice to serve<br />

residents <strong>of</strong> Alice and <strong>the</strong> surround<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Jim Wells, Duval, Jim Hogg, Live Oak,<br />

and Brooks counties.<br />

❖ New Spohn South operat<strong>in</strong>g room.<br />


In December CHRISTUS Spohn<br />

Shorel<strong>in</strong>e jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> a Stem Cell<br />

Transplant Program with <strong>the</strong> University<br />

<strong>of</strong> Texas M. D. Anderson outreach<br />

program. Nora Fraser, health system<br />

vice president, said <strong>the</strong> affiliation<br />

meant that some local patients would<br />

benefit from one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />

lead<strong>in</strong>g cancer treatment centers without<br />

leav<strong>in</strong>g home.<br />

Pregnant women <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> area also stood to<br />

benefit from a newer mobile van acquired <strong>in</strong><br />

August 2000. CHRISTUS St. John Hospital<br />

<strong>in</strong> Nassau Bay near Houston donated a 40-<br />

foot 1993 Land Yacht, which served rural<br />

patients who couldn’t afford prenatal care or<br />

had no way to get to it. In addition, <strong>the</strong> unit<br />

provided educational materials, treatment<br />

for common illnesses, and health screen<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

for cholesterol, blood pressure, and anemia.<br />

C h a p t e r 1 1 ✦ 5 1

❖ This l<strong>in</strong>ear accelerator was placed <strong>in</strong> use <strong>in</strong> 1981.<br />


❖ A nurse prepares a mammography mach<strong>in</strong>e.<br />


❖ Newer digital mammograms help early diagnosis <strong>of</strong> breast cancer.<br />


5 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ New whirlpool added to Memorial burn unit <strong>in</strong> 1967.<br />


C H A P T E R 1 2<br />


❖ Dr. Jackson Upshaw hold<strong>in</strong>g a knee pros<strong>the</strong>sis<br />

he developed.<br />


While <strong>the</strong> computer age seemed to<br />

usher <strong>in</strong> an explosion <strong>of</strong> new technologies,<br />

many excit<strong>in</strong>g new procedures were<br />

<strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> years <strong>of</strong> study and research.<br />

One such methodology was developed<br />

<strong>by</strong> a Corpus Christi orthopedic surgeon,<br />

Dr. Jackson E. Upshaw. It was <strong>the</strong> knee<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>t implant design, which made knee<br />

replacement surgery possible and helped<br />

untold numbers <strong>of</strong> wheelchair-bound<br />

people to walk aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Dr. Upshaw, who came to Corpus<br />

Christi <strong>in</strong> 1950 after complet<strong>in</strong>g his<br />

orthopedic surgery residency at <strong>the</strong> Mayo<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic, focused on knees after his own<br />

knee was <strong>in</strong>jured <strong>in</strong> an accident, At that<br />

time persons with knee <strong>in</strong>juries were<br />

conf<strong>in</strong>ed to wheelchairs or to us<strong>in</strong>g canes.<br />

“There was simply noth<strong>in</strong>g we could<br />

do, and this spurred my <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a replacement,” he said.<br />

The long search for a transplant<br />

operation began <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1950s. Dr.<br />

Upshaw would fly to Houston to dissect<br />

a knee, eventually study<strong>in</strong>g more than<br />

200. The complexity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> jo<strong>in</strong>t posed<br />

many problems.<br />

“The knee is not a s<strong>in</strong>gle curve but a<br />

succession <strong>of</strong> curves, front to back,” he<br />

said. “It has to be able to bend not only forward<br />

and back but also a little side to side.”<br />

He tried a variety <strong>of</strong> materials. In 1964<br />

a metal-Teflon jo<strong>in</strong>t held <strong>in</strong> place with<br />

bone grafts was promis<strong>in</strong>g, but four years<br />

later <strong>the</strong> Teflon started to dis<strong>in</strong>tegrate. He<br />

went to England, where ano<strong>the</strong>r doctor<br />

was work<strong>in</strong>g on jo<strong>in</strong>ts made <strong>of</strong> polyethylene<br />

and us<strong>in</strong>g a special cement to bond<br />

<strong>the</strong> material to <strong>the</strong> bone. After Dr.<br />

Upshaw showed <strong>the</strong> first model at a medical<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> 1969, headl<strong>in</strong>es followed<br />

all over <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

C h a p t e r 1 2 ✦ 5 3

The manufacturer did not believe that a<br />

doctor from “Corpus Christi, Texas” could<br />

make such a discovery and recommended<br />

that a team work on <strong>the</strong> project. The team,<br />

consist<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> Dr. Upshaw and Dr. Mark<br />

Coventry <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mayo Cl<strong>in</strong>ic, Dr. Lee Riley<br />

<strong>of</strong> Johns Hopk<strong>in</strong>s School <strong>of</strong> <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>,<br />

Dr. Gerald F<strong>in</strong>derman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

California at Los Angeles Center for <strong>the</strong><br />

Health Sciences, and Dr. Roderick Turner<br />

<strong>of</strong> Harvard Medical School, met every six<br />

weeks for three years to exchange notes<br />

and cases before publish<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> first study<br />

<strong>of</strong> knee replacement patients.<br />

Dr. Upshaw performed his first knee<br />

replacement on January 27, 1971, on a<br />

45-year-old highway department worker<br />

who had been <strong>in</strong>jured <strong>in</strong> an accident.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> his operations, however, were on<br />

persons sixty years old or older, most <strong>of</strong><br />

whom suffered from severe arthritis. Dr.<br />

Upshaw also performed hip replacements<br />

before his retirement <strong>in</strong> December 1984.<br />

The late 1980s saw many hospitals<br />

undergo a period <strong>of</strong> f<strong>in</strong>ancial stress, and<br />

local ones were no exception. Even so,<br />

Spohn, Memorial, and Humana, which<br />

became Doctors Regional Hospital, had<br />

1,000 beds available <strong>in</strong> 1988, and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

occupancy rates were higher than <strong>the</strong><br />

Texas average. The state rate <strong>in</strong> 1986 was<br />

55.2 percent, down from 70 percent <strong>in</strong><br />

1980. Spohn’s rate <strong>in</strong> 1988 was 82 percent.<br />

The reduced occupancy rates were not<br />

all bad, because medical advances that<br />

shortened hospital stays were a large part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> reason. For example, cataract surgery<br />

that previously had required two- or<br />

three-day hospital stays had become a<br />

strictly outpatient procedure. Duplication<br />

<strong>of</strong> services was ano<strong>the</strong>r cause. MMC<br />

Adm<strong>in</strong>istrator Lipes said, “Everyone is<br />

gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> act <strong>of</strong> do<strong>in</strong>g what <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r guy does. It is extremely wasteful <strong>of</strong><br />

resources to cont<strong>in</strong>ue this duplication.”<br />

However <strong>in</strong> May 1982 Spohn and<br />

Memorial Medical Center had found a<br />

way to economize. They comb<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

purchase <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>travenous solutions, result<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> a sav<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>of</strong> $70,000.<br />

Memorial Medical Center acquired <strong>the</strong><br />

city’s first Magnetic Resonance Imag<strong>in</strong>g<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> 1985. In January 1987 a new<br />

cardioca<strong>the</strong>rtization lab was opened next<br />

to <strong>the</strong> ICU and a new whirlpool added to<br />

<strong>the</strong> burn unit. The first sleep disorder<br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ic was opened at Memorial <strong>in</strong> 1989.<br />

By 1992 Memorial, Spohn, Driscoll, and<br />

Southside Community hospitals all had<br />

MRI mach<strong>in</strong>es.<br />

“MRI scann<strong>in</strong>g is like tak<strong>in</strong>g a piece <strong>of</strong><br />

French bread, tak<strong>in</strong>g an electric knife and<br />

th<strong>in</strong>ly cutt<strong>in</strong>g it layer <strong>by</strong> layer,” Elmer<br />

Kubsch, chief technician <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> MRI and<br />

CAT Scann<strong>in</strong>g Department at Memorial,<br />

said. “You look at each layer on three different<br />

planes. So you have <strong>the</strong> ability to<br />

spot a bra<strong>in</strong> tumor or a nerve tumor. And<br />

we can tell where <strong>the</strong> blood is com<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from and tell <strong>the</strong> surgeon what nerves are<br />

blocked and where to operate.<br />

“It is difficult and costly to keep up<br />

with <strong>the</strong> latest technology,” he said. “Just<br />

<strong>the</strong> s<strong>of</strong>tware upgrade can cost upwards <strong>of</strong><br />

$100,000, and a one-year service contract<br />

$150,000 to $200,000.”<br />

However, more new technologies were<br />

at hand. At <strong>the</strong> Rehab Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1990 a<br />

computer program let stroke victims create<br />

sentences with pictures. Humana <strong>in</strong><br />

1989 <strong>in</strong>troduced laser-assisted peripheral<br />

angioplasty and nonsurgical ar<strong>the</strong>rectomy<br />

to remove cholesterol buildup <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

lower part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> body.<br />

A new seizure-monitor<strong>in</strong>g system<br />

acquired <strong>by</strong> Spohn Hospital made it easier<br />

to p<strong>in</strong>po<strong>in</strong>t bra<strong>in</strong> seizures that are sporadic<br />

or not easily identifiable <strong>by</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

means. The equipment, called an EEG<br />

(electroencephalogram) Video Monitor<strong>in</strong>g<br />

❖ Patients are closely monitored dur<strong>in</strong>g tests.<br />


❖ Betty Sue Perry operates Spohn’s seizure-monitor<strong>in</strong>g system.<br />


5 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

❖ The merger <strong>of</strong> Driscoll Hospital and Ada Wilson Center comb<strong>in</strong>ed acute and long-term care.<br />


Mach<strong>in</strong>e, was similar to standard EEG<br />

equipment <strong>in</strong> monitor<strong>in</strong>g bra<strong>in</strong>-wave<br />

activity—registered <strong>in</strong> wavy l<strong>in</strong>es on a<br />

video screen—to see any malfunctions.<br />

But it also was hooked <strong>in</strong>to a more<br />

comprehensive unit that <strong>in</strong>cluded a<br />

microphone and video camera monitored<br />

<strong>by</strong> a technician <strong>in</strong> an adjacent room. The<br />

audio-video equipment showed patients’<br />

physical movements at <strong>the</strong> same time it<br />

recorded <strong>the</strong>ir bra<strong>in</strong> activity on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> split video screen. In this way,<br />

patients could check <strong>in</strong>to a hospital room<br />

and be observed for up to twenty-four<br />

hours, ra<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong> one- or two-hour<br />

limit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> standard EEG.<br />

The Ada Wilson Speech Pathology<br />

Department and <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Radiation<br />

Department jo<strong>in</strong>ed forces to study<br />

dysphagia <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir patients, as difficulty<br />

<strong>in</strong> swallow<strong>in</strong>g sometimes led to<br />

pneumonia. They made X-ray studies <strong>of</strong><br />

suck<strong>in</strong>g, swallow<strong>in</strong>g, bit<strong>in</strong>g, and chew<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Health improved <strong>in</strong> two years <strong>in</strong><br />

more than thirty patients after <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

positions or <strong>the</strong> texture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir food<br />

was changed.<br />

In 1993 <strong>the</strong> Medical Society jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce<br />

<strong>in</strong> work<strong>in</strong>g with Woolford & Co., Inc.,<br />

a local advertis<strong>in</strong>g and publications<br />

company, to put toge<strong>the</strong>r a medical services<br />

directory to encourage more local<br />

patient referrals from doctors <strong>in</strong> Mexico.<br />

In addition to physician and hospital<br />

specialties, it would <strong>in</strong>clude <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

on travel accommodations.<br />

“We can market ourselves as a medical<br />

dest<strong>in</strong>ation and stand next to Houston<br />

and San Antonio,” Leah Woolford, president<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company, said.<br />

On July 1 <strong>of</strong> that year, <strong>the</strong> Society<br />

organized a meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> nearly thirty local<br />

groups to set up a coalition to combat <strong>the</strong><br />

growth <strong>of</strong> teenage pregnancies and sexually<br />

transmitted diseases. Representatives<br />

from schools, hospitals, and such diverse<br />

groups as <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend Council<br />

on AIDS to <strong>the</strong> Catholic Diocese <strong>of</strong><br />

Corpus Christi’s Office <strong>of</strong> Human Life,<br />

attended. Dr. N<strong>in</strong>a Sisley, director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi/<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Health<br />

Department, told <strong>the</strong>m that <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> ranked No. 1 among major counties<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> state <strong>in</strong> births to teenagers.<br />

It’s not that <strong>the</strong> students aren’t be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

educated, said Rita Potter, CCISD’s<br />

adm<strong>in</strong>istrative <strong>of</strong>ficer for secondary curriculum<br />

development. “The problem is<br />

not <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>formation we give<br />

<strong>the</strong> kids,” she said. “The problem is<br />

almost <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> psychosocial area where<br />

<strong>the</strong>y don’t choose to use <strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>formation.”<br />

Three year later <strong>the</strong> Medical Society<br />

and Driscoll Hospital jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> Junior<br />

League, five local hospitals, and <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Independent School<br />

District <strong>in</strong> sponsor<strong>in</strong>g a program to take a<br />

message <strong>of</strong> sexual abst<strong>in</strong>ence to seven<br />

middle schools. The previous year <strong>the</strong>re<br />

had been 680 pregnancies <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> county’s<br />

12,400 teenage girls. Kay Whit, co-chair<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Junior League’s Postpone Sexual<br />

Involvement Program, said that <strong>the</strong> program<br />

would teach sixth graders how to<br />

avoid sexually compromis<strong>in</strong>g situations<br />

and how to deal with media and peer<br />

pressure to be sexually active.<br />

In March 1995 Driscoll Children’s<br />

Hospital merged with <strong>the</strong> Ada Wilson<br />

Children’s Center for Rehabilitation.<br />

Dr. J. E. Ted Stibbards, Driscoll president<br />

and chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer, said, “By<br />

merg<strong>in</strong>g with a rehabilitation facility that<br />

provides chronic and on-go<strong>in</strong>g care, we<br />

create <strong>the</strong> acute-care sett<strong>in</strong>g where a child<br />

who is hurt can get out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

quicker, can facilitate and hasten <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

neurological recovery and ultimately<br />

get home.”<br />

Spohn and Driscoll hospitals formed<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r partnership <strong>in</strong> 1998 when it was<br />

decided that Driscoll would run <strong>the</strong><br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital Neonatal<br />

Nursery at Spohn South. Spohn Hospital<br />

would take care <strong>of</strong> healthy newborns, but<br />

premature babies and those born need<strong>in</strong>g<br />

more extensive care would be treated <strong>in</strong><br />

Driscoll’s <strong>in</strong>tensive care nursery.<br />

C h a p t e r 1 2 ✦ 5 5

This is a partnership that will do a<br />

great deal for Corpus Christi, said T. S.<br />

Scibienski, chairman <strong>of</strong> Driscoll’s govern<strong>in</strong>g<br />

board. The spirits <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> founders <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se two hospitals “are look<strong>in</strong>g down<br />

smil<strong>in</strong>g on us for do<strong>in</strong>g this.”<br />

❖ Judy Hayden timed <strong>the</strong> efforts <strong>of</strong> Mike Uehl<strong>in</strong>ger as he completed forty-seven crunches <strong>in</strong> one m<strong>in</strong>ute at a<br />

Health Fair at Carroll High School.<br />


❖ Oscar Davila, director <strong>of</strong> Acute Coronary <strong>Care</strong><br />

at Spohn Hospital, check<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> blood pressure <strong>of</strong> a<br />

motorist as part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital’s ‘American Heart<br />

Month’ drive <strong>in</strong> 1992.<br />


for services <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g eye exams, breast<br />

exams, dental screen<strong>in</strong>gs, blood tests, and<br />

medical advice. There were 130 booths <strong>in</strong><br />

1994 and 134 <strong>in</strong> 1995. That year saw a<br />

vegetarian group <strong>in</strong>cluded. In 1996 <strong>the</strong><br />

event drew 6,000 people, even though it<br />

was moved back to Memorial Coliseum<br />

because <strong>of</strong> a schedul<strong>in</strong>g problem.<br />

That same year saw both Spohn and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Columbia/HCA Health <strong>Care</strong> system<br />

open new cardiac-care centers. The<br />

Spohn $28 million Shorel<strong>in</strong>e Pavilion<br />

opened <strong>in</strong> March, locat<strong>in</strong>g all aspects <strong>of</strong><br />

cardiac care <strong>in</strong> one central location.<br />

“We’re able to provide <strong>the</strong> same services,<br />

but it’s <strong>in</strong> a much more patient-friendly<br />

and convenient location,” said David<br />

Clark, vice president <strong>of</strong> Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e,<br />

“plus we have newer and improved<br />

technology that helps to enhance <strong>the</strong><br />

patient’s and physician’s satisfaction.”<br />

As medical technology advanced, preventive<br />

care became a most important<br />

consideration. The Society’s annual Health<br />

Fair, which had moved to <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Bank Center, cont<strong>in</strong>ued to draw crowds<br />

❖ A Memorial Hospital employee, Humberrto Valderaz, Jr., tries out a new high-tech treadmill.<br />


5 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Jane Haas, director <strong>of</strong> wellness services<br />

at CHRISTUS Spohn Health <strong>Care</strong>, said<br />

about one-third <strong>of</strong> patients at CHRISTUS<br />

Spohn hospitals had diabetes-related<br />

problems. “Health fairs provide excellent<br />

opportunities for people to get a free<br />

test,” she said.<br />

❖ Gayle Conway performs a glaucoma test on Rachel Mart<strong>in</strong>ez at a Community Health Fair.<br />


Historically, blood donations faltered<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g summer and <strong>the</strong> holiday season,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> 1997 fair <strong>in</strong>cluded a blood drive<br />

that was called <strong>the</strong> biggest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year.<br />

At that fair 14,000 tests were performed,<br />

with 1,700 abnormal results reported.<br />

The fair provided $795,309 worth <strong>of</strong><br />

free test<strong>in</strong>g. O<strong>the</strong>r local groups jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

<strong>the</strong> practice <strong>by</strong> organiz<strong>in</strong>g similar events.<br />

The county ga<strong>in</strong>ed its first schoolbased<br />

mobile cl<strong>in</strong>ic <strong>in</strong> 1998, when one<br />

was acquired <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> school district <strong>in</strong><br />

Driscoll, <strong>the</strong> small <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> town<br />

that Clara Driscoll’s bro<strong>the</strong>r, Robert, Jr.,<br />

had named for himself.<br />

Health fairs also served as a excellent<br />

weapon <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> fight aga<strong>in</strong>st a major local<br />

health problem —diabetes. Death-certificate<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation showed that at least<br />

190 persons died <strong>of</strong> diabetes-related<br />

complications <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> county <strong>in</strong> 1992.<br />

“…<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> is <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> midst <strong>of</strong><br />

a health crisis and <strong>the</strong> crisis is called<br />

diabetes,” Dr. Jaime Davidson, Texas<br />

Diabetes Control chairman, said.<br />

The American Diabetes Association,<br />

along with <strong>the</strong> Spohn Health System<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Medical Center,<br />

gave medical advice and free exam<strong>in</strong>ations<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Solomon P. Ortiz International<br />

Center on November 5, 2000, as<br />

National Diabetes Awareness Month<br />

began. About 250 participated <strong>in</strong><br />

a fund-rais<strong>in</strong>g walk along <strong>the</strong> Bayfront <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> morn<strong>in</strong>g, and later ano<strong>the</strong>r 150<br />

were exam<strong>in</strong>ed for signs <strong>of</strong> diabetes.<br />

Approach<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> goal <strong>of</strong> $40,000, <strong>the</strong><br />

event raised about $35,000 for <strong>the</strong><br />

Diabetes Association.<br />

At that time Carol García, a program<br />

coord<strong>in</strong>ator for diabetes education at <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Medical Center, said that<br />

about half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> estimated 33,000 people<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> with diabetes did not<br />

know <strong>the</strong>y had it. “A lot <strong>of</strong> people who<br />

have it don’t have <strong>in</strong>surance,” she said.<br />

“A lot <strong>of</strong> complications can be prevented<br />

if [health fairs] can be available to make<br />

<strong>the</strong> public aware that <strong>the</strong>y can prevent it<br />

and it can be treated.”<br />

She added that non-Anglos showed a<br />

disproportionately higher number <strong>of</strong><br />

cases <strong>of</strong> diabetes than Anglos. As a<br />

result, she said event organizers tried to<br />

raise awareness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Hispanic community.<br />

❖ Lucy Vacca practic<strong>in</strong>g a blood test at a<br />

Health Fair.<br />


In 1994 <strong>the</strong> Medical Society, <strong>the</strong> Texas<br />

Diabetes Council, and <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Diabetes Association launched “Operation:<br />

Defeat Diabetes” The program, <strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong><br />

its k<strong>in</strong>d <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> country, was a yearlong<br />

effort to teach doctors and <strong>the</strong> public that<br />

diabetes can be controlled.<br />

At a 1997 d<strong>in</strong>ner at <strong>the</strong> Omni Bayfront<br />

Hotel, <strong>the</strong> local chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Diabetes Association raised $40,000.<br />

Sylvia Chase, a Prime Time Live correspondent<br />

and keynote speaker, told<br />

how she managed a high-pr<strong>of</strong>ile television<br />

career and at <strong>the</strong> same time managed<br />

<strong>the</strong> illness.<br />

C h a p t e r 1 2 ✦ 5 7

❖ Driscoll Hospital opened an orthodontics center <strong>in</strong> 2005.<br />


C H A P T E R 1 3<br />


The war aga<strong>in</strong>st diabetes cont<strong>in</strong>ued<br />

<strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> new century as obesity <strong>in</strong> adults<br />

and especially <strong>in</strong> children became a major<br />

concern. Dr. Stephen Ponder, a pediatric<br />

endocr<strong>in</strong>ologist at Driscoll Hospital, medical<br />

correspondent for <strong>the</strong> Caller-Times,<br />

and a Type 1 Diabetic, wrote a series <strong>of</strong><br />

weekly columns deal<strong>in</strong>g with <strong>the</strong> disease<br />

and emphasiz<strong>in</strong>g such dangers <strong>of</strong> obesity<br />

as diabetes, heart problems, high blood<br />

pressure, and problems sleep<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> high <strong>in</strong>cidence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

disease <strong>in</strong> South Texas, six local agencies<br />

cooperated to hold a diabetes fair at Al<br />

Am<strong>in</strong> Shr<strong>in</strong>e Center <strong>in</strong> March 2007. About<br />

100 people attended <strong>the</strong> event, which was<br />

organized <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Shr<strong>in</strong>ers, <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Hospital District, American Diabetes<br />

Association, Texas Cooperative Extension,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Commissioners<br />

Court. CHRISTUS Spohn Health System<br />

representatives took part <strong>by</strong> <strong>of</strong>fer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

wellness services, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g screen<strong>in</strong>gs for<br />

blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.<br />

They also measured body fat.<br />

Diabetes prevention was also <strong>the</strong> aim<br />

<strong>of</strong> a “Know Your Numbers” Health Fair<br />

organized <strong>in</strong> September <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> College<br />

<strong>of</strong> Nurs<strong>in</strong>g and Health Sciences and<br />

k<strong>in</strong>esiology department at Texas A&M<br />

University-Corpus Christi.<br />

The emphasis on prevention also applied<br />

to o<strong>the</strong>r conditions. At <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Medical Society and Alliance Health Fair <strong>in</strong><br />

2001, Dr. Kir<strong>by</strong> Barker, a local oncologist,<br />

said regular health screen<strong>in</strong>gs can shed light<br />

on hidden problems and open <strong>the</strong> l<strong>in</strong>es <strong>of</strong><br />

communication with a patient.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> fair that year he <strong>of</strong>fered free<br />

breast screen<strong>in</strong>gs. “It’s possible that a<br />

woman doesn’t know how to properly do<br />

a breast self-exam,” he said, “plus, if she<br />

does have questions, it’s a good time to<br />

have those questions answered.”<br />

In 2003 <strong>the</strong> fair <strong>of</strong>fered a lot <strong>of</strong> firsts,<br />

accord<strong>in</strong>g to Dr. Lalitha Janaki, chairwoman.<br />

Daylong classes were <strong>of</strong>fered free<br />

to <strong>the</strong> public and <strong>the</strong>re was CPR tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g,<br />

she said. In addition, workers from <strong>the</strong><br />

Family Practice Residency Program gave<br />

33 percent more bone marrow tests<br />

than <strong>the</strong>y expected. Overall, Dr. Janaki<br />

said, <strong>the</strong> health fair was a success, with<br />

2,923 people attend<strong>in</strong>g and 184<br />

exhibitors. “We had great attendance<br />

at <strong>the</strong> classes,” she said. “It’s really<br />

been wonderful.”<br />

5 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

The 2004 event attracted about 6,000<br />

people, said Paulette Shaw, <strong>the</strong> Society’s<br />

executive director. In addition to <strong>the</strong> free<br />

medical tests, she said, a major attraction<br />

was <strong>the</strong> new Children’s Nutrition and<br />

Physical Activity Expo. The <strong>in</strong>augural<br />

expo received a national award from <strong>the</strong><br />

American Cancer Society for provid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

cancer-prevention programm<strong>in</strong>g to atrisk<br />

populations. School athletic physicals<br />

and immunizations were new <strong>in</strong><br />

2006. Also new was <strong>the</strong> Cancer Journey,<br />

which showcased a panel <strong>of</strong> survivors<br />

and <strong>of</strong>fered breast, prostate, sk<strong>in</strong>, and<br />

oral cancer screen<strong>in</strong>gs, along with<br />

treatment <strong>in</strong>formation.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> years went <strong>by</strong>, <strong>the</strong> health fair<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ued to grow. More than 5,000 people<br />

took advantage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> free services<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered at <strong>the</strong> 44th annual fair <strong>in</strong> 2009.<br />

“This represents a healthcare safety net<br />

<strong>in</strong> our imperfect system,” said Dr. Stefan<br />

Walker, health fair committee chairman.<br />

“Private and public entities work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r shows <strong>the</strong>re is hope that services<br />

are out <strong>the</strong>re for those <strong>in</strong> despair.<br />

We have to roll up our sleeves and help<br />

people get resources.”<br />

In 2010 about 4,000 people attended.<br />

More than 150 school athletes received<br />

physicals, about 100 families had children<br />

vacc<strong>in</strong>ated, and Coastal Bend Blood Center<br />

collected 71 units <strong>of</strong> blood. The Texas<br />

Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Little<br />

Heads gave about 200 helmets to young<br />

bicycle riders, and Fit & Free <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Sea</strong>,<br />

a weight loss program group, held hourly<br />

workout classes dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> morn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r local groups held similar events.<br />

In February 2001 <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

Medical Center and <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

Athletic Club held a fair at <strong>the</strong> Heart<br />

Hospital next to Bay Area Hospital. In<br />

May <strong>the</strong> City-<strong>County</strong> Health Department<br />

began to hold an annual fair for seniors,<br />

and <strong>in</strong> March 2002 n<strong>in</strong>e student nurses<br />

from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took it<br />

upon <strong>the</strong>mselves to hold a fair at <strong>the</strong><br />

H-E-B Grocery on Kostoryz Road. Dozens<br />

<strong>of</strong> customers stopped <strong>by</strong> to have <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

blood pressure and blood sugar checked.<br />

Concern over lack <strong>of</strong> <strong>in</strong>frastructure and<br />

possible water contam<strong>in</strong>ation brought<br />

dozens <strong>of</strong> residents <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tierra Grande<br />

colonia to a free mobile cl<strong>in</strong>ic <strong>in</strong> July 2004.<br />

After reports that dozens <strong>of</strong> people <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

colonia suffered fevers, diarrhea, and vomit<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

several agencies got toge<strong>the</strong>r to organize<br />

<strong>the</strong> health fair, which <strong>of</strong>fered medical<br />

and dental checkups, blood-sugar screen<strong>in</strong>gs,<br />

dietary advice, and <strong>in</strong>formation about<br />

public-assistance programs for low-<strong>in</strong>come<br />

families. Dr. Hector P. García Founder’s<br />

Chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American GI Forum<br />

brought medical counsel<strong>in</strong>g and services to<br />

Nuevo Jerusalem Iglesia, a church at Tierra<br />

Grande on <strong>the</strong> eastern outskirts <strong>of</strong><br />

Petronila. Agencies that helped <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

<strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend Health Education Center,<br />

Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, United<br />

Way, Del Mar College Dental Department,<br />

Corpus Christi Medical Center, and <strong>the</strong><br />

South Texas Colonia Initiative.<br />

Three years later about fifteen firstand<br />

second-year medical students from<br />

<strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Texas at San Antonio’s<br />

Frontera de Salud came to a fair at St.<br />

Anthony’s Catholic Church <strong>in</strong> Robstown<br />

to hold free screen<strong>in</strong>gs for diabetes, high<br />

blood pressure, and obesity. For <strong>the</strong> first<br />

time <strong>the</strong>y made home visits, to about<br />

twenty homes.<br />

❖ Medical advances <strong>in</strong>cluded robotic surgery.<br />


“The target <strong>of</strong> it is for those patients<br />

that don’t have access to (medical) services,”<br />

said Dr. Kirk Smith, <strong>the</strong> program’s<br />

director. “If <strong>the</strong>y can’t get to us, it’s our<br />

duty to get to <strong>the</strong>m.”<br />

The colonias were also a target for <strong>the</strong><br />

Dia de la Mujer Lat<strong>in</strong>a—a day for Hispanic<br />

Women—<strong>in</strong> August 2010 at <strong>the</strong> Richard<br />

M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds <strong>in</strong><br />

Robstown. The purpose <strong>of</strong> hold<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was to better reach some <strong>of</strong> about 20,000<br />

people liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> South Texas’ colonias, said<br />

Lionel Lopez, chief operat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

South Texas Colonia Initiative Inc., which<br />

co-sponsored <strong>the</strong> fair.<br />

Hispanic women typically don’t receive<br />

regular screen<strong>in</strong>gs for breast cancer, but<br />

more than eighty had screen<strong>in</strong>g at <strong>the</strong><br />

event, said Bel<strong>in</strong>da Flores, director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

South Coastal Area Health Education<br />

Center, a fair sponsor.<br />

“In our culture we take care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

whole family but not ourselves,” said<br />

Janie López, with <strong>the</strong> Colonia Initiative.<br />

“We’re here to show mamas <strong>the</strong>y have to<br />

take care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>mselves.”<br />

Schools also got <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> act. Nearly 100<br />

representatives and agencies from <strong>the</strong><br />

Coastal Bend gave health-related <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

to employees, students, and parents <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Independent School<br />

C h a p t e r 1 3 ✦ 5 9

❖ CHRISTUS Spohn Cancer Center <strong>in</strong> 2009.<br />


District at a district wide health fair <strong>in</strong><br />

January 2008. The next month students <strong>in</strong><br />

Mary E. Anderson’s anatomy and physiology<br />

classes at K<strong>in</strong>g High School held a fair<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own. Students chose a disease or<br />

syndrome and <strong>the</strong>n prepared an <strong>in</strong>teractive<br />

activity on it. Subjects ranged from schizophrenia<br />

and diabetes to cancer treatments<br />

and attention deficit disorder <strong>in</strong> celebrities.<br />

Not prevention, but cure, was <strong>the</strong> aim<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Orthodontics Center opened at<br />

Driscoll Hospital <strong>in</strong> 2005 and specializ<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> cleft lips and palates. The first such center<br />

<strong>in</strong> South Texas, it enabled patients and<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir families to rema<strong>in</strong> with <strong>the</strong> same dentists<br />

and doctors from diagnosis through<br />

surgery, said Driscoll CEO Rick Merrill.<br />

In September <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous year, <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital had taken a major step forward<br />

with <strong>the</strong> open<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Children’s<br />

Kidney Center. Six new hemodialysis<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>es made it possible for children on<br />

dialysis to be treated <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

<strong>in</strong>stead <strong>of</strong> go<strong>in</strong>g to Houston or San Antonio<br />

or to an adult facility. In 2005 <strong>the</strong> Children’s<br />

Miracle Network Telethon raised $1.8 million<br />

that was used to buy equipment so<br />

kidney transplants could be performed at<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital, and more money for <strong>the</strong><br />

program was raised <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2006 Fiesta de<br />

los Niños. In September 2007 <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

received <strong>the</strong> necessary approval from <strong>the</strong><br />

United Network for Organ Shar<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

Medicare, and <strong>the</strong> first transplant was performed<br />

successfully on 19-year-old Michael<br />

García, who received <strong>the</strong> kidney from his<br />

26-year-old bro<strong>the</strong>r, Edward.<br />

Michael, who had been undergo<strong>in</strong>g<br />

dialysis for about four hours three days a<br />

week, said, “I’ve had kidney problems all<br />

my life. So, I’m pretty excited…”<br />

Dur<strong>in</strong>g this period Driscoll added a convenience<br />

for mo<strong>the</strong>rs—Mom’s Place—a<br />

small private room where nurs<strong>in</strong>g women—<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r hospital employees or mo<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>of</strong><br />

patients—could go to pump milk.<br />

Five hundred families attended a<br />

Halloween party on October 15, 2005, for<br />

graduates <strong>of</strong> Driscoll’s Neonatal Intensive<br />

<strong>Care</strong> Unit. The children had <strong>the</strong>ir faces<br />

pa<strong>in</strong>ted; devoured cupcakes; chased<br />

chickens, ducks, a pig, and a goat <strong>in</strong> a<br />

m<strong>in</strong>i-pett<strong>in</strong>g zoo; bounced on a moonwalk;<br />

and posed for photos on haystacks<br />

and pumpk<strong>in</strong>s. A few months later <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital <strong>of</strong>fered middle and high school<br />

students a different k<strong>in</strong>d <strong>of</strong> experience—<br />

<strong>the</strong> experience <strong>of</strong> driv<strong>in</strong>g drunk. Us<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

Kohn’s <strong>Care</strong>s for Kids grant, <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

acquired a Simulated Impaired Driv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Experience called SIDNE, a battery-powered<br />

vehicle that replicated driv<strong>in</strong>g under<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>in</strong>fluence <strong>of</strong> alcohol or drugs.<br />

Prospective medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals were<br />

able to get a look at <strong>the</strong> field. Members <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Odem High School Future Nurse Club<br />

sometimes shadowed Driscoll Hospital<br />

nurses, and <strong>in</strong> February 2007 <strong>the</strong> local<br />

Texas A&M Health Science Center sponsored<br />

a Future Health <strong>Care</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

Conference at Mart<strong>in</strong> Middle School. With<br />

<strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> eight life-sized mannequ<strong>in</strong>s,<br />

procedures such as childbirth were<br />

performed. O<strong>the</strong>r conditions shown<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded cardiac arrest and heart and<br />

lung activity, and vendors <strong>in</strong>cluded <strong>the</strong><br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Driscoll<br />

Hospital, and <strong>the</strong> U.S. Coast Guard.<br />

About 400 middle and high school<br />

students attended.<br />

“This gives <strong>the</strong>m a chance to f<strong>in</strong>d out<br />

what it means to be <strong>in</strong> healthcare,” said<br />

Alicia Dorsey, Office <strong>of</strong> Communication and<br />

Program Development vice president. “The<br />

conference br<strong>in</strong>gs all <strong>the</strong> students toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y get to hear from real pr<strong>of</strong>essionals.”<br />

About 2,000 people attended <strong>the</strong><br />

NAACP’s first citywide health fair at <strong>the</strong> Del<br />

Mar College Small Bus<strong>in</strong>ess Development<br />

Center on December 5, 2009. The association,<br />

American GI Forum, League <strong>of</strong> United<br />

Lat<strong>in</strong> American Citizens Council No. 1,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> college collaborated on <strong>the</strong> event.<br />

Dozens <strong>of</strong> health tests, advice from doctors,<br />

and H1N1 flu vacc<strong>in</strong>es from <strong>the</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi-<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Public Health<br />

District were available for free. Rose<br />

Caballero, a registered nurse with <strong>the</strong> local<br />

chapter <strong>of</strong> National Association <strong>of</strong> Hispanic<br />

Nurses, said her team did dozens <strong>of</strong> blood<br />

pressure checks.<br />

“Many were people with serious health<br />

problems but no resource for care,”<br />

Caballero said. “They appreciated we<br />

were here.”<br />

At an “Ask The Doctor” booth Family and<br />

General <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> Dr. Juan F. Castro <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

advice to people with abnormal results.<br />

Technology cont<strong>in</strong>ued to advance <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

2000s. Driscoll Hospital acquired a digitalpicture<br />

system, <strong>the</strong> first <strong>in</strong> South Texas, <strong>in</strong><br />

2002. X-rays were taken <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> usual way,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> images were loaded onto a computer<br />

network so <strong>the</strong>y could be read with<br />

a password <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital <strong>in</strong> just a few<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes, sav<strong>in</strong>g time, space, and money.<br />

May 17, 2003, marked a special<br />

anniversary for Driscoll Hospital and a<br />

special party to celebrate it. The hospital<br />

had been open for fifty years and had<br />

treated more than one million patients.<br />

6 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

About 275 volunteers and a dozen local<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses and organizations helped with<br />

<strong>the</strong> backyard celebration, which drew<br />

about 3,000 guests. The hospital also<br />

raised more than $1 million <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Children’s Miracle Network Telethon dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

its anniversary year.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r special event took place at<br />

Driscoll <strong>in</strong> November 2003 when a<br />

parade <strong>of</strong> trail drivers brought Christmas<br />

toys for <strong>the</strong> children. After a request<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Police Officers<br />

Association, <strong>the</strong> South Texas Trail Drivers<br />

helped organize <strong>the</strong> fund-rais<strong>in</strong>g drive.<br />

Participants, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Sheriff’s Posse and o<strong>the</strong>r law-enforcement<br />

groups, each paid $15 and brought an<br />

unwrapped toy. About 170 people rode<br />

horseback, and a covered wagon, a stagecoach,<br />

and hay-riders <strong>in</strong> trailers made up<br />

<strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parade. The ride raised<br />

more than $3,500.<br />

In addition to celebrations, Driscoll<br />

marked 2003 <strong>by</strong> announc<strong>in</strong>g plans for a<br />

Children’s Urgent <strong>Care</strong> Center. At that<br />

time six urgent care centers were<br />

operat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city, but none specialized<br />

<strong>in</strong> pediatrics. The Driscoll Foundation<br />

donated twelve acres <strong>of</strong> land for <strong>the</strong><br />

facility, which was located on Saratoga<br />

Boulevard across <strong>the</strong> street from<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn South. The center,<br />

open even<strong>in</strong>gs seven days a week, treated<br />

m<strong>in</strong>or illnesses and <strong>in</strong>juries. The hospital<br />

reported that most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 40,000 patients<br />

seen <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> emergency room on Alameda<br />

did not have acute or life-threaten<strong>in</strong>g<br />

conditions and that <strong>the</strong> new center could<br />

care for more than half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. The next<br />

year Driscoll took over operation <strong>of</strong><br />

pediatric and neonatal care at Valley<br />

Baptist Medical Center <strong>in</strong> Harl<strong>in</strong>gen.<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn recorded a celebration<br />

<strong>of</strong> its own <strong>in</strong> December 2004. The<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Care</strong>er and Technical<br />

Education gave <strong>the</strong> system its National<br />

Award <strong>of</strong> Merit for its education partnership<br />

with Moody High School’s Health<br />

Sciences Academy. Students <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> academy<br />

toured CHRISTUS Spohn hospitals<br />

and participated <strong>in</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ical rotations.<br />

The system’s education department also<br />

received an award for Outstand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Service to <strong>Care</strong>er and Technological<br />

Education from <strong>the</strong> Technology<br />

Education Adm<strong>in</strong>istrators <strong>of</strong> Texas. Just<br />

two months later <strong>the</strong> system announced it<br />

would award twenty $1,000 scholarships<br />

for 2005 graduates to use for college<br />

expense. The next year <strong>the</strong> system donated<br />

six defibrillators to <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

Emergency Medical Services.<br />

The major concern <strong>of</strong> physicians and<br />

medical <strong>in</strong>stitutions <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> first years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

new century was <strong>the</strong> cont<strong>in</strong>ued proliferation<br />

<strong>of</strong> medical liability lawsuits and <strong>the</strong><br />

result<strong>in</strong>g huge <strong>in</strong>creases <strong>in</strong> medical liability<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance. Many doctors, especially<br />

those <strong>in</strong> high-risk specialties, were leav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> state or limit<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>ir practices.<br />

In 2002 <strong>the</strong> Medical Society supported<br />

an April 8 walkout <strong>by</strong> doctors protest<strong>in</strong>g<br />

frivolous lawsuits. Protesters <strong>in</strong> white<br />

coats and scrubs marched carry<strong>in</strong>g signs<br />

read<strong>in</strong>g “Stop lawsuit abuse” and “You<br />

can live without your lawyer but can you<br />

live without your doctor?”<br />

An article <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> September 11, 2003,<br />

Caller-Times said that half <strong>of</strong> all Texas<br />

physicians had had lawsuits filed aga<strong>in</strong>st<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, more than twice <strong>the</strong> national average,<br />

but 87 percent were dismissed with<br />

❖ Doctors protested frivolous lawsuits <strong>by</strong> this 2002 walkout.<br />

zero payment. It said that more than<br />

125 local doctors had stopped treat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

patients <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous two years<br />

In December 2004 Driscoll temporarily<br />

diverted major child trauma surgical cases<br />

to CHRISTUS Spohn Memorial because <strong>of</strong><br />

a shortage <strong>of</strong> pediatric surgeons. Hospital<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials said that two surgeons had left<br />

Corpus Christi because <strong>of</strong> malpractice<br />

concerns and ano<strong>the</strong>r had retired.<br />

Dr. Evelyn Tobias-Merrill left her family<br />

practice position when her <strong>in</strong>surance<br />

rates rose 300 percent. “My premium has<br />

been go<strong>in</strong>g up every year, and I was<br />

maxed out on what I could afford to pay,”<br />

she said. “I have very very dear patients<br />

and I’m just brokenhearted.”<br />

In 2003 Society members led <strong>the</strong> fight<br />

for passage <strong>of</strong> Proposition 12, a state constitutional<br />

amendment to limit non-economic<br />

damage awards <strong>in</strong> medical liability<br />

lawsuits to $250,000 per doctor and<br />

$500,000 per <strong>in</strong>stitution per case.<br />

On August 26, 2003, Governor Rick<br />

Perry spoke at a rally at Driscoll Hospital <strong>in</strong><br />

support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> amendment, which had been<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduced <strong>by</strong> local State Representative<br />

Jaime Capelo. “Frivolous lawsuits are<br />

runn<strong>in</strong>g healthcare pr<strong>of</strong>essionals out <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir practices,” Perry said. “This is a patient<br />

crisis, especially <strong>in</strong> South Texas.”<br />

C h a p t e r 1 3 ✦ 6 1

The proposition narrowly passed <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> statewide vote, but 65 percent <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> voters <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> approved it,<br />

mak<strong>in</strong>g it a premier achievement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

local group.<br />

Darren Whitehurst, a spokesman for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association, said <strong>in</strong><br />

2005 that <strong>the</strong> long-term benefits would<br />

be fewer lawsuits, more doctors and<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance carriers <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> state, and lower<br />

medical malpractice <strong>in</strong>surance premiums.<br />

The area got more good news <strong>in</strong> 2005.<br />

The number <strong>of</strong> abortions <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> county<br />

had dropped 38 percent between 1996<br />

and 2001. Reasons cited <strong>in</strong>cluded emergency<br />

contraception, a decrease <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

stigma <strong>of</strong> unwed mo<strong>the</strong>rs, and a bill that<br />

required <strong>in</strong>surance companies to cover<br />

birth control <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir policies.<br />

Abortion had always been a heated topic<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city. In <strong>the</strong> 1950s and early 1960s<br />

women bleed<strong>in</strong>g to death from illegal abortions<br />

were a common sight <strong>in</strong> Memorial’s<br />

emergency room. Corpus Christi acquired<br />

<strong>the</strong> first federally funded chapter <strong>of</strong> Planned<br />

Parenthood <strong>in</strong> 1965. However, <strong>the</strong> subject<br />

rema<strong>in</strong>ed contentious over <strong>the</strong> years, and <strong>in</strong><br />

late 2008 <strong>the</strong> City Council voted to remove<br />

<strong>the</strong> organization from <strong>the</strong> list <strong>of</strong> those<br />

receiv<strong>in</strong>g city grant money. Because <strong>of</strong> a<br />

requirement <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> national organization<br />

that all chapters provide abortions, <strong>the</strong> local<br />

❖ The ‘Cyberknife” delivers radiation to tumors without <strong>in</strong>vasive surgery.<br />


chapter left <strong>the</strong> national group and changed<br />

its name to Family Plann<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal<br />

Bend on January 1, 2011.<br />

In March 2005 Dr. Lalitha Madhav<br />

Janaki, a radiation oncologist and president<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society,<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ed o<strong>the</strong>r doctors from across <strong>the</strong> state to<br />

travel to Aust<strong>in</strong> and talk to state legislators.<br />

Wear<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>ir white lab coats, <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

tak<strong>in</strong>g part <strong>in</strong> First Tuesdays, a lob<strong>by</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>itiative<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir goals, Janaki said, was to fend<br />

<strong>of</strong>f any legislation that would expand <strong>the</strong><br />

scope <strong>of</strong> practice <strong>of</strong> “so-called doctors who<br />

are not M.D.s,” such as optometrists, who<br />

want to perform some simple surgeries.<br />

Dr. Mary Dahlen Peterson, a pediatric<br />

anes<strong>the</strong>siologist from Driscoll Children’s<br />

Hospital, said <strong>the</strong> doctors also talked about<br />

restor<strong>in</strong>g fund<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>the</strong> Children’s Health<br />

Insurance Program (CHIP), which provided<br />

medical care to low-<strong>in</strong>come families.<br />

Dr. Juan F. Castro, a family practitioner<br />

and a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Society, also served<br />

on <strong>the</strong> state level. He was re-elected to a<br />

three-year term on <strong>the</strong> TMA’s Council on<br />

Medical Education <strong>in</strong> June 2005. The<br />

council’s role was to research, review, and<br />

create policy for <strong>the</strong> association.<br />

Corpus Christi citizens and bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ued to support Driscoll Hospital. In<br />

March 2007 Jared Perk<strong>in</strong>s, a sophomore <strong>in</strong><br />

Moody High School’s Health and Science<br />

Academy, donated 1,100 books to its Half-<br />

P<strong>in</strong>t Library as his Eagle Scout project.<br />

“I’m try<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>in</strong>spire o<strong>the</strong>rs to read,<br />

promote imag<strong>in</strong>ation, and help o<strong>the</strong>rs to<br />

become better people,” he said. “Books<br />

take you away from where you are, just for<br />

a little while and make you feel better.”<br />

The hospital’s Injury Prevention<br />

Department <strong>in</strong>spected child car seats for<br />

proper <strong>in</strong>stallation at Kohl’s Department<br />

Store, and Kohl’s gave Driscoll <strong>of</strong>ficials a<br />

$44,000 check to support its <strong>in</strong>jury-prevention<br />

program. In September 2008 fouryear-old<br />

A. J. Rangel raised more than<br />

$1,000 with a rummage sale, a bake sale,<br />

and a lemonade stand and gave <strong>the</strong> money<br />

to buy a N<strong>in</strong>tendo Wii system and some<br />

video games for patients to play. Local bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

donated two additional Wii systems<br />

and some games. Dr. David and Connie<br />

Pearce hosted <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical<br />

Society Alliance’s first even<strong>in</strong>g fundraiser<br />

on April 8, 2010, as <strong>the</strong> Society cont<strong>in</strong>ued<br />

to raise money for worthy causes.<br />

In 2005 Driscoll received a federal<br />

grant that enabled it to develop a telemedic<strong>in</strong>e<br />

program. Us<strong>in</strong>g wireless technology,<br />

<strong>the</strong> program l<strong>in</strong>ked <strong>the</strong> hospital with nearly<br />

fifty South Texas rural communities,<br />

provid<strong>in</strong>g diagnosis and patient care to<br />

about 100,000 people. “The people <strong>of</strong><br />

South Texas will soon lead <strong>the</strong> world with<br />

<strong>the</strong> most advanced wireless healthcare<br />

technology for connect<strong>in</strong>g patients, cl<strong>in</strong>icians,<br />

and specialists toge<strong>the</strong>r to manage<br />

diabetes and asthma,” said Lori Maiolo,<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital’s director <strong>of</strong> telemedic<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

In 2009 <strong>the</strong> hospital began to <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

lap-band surgery for morbidly obese<br />

teens and young adults, as, <strong>of</strong>ficials<br />

believed, <strong>the</strong> first <strong>in</strong> Texas to do so. Sam<br />

Carrell, bariatric program coord<strong>in</strong>ator at<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital, said her staff was extremely<br />

careful about select<strong>in</strong>g candidates, as <strong>the</strong><br />

surgery was recommended only for those<br />

18 and older. She said that candidates<br />

must also commit to exercise and healthy<br />

eat<strong>in</strong>g after <strong>the</strong> procedure.<br />

The CHRISTUS Spohn System also<br />

recorded advancements. A $10.3-million<br />

6 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

enovation, f<strong>in</strong>anced through donations<br />

and fund-rais<strong>in</strong>g events, was added to its<br />

cancer center <strong>in</strong> 2010. Additions <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

a robotic radiosurgery system, <strong>the</strong><br />

“Cyberknife,” to deliver radiation to<br />

tumors without <strong>in</strong>vasive surgery, and a da<br />

V<strong>in</strong>ci Robotic Surgical System, which<br />

enabled surgeons to use three-dimensional<br />

imag<strong>in</strong>g and robotic arms to perform<br />

surgery through t<strong>in</strong>y <strong>in</strong>cisions.<br />

But problems loomed. Of major concern<br />

to Society members towards <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

decade was <strong>the</strong> plan to build Las Brisas, a<br />

$3 million power plant fueled <strong>by</strong> petroleum<br />

coke, a <strong>by</strong>product <strong>of</strong> oil ref<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, on <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi Inner Harbor. Along with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Clean Energy Coalition,<br />

Society members asked <strong>the</strong> company to use<br />

a technology that would turn <strong>the</strong> petroleum<br />

coke <strong>in</strong>to gas to significantly reduce<br />

emissions, but <strong>the</strong> company said <strong>the</strong> technology<br />

was unreliable and too expensive.<br />

The doctors were not conv<strong>in</strong>ced.<br />

Backed <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association,<br />

<strong>in</strong> December 2008 <strong>the</strong> local Society wrote<br />

to <strong>the</strong> company, “If we permit <strong>the</strong> construction<br />

<strong>of</strong> a plant us<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> ‘technologically<br />

advanced commercially viable technology’<br />

proposed <strong>by</strong> Las Brisas, we will be<br />

allow<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>m to pollute our air and our<br />

bay for <strong>the</strong> sake <strong>of</strong> a greater pr<strong>of</strong>it for <strong>the</strong><br />

energy company. Most <strong>of</strong> us are go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

have a hard time accept<strong>in</strong>g that.”<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> energy company<br />

answered with a letter say<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> opposition<br />

was “out <strong>of</strong> character for a group <strong>of</strong><br />

highly respected physicians who are<br />

known to thoroughly scrut<strong>in</strong>ize complex<br />

issues before form<strong>in</strong>g op<strong>in</strong>ions,” <strong>the</strong><br />

Society’s position did not change.<br />

“We gave <strong>the</strong>m an option we felt like<br />

was viable,” said Dr. Wes Stafford, an<br />

allergist and immunologist. “It’s not like<br />

any way, at any time, we would consider<br />

support<strong>in</strong>g build<strong>in</strong>g a petroleum coke<br />

plant like <strong>the</strong>y’re propos<strong>in</strong>g right now.”<br />

Although two judges recommended<br />

deny<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> project, <strong>the</strong> Texas Commission<br />

on Environmental Quality gave <strong>in</strong>itial<br />

approval. The issue rema<strong>in</strong>ed undecided <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 2011.<br />

Medicare payments were ano<strong>the</strong>r concern.<br />

On April 4, 2010, <strong>the</strong> Society and <strong>the</strong><br />

TMA announced a drive to get one million<br />

signatures on a petition to support chang<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> Medicare reimbursement formula<br />

for doctors. Three days earlier Congress<br />

had cut Medicare payments to physicians<br />

<strong>by</strong> 21 percent. The Society argued that doctors<br />

could not afford to subsidize Medicare.<br />

The future <strong>of</strong> local hospitals was uncerta<strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>in</strong> 2011. Both <strong>the</strong> nation and <strong>the</strong> state<br />

faced major economic challenges after <strong>the</strong><br />

worst recession s<strong>in</strong>ce <strong>the</strong> Great Depression<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1930s. Deficits soared, and solutions<br />

proposed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> spr<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> 2011 targeted<br />

social programs. One motion <strong>in</strong>troduced <strong>in</strong><br />

Congress <strong>in</strong>cluded chang<strong>in</strong>g Medicare to a<br />

voucher system. Experts said that <strong>the</strong> cuts<br />

proposed <strong>in</strong> payments to doctors, hospitals,<br />

and nurs<strong>in</strong>g homes that cared for patients<br />

covered <strong>by</strong> Medicaid and CHIP could cause<br />

multimillion dollar losses to local hospitals<br />

and cause nurs<strong>in</strong>g homes to close.<br />

Even so, <strong>the</strong>re were bright spots <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Corpus Christi scene. In April 2011<br />

Driscoll unveiled a $2.7 million expansion<br />

and renovation <strong>of</strong> its Cancer and<br />

Blood Disorders Center. The previous<br />

month <strong>the</strong> hospital had added a new form<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>rapy. The addition did not look<br />

like a medical facility—it looked like a<br />

playground—but every part <strong>of</strong> it had a<br />

<strong>the</strong>rapeutic purpose. A rope bridge and<br />

cobblestone surfaces challenged balance<br />

and coord<strong>in</strong>ation, and physical <strong>the</strong>rapists,<br />

neurologists, and speech pathologists<br />

used o<strong>the</strong>r obstacles and toys to help <strong>the</strong><br />

young patients. Community donations for<br />

<strong>the</strong> park totaled more than $140,000 and<br />

more than 400 children used <strong>the</strong> park<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g its first five months <strong>of</strong> operation.<br />

Dr. Gary Bobele, a pediatric neurologist<br />

who worked with patients as young<br />

as newborns and as old as 21, said such<br />

treatment is <strong>in</strong>valuable.<br />

“Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se children are fac<strong>in</strong>g<br />

problems <strong>the</strong>y’ll have for <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

lives,” he said. “We want to prepare <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to have <strong>the</strong> best shot at life <strong>the</strong>y can.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> that year <strong>the</strong> hospital<br />

opened a Toy Tech lend<strong>in</strong>g library. Whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

or not disabled children were hospital<br />

patients, <strong>the</strong>y could check out one <strong>of</strong> about<br />

forty-five specialized toys for two to four<br />

weeks for free.<br />

Cost<strong>in</strong>g about $100 each, <strong>the</strong> toys had<br />

switches, buttons, and o<strong>the</strong>r controls that<br />

children with limited use <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir hands<br />

and arms could operate.<br />

In September <strong>the</strong> hospital signed a<br />

new partnership with HALO-Flight that<br />

provided a dedicated helicopter and pilot<br />

to fly children to and from <strong>the</strong> hospital.<br />

At times when <strong>the</strong> helicopters were be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

used elsewhere, <strong>the</strong> hospital had been<br />

required to use o<strong>the</strong>r forms <strong>of</strong> transportation.<br />

Driscoll CEO Steve Woerner said <strong>the</strong><br />

partnership should make emergency<br />

transports speedier and more dependable.<br />

Jeremy Goodman, <strong>the</strong> hospital’s<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess operations manager, said he<br />

expected fewer out-<strong>of</strong>-town ground trips<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital’s four ambulances.<br />

“This is go<strong>in</strong>g to serve those children<br />

so much better,” he said.<br />

By this time cl<strong>in</strong>ics and doctors’ <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

had sprung up all over town, and <strong>the</strong><br />

area around CHRISTUS Spohn South on<br />

Saratoga Boulevard was <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> at least<br />

twenty different medical facilities, from<br />

Radiology Associates and Orthopedic<br />

Physical Therapy to Sleep Rite Disorder<br />

Center and Cosmetic Surgery.<br />

This area, <strong>in</strong> addition to CHRISTUS<br />

Spohn Memorial’s trauma center, Driscoll<br />

Hospital, CHRISTUS Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r facilities <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> city made Corpus<br />

Christi truly a medical center for all <strong>of</strong><br />

South Texas.<br />

❖ CHRISTUS Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e stands as a symbol<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> healthcare available <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend.<br />


C h a p t e r 1 3 ✦ 6 3


Bernwanger, Dr. Damon C.<br />

Briscoe, Eugenia, City <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Sea</strong>, A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi, Texas, 1519-1875.<br />

Coastal Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, Centennial Edition, September/October 2004.<br />

Command <strong>History</strong>, Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, 2005.<br />

Command <strong>History</strong>, Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, 2006.<br />

Command <strong>History</strong>, Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, 2007.<br />

Command <strong>History</strong>, Naval Health Cl<strong>in</strong>ic Corpus Christi, 2008.<br />

Conckl<strong>in</strong>, Dr. Charles Lewis.<br />

_____________________, Pediatrics <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

Corpus Christi Caller, Centennial Issue, 1883-1983<br />

Corpus Christi Caller-Times Archives<br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital Timel<strong>in</strong>e<br />

Givens, Murphy, “The Fast and <strong>the</strong> Furious…<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Early 1900s, Caller-Times. February 16, 2011<br />

_____________________, “What are <strong>the</strong> Canadian connections to Corpus Christi,” Caller-Times, March 9, 2011<br />

Handbook <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

“Hector P. Garcia,” http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_P._Garcia<br />

<strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>, 1937, WPA)<br />

“<strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Spohn Hospital,” http://www.christusspohn.org/body.cfm?id=140<br />

Holt, Dr. Everett L. “Bud”<br />

Lea, Tom, The K<strong>in</strong>g Ranch<br />

Lewis, Dr. Joe A., Pathology Services for <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend<br />

Madal<strong>in</strong>, Dr. Herbert<br />

Madal<strong>in</strong>, Mrs. Sally<br />

McCampbell, Coleman, Texas <strong>Sea</strong>port<br />

“<strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>: Polio Epidemic, Time, http://www.time.com/time/magaz<strong>in</strong>e/article/0.9171.775161.00.html<br />

August 14, 1944<br />

Su<strong>the</strong>rland, Mary A., The Story <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

“Texas Catholic Historian”, W<strong>in</strong>ter 210-211<br />

Walraven, Bill, Corpus Christi, <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> a Texas <strong>Sea</strong>port<br />

Walraven, Bill and Marjorie, Gift <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> W<strong>in</strong>d<br />

6 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A


H i s t o r i c p r o f i l e s o f p h y s i c i a n s , m e d i c a l f a c i l i t i e s ,<br />

b u s i n e s s e s , o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d f a m i l i e s t h a t<br />

h a v e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d<br />

p r a c t i c e o f m e d i c i n e i n N u e c e s C o u n t y<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System .......................................................6 6<br />

Neonatology Consultants <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi .........................................7 0<br />

Coastal Bend Psychiatric Associates ...................................................7 2<br />

A BETTER YOU Cosmetic Surgery Center ...........................................7 4<br />

American Bank ...............................................................................7 6<br />

South Padre Island Pediatric Center ..................................................7 7<br />

Coastal Bend Blood Bank ..................................................................7 8<br />

Texas Medical Liability Tr ust ............................................................7 9<br />

Driscoll Children’s Health Plan .........................................................8 0<br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital ..............................................................8 1<br />

Shea Physical Therapy .....................................................................8 2<br />

Thomas-Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic .......................................................................8 3<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society .........................................................8 4<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 6 5


Growth was steady under <strong>the</strong> Sisters’ direction,<br />

and it was not long before <strong>the</strong> sanitarium could no<br />

longer accommodate all those seek<strong>in</strong>g medical<br />

attention. In 1906 an annex was built; and <strong>by</strong><br />

1915, more than 1,500 patients were treated.<br />

The sanitarium cont<strong>in</strong>ued its mission <strong>of</strong><br />

mercy until September 14, 1919, when a devastat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

hurricane hit <strong>the</strong> Gulf Coast sweep<strong>in</strong>g<br />

away most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> build<strong>in</strong>g and four <strong>in</strong>dividuals.<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> lives lost was that <strong>of</strong> Sister M. Thias,<br />

as she tried to reach a paralyzed patient.<br />

❖<br />

Above: The Spohn Sanitarium opened<br />

on North Beach <strong>in</strong> 1905, but was<br />

destroyed <strong>by</strong> a devastat<strong>in</strong>g hurricane<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1919.<br />

Right: A radiology technician at<br />

Memorial demonstrates an early<br />

mammography mach<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

Below: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital<br />

Corpus Christi-South was built <strong>in</strong><br />

1994 as a full-service hospital that<br />

<strong>in</strong>cludes superior women’s services.<br />

In 1868, when Dr. Arthur Spohn came to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Gulf Coast, physicians treated<br />

patients <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir homes and operated on <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g room tables. As <strong>the</strong> city’s population<br />

grew to 7,000, Dr. Spohn saw <strong>the</strong> need for<br />

a hospital. Toge<strong>the</strong>r, with his colleagues and<br />

<strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> his wife, Sarah Joseph<strong>in</strong>e Kenedy,<br />

he rallied a group <strong>of</strong> residents to raise money<br />

to construct <strong>the</strong> first hospital <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />

Henrietta K<strong>in</strong>g, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Kenedy<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>rs, met <strong>the</strong>ir goal with about $7,000<br />

to build a hospital.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> hospital was under construction,<br />

Dr. Spohn approached <strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong> Charity <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Incarnate Word <strong>of</strong> San Antonio about<br />

operat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> facility. Eager to help, <strong>the</strong> Sisters<br />

mortgaged <strong>the</strong> Mo<strong>the</strong>rhouse for $5,000, and<br />

contributed additional funds required to<br />

complete <strong>the</strong> facility. Arriv<strong>in</strong>g via horse-drawn<br />

carriage, <strong>the</strong> nuns, opened <strong>the</strong> doors <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new<br />

hospital on North Beach on July 26, 1905, and<br />

named it Spohn Sanitarium <strong>in</strong> honor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

found<strong>in</strong>g physician. Dr. Spohn and Dr. Alfred<br />

George Haney were <strong>the</strong> hospital’s first doctors.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> hospital was destroyed, <strong>the</strong> Sisters<br />

cared for patients <strong>in</strong> John G. Kenedy, Sr.’s, home.<br />

Dr. Spohn, <strong>the</strong> Sisters, and <strong>the</strong> community rallied<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> to raise funds to rebuild. Mrs. K<strong>in</strong>g, widow<br />

<strong>of</strong> Capta<strong>in</strong> K<strong>in</strong>g <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> famous K<strong>in</strong>g Ranch donated<br />

five acres overlook<strong>in</strong>g Corpus Christi Bay for<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital’s new location. Dedicated <strong>in</strong> 1923,<br />

it rema<strong>in</strong>s <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> CHRISTUS Spohn<br />

Hospital Corpus Christi-Shorel<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

The hospital prospered and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sisters were relentless <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir quest to provide <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

standards <strong>of</strong> care along with <strong>the</strong><br />

latest technology for patients.<br />

Growth was <strong>in</strong>evitable, and <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital expanded to fifty beds <strong>in</strong><br />

1937. In 1957, a $2 million annex<br />

was built. WWII saw a shortage<br />

<strong>of</strong> nurses; and, to address <strong>the</strong><br />

problem, <strong>the</strong> Sisters opened <strong>the</strong><br />

James R. Dougherty, Jr., School <strong>of</strong><br />

6 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Nurs<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> 1954. It was named <strong>in</strong> honor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Beeville hero who was killed <strong>in</strong> action <strong>in</strong><br />

Germany <strong>in</strong> 1944. In 1961 a five-story, airconditioned<br />

annex was completed, br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g<br />

beds to 300.<br />

As Spohn built bridges to <strong>the</strong> world <strong>of</strong> commerce,<br />

it rema<strong>in</strong>ed focused on <strong>the</strong> spiritual<br />

dimension <strong>of</strong> healthcare, and dedicated <strong>the</strong> Rob<br />

Welder Memorial Chapel with<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospital for<br />

all those who sought spiritual comfort. In <strong>the</strong><br />

late 1970s, ano<strong>the</strong>r five stories had been added,<br />

and a $9 million, expansion completed. By<br />

1980, Spohn was a ten story, 470-bed hospital<br />

with 350 staff physicians, and 1,200 employees.<br />

In 1985, Spohn Health System answered a<br />

call for assistance and acquired Kleberg <strong>County</strong><br />

Hospital <strong>in</strong> K<strong>in</strong>gsville; and two years later, it<br />

assumed operation <strong>of</strong> Memorial Medical Center<br />

<strong>in</strong> a lease agreement with <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Hospital District. In 1996 <strong>the</strong> System acquired<br />

<strong>the</strong> fledgl<strong>in</strong>g Bee <strong>County</strong> Hospital br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g<br />

healthcare close to home for residents <strong>in</strong> Live<br />

Oak and Bee <strong>County</strong>.<br />

In 1999 <strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong> Charity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Incarnate Word <strong>of</strong> San Antonio and <strong>the</strong> Sisters<br />

<strong>of</strong> Charity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Incarnate Word <strong>of</strong> Houston,<br />

comb<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong>ir health m<strong>in</strong>istries under <strong>the</strong><br />

name CHRISTUS Health, mak<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

Catholic healthcare system <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation.<br />

Eventually, Spohn Health System became<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System. That same<br />

year, a new hospital <strong>in</strong> Alice, Texas, was opened<br />

under <strong>the</strong> new “CHRISTUS” banner.<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-<br />

Shorel<strong>in</strong>e is <strong>the</strong> region’s only accredited<br />

advanced primary stroke center, recognized <strong>by</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> American Heart Association and <strong>the</strong> Jo<strong>in</strong>t<br />

Commission on Accreditation <strong>of</strong> Hospitals.<br />

The CHRISTUS Spohn Cancer Center is recognized<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> American College <strong>of</strong> Surgeons<br />

Commission on Cancer, and is <strong>the</strong> only nationally<br />

recognized program <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> region.<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-<br />

Memorial is <strong>the</strong> only Level II Trauma Center<br />

south <strong>of</strong> Aust<strong>in</strong> with a full team <strong>of</strong> specialists<br />

support<strong>in</strong>g a twelve county region car<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

critically <strong>in</strong>jured patients. Memorial is also<br />

recognized as a teach<strong>in</strong>g facility for <strong>the</strong> next<br />

generation <strong>of</strong> Family Practice and Emergency<br />

Physicians, as well as hundreds <strong>of</strong> nurses,<br />

technicians, and chapla<strong>in</strong>s.<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-<br />

South is <strong>the</strong> premier facility for women, provid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

services for women <strong>in</strong> all stages <strong>of</strong> life. It is<br />

home to a Level III Neonatal Intensive <strong>Care</strong><br />

Unit, enhanc<strong>in</strong>g birth<strong>in</strong>g services <strong>by</strong> allow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

premature babies and newborns with special<br />

needs to rema<strong>in</strong> close to <strong>the</strong>ir recover<strong>in</strong>g<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>rs. Each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hospitals <strong>in</strong> Alice,<br />

Beeville, and K<strong>in</strong>gsville provide quality acute<br />

care <strong>in</strong> a family-friendly sett<strong>in</strong>g close to home.<br />

The Sister’s determ<strong>in</strong>ation to extend <strong>the</strong> heal<strong>in</strong>g<br />

m<strong>in</strong>istry <strong>of</strong> Jesus Christ has <strong>in</strong>spired <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to keep pace with <strong>the</strong> ever-chang<strong>in</strong>g delivery<br />

<strong>of</strong> healthcare, <strong>in</strong>novative diagnostics, and<br />

technological advances. CHRISTUS Spohn has<br />

developed <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong> primary provider <strong>of</strong> cardiac<br />

services <strong>in</strong> South Texas and has logged a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> “firsts” <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> treatment <strong>of</strong> heart disease. In <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1970s open heart surgeries were primarily<br />

performed <strong>in</strong> major cities and teach<strong>in</strong>g hospitals.<br />

Dr. Hebert Madal<strong>in</strong> and Dr. James Gabbard had<br />

already begun perfect<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>ir technique <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

❖<br />

Above: The Critical <strong>Care</strong> Center is <strong>the</strong><br />

latest state-<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>-art facility added to<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus<br />

Christi-Shorel<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

Below: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital<br />

Corpus Christi-Memorial is <strong>the</strong><br />

region Level II Trauma Center.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 6 7

❖<br />

The Var<strong>in</strong> iX or L<strong>in</strong>ear Accelerator,<br />

located <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> CHRISTUS Spohn<br />

Cancer Center and is used to treat a<br />

variety <strong>of</strong> cancer diagnosis.<br />

basement <strong>of</strong> Driscoll Children’s Hospital and<br />

performed <strong>the</strong>ir first surgery, a mitral commisurtomy,<br />

<strong>in</strong> a child’s heart. The first adult<br />

open heart surgery was performed at Spohn<br />

Shorel<strong>in</strong>e <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> two doctors <strong>in</strong> 1974.<br />

Angioplasty is a process used to open a<br />

blockage <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> artery and was first performed<br />

at Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e. Several years later, Spohn<br />

provided <strong>the</strong> technical support and resources to<br />

be <strong>the</strong> first hospital to embark on thrombotic<br />

<strong>the</strong>rapy utiliz<strong>in</strong>g streptok<strong>in</strong>ase to dissolve<br />

blood clots and was a dual pioneer <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>in</strong>sertion <strong>of</strong> dual chamber pacemakers.<br />

By 1984, more than 300 coronary <strong>by</strong>passes<br />

were performed at Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e and s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, more than 15,000 life-sav<strong>in</strong>g surgeries<br />

and cardiac procedures have been performed<br />

at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-<br />

Shorel<strong>in</strong>e. Work<strong>in</strong>g toge<strong>the</strong>r with <strong>the</strong> cardiac<br />

specialists who practice at CHRISTUS Spohn,<br />

<strong>the</strong> System cont<strong>in</strong>ues to keep pace with treatment<br />

options and new equipment.<br />

The early cardiac technique reopened <strong>the</strong><br />

arteries, but it did not guarantee <strong>the</strong>y would<br />

rema<strong>in</strong> open. The <strong>in</strong>vention <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cardiovascular<br />

stent is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most important advancements<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> treatment <strong>of</strong> heart patients. A<br />

ca<strong>the</strong>ter is <strong>in</strong>serted <strong>in</strong>to a patient’s artery<br />

through an open<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> gro<strong>in</strong> to open blockages.<br />

Then, a small balloon on <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ca<strong>the</strong>ter is <strong>in</strong>flated, expand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> stent and<br />

deposit<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> artery to keep it open.<br />

Angioplasty (<strong>the</strong> word itself means to mold<br />

<strong>the</strong> artery) was first performed <strong>in</strong> 1979 to<br />

open a significant blockage <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> heart artery.<br />

In 1993 this procedure was performed at<br />

Spohn Hospital and has led to a full range <strong>of</strong><br />

percutaneous <strong>in</strong>terventions (PCI). These <strong>in</strong>terventions<br />

are performed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> CHRISTUS Spohn<br />

Pavilion, a $50 million expansion at Shorel<strong>in</strong>e<br />

was built to house <strong>the</strong> CHRISTUS Spohn Heart<br />

Network. The procedure has expanded <strong>the</strong><br />

treatment <strong>of</strong> coronary heart disease, and is now<br />

used as a primary and complimentary measure<br />

6 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

For its commitment to quality and<br />

safety, Spohn Shorel<strong>in</strong>e was named<br />

among <strong>the</strong> top 100 hospitals for quality;<br />

and, is <strong>the</strong> regions only accredited<br />

advanced primary stroke center. The<br />

hospital is recognized <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Heart Association (AHA) and <strong>the</strong><br />

Jo<strong>in</strong>t Commission. The CHRISTUS<br />

Spohn Heart Network features a<br />

nationally accredited Pa<strong>in</strong> Center and<br />

three nationally certified cardiac<br />

rehabilitation centers—Alice, K<strong>in</strong>gsville<br />

and Shorel<strong>in</strong>e. These national accreditations<br />

and recognition <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Jo<strong>in</strong>t<br />

Commission, AHA, and o<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

ensure South Texans will receive <strong>the</strong><br />

most advanced cardiac care at<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn.<br />

In 2010, CHRISTUS Spohn provided<br />

more than $64.3 million <strong>in</strong> community<br />

benefits, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g charity<br />

care, community services, and reimbursed<br />

costs <strong>of</strong> treat<strong>in</strong>g Medicare<br />

patients. It is all part <strong>of</strong> its mission:<br />

To extend <strong>the</strong> heal<strong>in</strong>g m<strong>in</strong>istry <strong>of</strong><br />

Jesus Christ to all.<br />

❖<br />

Above and below: The Cardiac<br />

Ca<strong>the</strong>rization Laboratory is located <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> new Critical <strong>Care</strong> Tower at<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus<br />

Christi-Shorel<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

to surgery to provide revascularization<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coronary vasculature. This <strong>in</strong>terventional<br />

effort is also accompanied<br />

with various efforts to remove <strong>the</strong><br />

blockage a<strong>the</strong>rectomy/Rotablator). In<br />

some cases <strong>the</strong> entire blockage can<br />

be opened.<br />

More than 4,000 procedures are<br />

performed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Shorel<strong>in</strong>e Cardiac<br />

Ca<strong>the</strong>rization Laboratory each year,<br />

plac<strong>in</strong>g it as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> primary<br />

hospitals <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States. In<br />

addition to <strong>in</strong>tervention <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> coronary<br />

vasculature (hard arteries),<br />

<strong>in</strong>terventional techniques are utilized<br />

for all aspects <strong>of</strong> a<strong>the</strong>rosclerotic<br />

cardiac disease <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g carotid<br />

stenosis, peripheral arterial disease<br />

and abdom<strong>in</strong>al aortic aneurysm.<br />

Additionally, CHRISTUS Spohn also<br />

supports a very active electrophysiology<br />

lab to evaluate and treat heart<br />

rhythm disorders with <strong>the</strong> placement<br />

<strong>of</strong> pacemakers and defibrillators.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 6 9





It is <strong>the</strong> hope <strong>of</strong> every parent to have <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

newborn declared healthy; however, to have a<br />

doctor pr<strong>of</strong>iciently tra<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> care <strong>of</strong><br />

newborns readily available can <strong>in</strong>crease a<br />

parent’s peace <strong>of</strong> m<strong>in</strong>d exponentially. It is<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore <strong>the</strong> mission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctors at<br />

Neonatology Consultants <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi to<br />

provide optimum care to all newborns not only<br />

<strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi but to o<strong>the</strong>r outly<strong>in</strong>g areas <strong>in</strong><br />

South Texas.<br />

The need for a neonatologist was acute<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> time when Dr. Alfonso Prado moved<br />

to Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1976 and jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> staff <strong>of</strong><br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Infant mortality<br />

was very high with seventeen out <strong>of</strong> one<br />

thousand newborns dy<strong>in</strong>g and babies that<br />

weighed less than three pounds at birth were<br />

unable to survive. He became <strong>the</strong> found<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Medical Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Neonatal Intensive<br />

<strong>Care</strong> Unit (NICU). Dr. Julio Godoy jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong><br />

7 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

staff one year later after serv<strong>in</strong>g his residency<br />

at Driscoll. Both doctors, anticipat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> need<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> highest quality care for all<br />

newborns, went on to establish Neonatology<br />

Consultants <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1978. Their<br />

comb<strong>in</strong>ed efforts reduced <strong>in</strong>fant mortality to<br />

four per one thousand births. Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

vigilance to provide <strong>the</strong> best possible treatment<br />

for babies, <strong>the</strong>y became an <strong>in</strong>tegral part <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

expansion <strong>of</strong> neonatal services provided at<br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital, where<strong>by</strong> giv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

rise to <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> Neonatology Intensive<br />

<strong>Care</strong> Units or NICU’s as <strong>the</strong>y are more<br />

commonly referred not only at Driscoll but<br />

to o<strong>the</strong>r hospitals as well. These<br />

units improved <strong>the</strong> critical care <strong>of</strong><br />

sick newborns.<br />

After serv<strong>in</strong>g his residency at Driscoll,<br />

Dr. Peter Serrao jo<strong>in</strong>ed Drs. Prado and<br />

Godoy <strong>in</strong> 1985. Dur<strong>in</strong>g this time <strong>the</strong>y<br />

began implement<strong>in</strong>g Indomethac<strong>in</strong> for<br />

<strong>the</strong> treatment <strong>of</strong> Patent Ductus Arteriosus<br />

as well as <strong>in</strong>corporat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong><br />

Cont<strong>in</strong>uous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)<br />

to aid breath<strong>in</strong>g, thus decreas<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

need for ventilators. Jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g this alliance<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1990 is Dr. Miguel Deleon. He also<br />

served his residency at Driscoll and is<br />

currently <strong>the</strong> Medical Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Driscoll NICU, and <strong>the</strong> Bay Area Medical<br />

Center NICU. He along with Dr. Serrao<br />

began us<strong>in</strong>g high frequency ventilators,<br />

oscillators, and nitric oxide <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> care <strong>of</strong><br />

babies with pulmonary hypertension.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong>se <strong>in</strong>novative treatments,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y implemented <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> percutaneous<br />

central l<strong>in</strong>es and <strong>the</strong> Neonatal<br />

Resuscitation Program. All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctors<br />

became part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Vermont Oxford<br />

trials, which enabled <strong>the</strong>m to compare<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir outcomes with that <strong>of</strong> national<br />

and <strong>in</strong>ternational <strong>in</strong>stitutions. Present day<br />

treatments <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g Avast<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>rapy for<br />

ret<strong>in</strong>opathy <strong>of</strong> prematurity and synchronized<br />

ventilation help to save newborn babies<br />

weigh<strong>in</strong>g less than one pound at birth.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> ever <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g need to treat both ill<br />

and well newborns, Neonatology Consultants<br />

welcomed Dr. Emil Milano <strong>in</strong>to <strong>the</strong>ir practice.<br />

Dr. Milano, who also served his residency<br />

at DCH, has proved himself a tour de force<br />

along with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r doctors at Neonatology<br />

Consultants help<strong>in</strong>g to establish a neonatal<br />

<strong>in</strong>tensive care unit at both <strong>the</strong> Bay Area Medical<br />

Center and Spohn South Hospital. He is Medical<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> Doctors Hospital at Renaissance <strong>in</strong><br />

Ed<strong>in</strong>burg, Texas.<br />

Dr. Dynio Honrubia jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> practice when<br />

<strong>the</strong>re was a burgeon<strong>in</strong>g need for quality<br />

healthcare for <strong>in</strong>fants born with serious health<br />

issues. He served his residency at UCLA Cedar<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ai Medical Center. Toge<strong>the</strong>r, Drs. Milano<br />

and Honrubia have extended <strong>the</strong> reach <strong>of</strong><br />

Neonatology Consultants <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi to<br />

Ed<strong>in</strong>burg at <strong>the</strong> Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.<br />

Neonatology Consultants has grown from<br />

one neonatologist and a ten bed Neonatal<br />

Intensive <strong>Care</strong> Unit, to four units with a total<br />

capacity <strong>of</strong> one hundred beds. Today <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

seven board certified neonatologists along with<br />

<strong>the</strong> dedicated support <strong>of</strong> six adm<strong>in</strong>istrative<br />

assistants and our practice cont<strong>in</strong>ues to expand.<br />

This expansion will cont<strong>in</strong>ue as <strong>the</strong> community<br />

grows and <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> newborns cont<strong>in</strong>ue<br />

to evolve.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 1




On a cold, w<strong>in</strong>try afternoon <strong>in</strong> 1985,<br />

Dr. Carlos Estrada was driv<strong>in</strong>g home after<br />

spend<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> morn<strong>in</strong>g assist<strong>in</strong>g Dr. Karl<br />

Hirshberg and Dr. Isaac Ramsey at <strong>the</strong> Topeka<br />

Institute for Psychoanalysis. He had come to<br />

Kansas from his native Guatemala twenty-one<br />

years earlier to beg<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> study <strong>of</strong> psychology<br />

under <strong>the</strong> tutelage <strong>of</strong> Dr. Karl Menn<strong>in</strong>ger <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Menn<strong>in</strong>ger Foundation.<br />

He had formed a strong friendship with,<br />

and great respect for Dr. Karl Menn<strong>in</strong>ger<br />

and <strong>the</strong> manag<strong>in</strong>g ability <strong>of</strong> Dr. Ha<strong>in</strong>es,<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> Institutions.<br />

Dr. Estrada felt accomplished and fulfilled,<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g completed tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> all areas <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Menn<strong>in</strong>ger Foundation, and serv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

many capacities at <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Topeka area. “I was<br />

plann<strong>in</strong>g a career <strong>in</strong> education, psychiatric<br />

7 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

adm<strong>in</strong>istration, treatment, and consultation,”<br />

he says. “I arrived home and our Saturday<br />

afternoon ritual <strong>of</strong> watch<strong>in</strong>g Tarzan movies on<br />

television with my family when I received a call<br />

and job <strong>of</strong>fer.<br />

“I was surprised to hear from a friend and<br />

classmate <strong>of</strong>fer<strong>in</strong>g me a job <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.<br />

My daughters saw it as an upward move and<br />

thought it would help <strong>the</strong>m go to college. After<br />

discussion with my family, I called back and<br />

accepted <strong>the</strong> position.”<br />

Because <strong>the</strong>re were no o<strong>the</strong>r psychiatrists <strong>in</strong><br />

town who were will<strong>in</strong>g to jo<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> venture,<br />

<strong>the</strong> decision changed his career and changed<br />

<strong>the</strong> psychiatric history <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi. He<br />

commuted from Topeka to Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong><br />

1985, and opened Bayview Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1986.<br />

He says he was surprised that he left a city <strong>of</strong><br />

75,000 with more than eighty psychiatrists,<br />

and came to a city <strong>of</strong> 250,000 people with only<br />

six psychiatrists.<br />

With his colleague, Dr. Estrada recruited<br />

two o<strong>the</strong>r psychiatrists from <strong>the</strong> Menn<strong>in</strong>ger<br />

Foundation and five nurses. The hospital was<br />

an immediate success, both f<strong>in</strong>ancially and <strong>in</strong><br />

car<strong>in</strong>g for children and adolescents, improv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> service for adults <strong>in</strong> psychiatry and<br />

chemical dependency.<br />

Years later, he received an <strong>of</strong>fer for a jo<strong>in</strong>t<br />

venture to develop a corporation with Charter<br />

Hospital and a group <strong>of</strong> psychiatrists. With<br />

<strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> his friend and colleague,<br />

Dr. Robert McClung, he accepted <strong>the</strong> position<br />

<strong>of</strong> Medical Director at Charter, leav<strong>in</strong>g Bayview.<br />

That is when he also started Coastal Bend<br />

Psychiatric Association, hav<strong>in</strong>g a capitation<br />

contract, supply<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> psychiatric and counsel<strong>in</strong>g<br />

services, while Charter provided <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>in</strong>patient and partial hospitalization services.<br />

He had survived four previous revolutions <strong>in</strong><br />

psychiatry: <strong>the</strong> moral treatment, <strong>the</strong> psychological<br />

treatment, <strong>the</strong> pharmacologic treatment,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> mental health revolution, but admits to<br />

not be<strong>in</strong>g prepared to survive <strong>the</strong> managed care<br />

revolution that was on <strong>the</strong> horizon.<br />

In December 1999, Charter and Bayview<br />

simultaneously announced <strong>the</strong>y were clos<strong>in</strong>g<br />

operations. “I remember Dr. McClung ask<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

‘How are we go<strong>in</strong>g to treat our patients?’<br />

My response was, ‘Let’s buy a hospital and run<br />

it.’ We now have four hospital build<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

city that are empty and for sale.<br />

“With <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong><br />

Sharon Meadors, we were<br />

able to obta<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> f<strong>in</strong>ancial<br />

help <strong>of</strong> James Whatley, a<br />

benefactor for psychiatric<br />

and chemical dependency<br />

patients. I <strong>in</strong>vited <strong>the</strong> local<br />

psychiatric community to<br />

jo<strong>in</strong> us, and Dr. May, who<br />

was Director and Medical<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bayview<br />

Hospital at <strong>the</strong> time. He was<br />

<strong>the</strong> only psychiatrist to jo<strong>in</strong><br />

Dr. McClung and me.”<br />

They purchased <strong>the</strong> old<br />

Bayview Hospital that had<br />

become <strong>the</strong> Columbia <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

build<strong>in</strong>gs and, with <strong>the</strong><br />

altruistic help <strong>of</strong> employees<br />

<strong>of</strong> both hospitals that had<br />

closed, built <strong>the</strong> new Padre<br />

Behavioral Hospital. He<br />

says it was a work <strong>of</strong> love<br />

and heart and m<strong>in</strong>d. And<br />

none accepted pay for over<br />

three months. “We were<br />

lucky to have a benefactor-f<strong>in</strong>ancier, and to<br />

acquire loans from <strong>the</strong> Small Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

Adm<strong>in</strong>istration. That allowed us to remodel<br />

and recondition Bayview Hospital so it would<br />

meet new hospital standards.” They opened <strong>the</strong><br />

facility <strong>in</strong> April 2000.<br />

For Estrada, it was a “dream come true.” He<br />

had fulfilled his dream <strong>of</strong> develop<strong>in</strong>g a hospital<br />

directed <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> psychiatrist mentality to help<br />

people, provide needed services, and to fulfill<br />

<strong>the</strong> psychiatric community <strong>of</strong> nurses, <strong>the</strong>rapists,<br />

counselors, activity <strong>the</strong>rapists, and psychiatrists.<br />

❖<br />

After twenty-six years <strong>of</strong> start<strong>in</strong>g<br />

at Bayview Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1985 as its<br />

medical director and after Bayview<br />

Hospital has seen five different<br />

ownerships, Dr. Estrada has rema<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

and cont<strong>in</strong>ues as its medical director.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 3




CENTER<br />

❖<br />

Above: Dr. Gentile speak<strong>in</strong>g at <strong>the</strong><br />

Aes<strong>the</strong>tic Congress <strong>in</strong> Monaco.<br />

Below: Dr. Gentile with his mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

and wife, Cathy.<br />

Dr. Herve` Gentile is a third generation<br />

Italian, who was born <strong>in</strong><br />

Kansas and spent his early years <strong>in</strong><br />

Maryland; end<strong>in</strong>g up <strong>in</strong> Italy where<br />

his parents retired.<br />

“You cannot spend time <strong>in</strong> Italy<br />

without be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>fluenced <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

country’s art. A knowledge <strong>of</strong> art<br />

enables a plastic surgeon to better<br />

understand human anatomy, especially<br />

<strong>the</strong> face,” he says. It triggered<br />

his fasc<strong>in</strong>ation with <strong>the</strong> f<strong>in</strong>er art <strong>of</strong><br />

plastic surgery. The country’s artistic<br />

bent <strong>in</strong>fluenced <strong>the</strong> doctor who,<br />

while liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>re, began sculpt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and pa<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Dr. Gentile completed residencies<br />

<strong>in</strong> general surgery, ear-nose-throat/head-andneck<br />

surgery, plastic surgery and a fellowship<br />

<strong>in</strong> facial plastic surgery. He currently holds a<br />

teach<strong>in</strong>g position as Cl<strong>in</strong>ical Assistant Pr<strong>of</strong>essor<br />

<strong>of</strong> Plastic Surgery at <strong>the</strong> Georgia Health Sciences<br />

University (Medical College <strong>of</strong> Georgia).<br />

The doctor’s pr<strong>of</strong>essional background<br />

<strong>in</strong>cludes service <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States Air Force,<br />

fly<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> F-4 Phantom. This experience also<br />

contributed towards <strong>the</strong> formation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

necessary discipl<strong>in</strong>e and quick decision ability<br />

required <strong>of</strong> Dr. Gentile to complete his<br />

residency tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and become a complete,<br />

well-rounded plastic surgeon.<br />

While <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> military, Dr. Gentile became<br />

acqua<strong>in</strong>ted with Corpus Christi and fell <strong>in</strong> love<br />

with <strong>the</strong> city. That later prompted his decision<br />

to start his practice <strong>in</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>. While<br />

his practice is limited to cosmetic surgery, for<br />

years, he donated a portion <strong>of</strong> his time to <strong>the</strong><br />

local children’s hospital, perform<strong>in</strong>g reconstruction<br />

<strong>of</strong> cleft lips and o<strong>the</strong>r congenital<br />

deformities on <strong>in</strong>fants and children. Noth<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

more gratify<strong>in</strong>g, he says, than be<strong>in</strong>g able to<br />

restore a more normal function to a child or a<br />

ba<strong>by</strong>, and see his smile years later.<br />

In 1998, when Dr. Gentile decided to build<br />

A BETTER YOU Cosmetic Surgery Center <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi, he put his artistic abilities to<br />

work and designed a modern, private, and<br />

environmentally friendly complex located on<br />

Ocean Drive, which w<strong>in</strong>ds along <strong>the</strong> shorel<strong>in</strong>e<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico. In 1999, A BETTER YOU<br />

Cosmetic Center became <strong>the</strong> first ambulatory<br />

<strong>in</strong>-<strong>of</strong>fice surgery center to be accredited <strong>in</strong><br />

South Texas. The surgery suite features <strong>the</strong><br />

most current technology available. It provides<br />

for patient comfort, convenience, and privacy<br />

with all <strong>the</strong> safety features <strong>of</strong> a hospital, but<br />

without <strong>the</strong> added expense and <strong>in</strong>convenience<br />

<strong>of</strong> a hospital. It <strong>of</strong>fers <strong>the</strong> entire range <strong>of</strong> aes<strong>the</strong>tic<br />

surgical procedures and cosmetic medical<br />

treatments such as fat transfer, botox, peels,<br />

and laser liposuction. It was <strong>the</strong> first center to<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduce laser hair removal <strong>in</strong> 1998 <strong>in</strong> South<br />

Texas. In <strong>the</strong> beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g, it was <strong>in</strong>undated <strong>by</strong><br />

telephone calls from all over <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

Dr. Gentile is triple board certified <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

American Board <strong>of</strong> Plastic Surgery, <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Board <strong>of</strong> Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery<br />

and <strong>the</strong> American Board <strong>of</strong> Facial Plastic and<br />

Reconstructive Surgery. He is a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

American Society for Aes<strong>the</strong>tic Plastic Surgery,<br />

7 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

<strong>the</strong> American Society <strong>of</strong> Plastic Surgeons, <strong>the</strong><br />

International Society <strong>of</strong> Aes<strong>the</strong>tic Plastic Surgery,<br />

and a Fellow <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American College <strong>of</strong> Surgeons<br />

and <strong>the</strong> American Academy <strong>of</strong> Facial Plastic and<br />

Reconstructive Surgery, among o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Dr. Gentile has been consulted and featured<br />

on television and radio, <strong>in</strong> books and newspapers.<br />

He is also an <strong>in</strong>vited speaker on cosmetic<br />

surgery <strong>in</strong>ternationally, and was elected <strong>by</strong><br />

his peers for <strong>in</strong>clusion <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Best Doctors <strong>in</strong><br />

America ® from 2009-2012 <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> subspecialty<br />

<strong>of</strong> Plastic Surgery/Body Cosmetic Surgery and<br />

Plastic Surgery/Facial Aes<strong>the</strong>tic Surgery. To be<br />

recognized as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Best Doctors <strong>in</strong><br />

America ® a doctor must earn high marks for<br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ical ability from his/her peers. Only <strong>the</strong><br />

top three to five percent <strong>of</strong> all U.S. doctors is<br />

deemed deserv<strong>in</strong>g and is voted to be <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Best Doctor.<br />

Dr. Gentile says <strong>the</strong> greatest satisfaction <strong>in</strong><br />

his life is his family, and practice. The practice<br />

provides him with pleasure <strong>in</strong> be<strong>in</strong>g able to<br />

make people more attractive. “At <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> day I go home to hugs from my wife Cathy<br />

and youngest son Enzo…that gives my life<br />

true mean<strong>in</strong>g.”<br />

❖<br />

Above: The <strong>of</strong>fice with <strong>the</strong> surgery<br />

center on Ocean Drive <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi, Texas.<br />

Below: The Gentiles <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Dolomites.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 5


American Bank could easily be called <strong>the</strong><br />

catalyst to help<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dividuals and bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

succeed <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi area. The bank’s<br />

“Yes, we can” service philosophy is at <strong>the</strong><br />

heart <strong>of</strong> all it does for customers throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend and beyond. Built on a<br />

commitment <strong>of</strong> shared responsibility and<br />

<strong>in</strong>vestment <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> communities it serves,<br />

American Bank was founded <strong>by</strong> a group <strong>of</strong><br />

Corpus Christi bus<strong>in</strong>ess leaders, and opened<br />

on August 24, 1970.<br />

Still locally-owned and <strong>in</strong>dependent,<br />

American Bank <strong>of</strong>fers a full range <strong>of</strong> bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

and personal f<strong>in</strong>ancial services, specializ<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> provid<strong>in</strong>g l<strong>in</strong>es <strong>of</strong> credit, equipment and<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g loans, along with all o<strong>the</strong>r bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

f<strong>in</strong>anc<strong>in</strong>g needs. The bank is a committed<br />

partner that helps those <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> medical<br />

community serve <strong>the</strong>ir patients and also<br />

achieve successful bus<strong>in</strong>ess results.<br />

The bank’s Private Bank<strong>in</strong>g department is<br />

widely recognized as <strong>the</strong> area’s lead<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ancial<br />

resource for physicians and o<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

medical community. Their Private Bankers<br />

coord<strong>in</strong>ate a team <strong>of</strong> experts for loans,<br />

deposit and retirement accounts, cash/treasury<br />

management, <strong>in</strong>surance, <strong>in</strong>vestments, and<br />

trust/asset management to provide<br />

a comprehensive approach for<br />

customers’ bus<strong>in</strong>ess and personal<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ancial needs. They are committed<br />

to provid<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> ultimate <strong>in</strong><br />

personalized service and are “on call”<br />

to respond to all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir customers’<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ancial requests. As a result,<br />

Private Bank<strong>in</strong>g customers become<br />

more efficient and are able to devote more <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir time to grow<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>ir bus<strong>in</strong>ess, spend<strong>in</strong>g<br />

time with family or simply enjoy<strong>in</strong>g life.<br />

American Bank’s <strong>in</strong>surance affiliate, Borden<br />

Insurance, <strong>of</strong>fers property and casualty<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance services for both consumer and<br />

commercial purposes. And <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>fer human<br />

resource strategies and benefits programs for<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional <strong>of</strong>fices and o<strong>the</strong>r bus<strong>in</strong>esses <strong>of</strong><br />

all sizes.<br />

Full-service, non-bank <strong>in</strong>vestments are<br />

available through American Investment Services,<br />

a division <strong>of</strong> Herndon Plant Oakley, Ltd.,<br />

member FINRA/SIPC.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> forty years s<strong>in</strong>ce open<strong>in</strong>g, American<br />

Bank has grown to be <strong>the</strong> largest <strong>in</strong>dependent<br />

bank <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> area, with approximately 250<br />

employees cover<strong>in</strong>g seven locations <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi; s<strong>in</strong>gle locations <strong>in</strong> Port<br />

Aransas, Rockport, Goliad and Victoria; and<br />

two <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Aust<strong>in</strong> area. The bank<br />

also operates a network <strong>of</strong> twenty-one ATMs.<br />

As <strong>of</strong> March 31, 2011, assets totaled over<br />

$975 million.<br />

Member FDIC. Trust and American Investment<br />

Services <strong>in</strong>vestment products: not FDIC <strong>in</strong>sured,<br />

no bank guarantee, may lose value.<br />

7 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

There is noth<strong>in</strong>g quite like declar<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

newborn “healthy,” <strong>the</strong>n, watch<strong>in</strong>g that child<br />

grow <strong>in</strong>to a healthy adult, say Drs. Mulukulta<br />

Ramakrishna and Jorge S. Rodriguez <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

South Padre Island Pediatric Center (SPID).<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>the</strong> two, “We experience every<br />

aspect <strong>of</strong> a child’s healthcare needs such as<br />

immunizations, lab test<strong>in</strong>g, pulmonary function<br />

test<strong>in</strong>g, placement <strong>of</strong> cast, m<strong>in</strong>or surgical<br />

procedures, hear<strong>in</strong>g and vision test<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

nutritional needs from newborns to adolescents.<br />

Hopefully, <strong>the</strong> healthy<br />

habits we <strong>in</strong>still <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>m at an<br />

early age will follow <strong>the</strong>m<br />

throughout life,” <strong>the</strong>y add.<br />

Dr. Ramakrishna and Dr. O’Keefe<br />

were found<strong>in</strong>g doctors <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

South Padre Island Pediatric Center<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1981. Dr. Rodriguez jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1982; Former physicians were<br />

Dr. Fe Pizzaro, Dr. Ja<strong>in</strong> Tong,<br />

Dr. Wesley Jakowboski and<br />

Dr. Maria Perez-Johnson.<br />

SPID’s <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi<br />

was built 1981, Aransas Pass<br />

branch was started on 1987,<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ton 1994, Mathis 1999, and<br />

K<strong>in</strong>gsville 2008.<br />

SPID physicians and staff are<br />

committed to provid<strong>in</strong>g appropriate<br />

high-quality, cost-effective<br />

healthcare to patients, <strong>in</strong> a<br />

courteous and pr<strong>of</strong>essional manner.<br />

Their mission is to ensure<br />

that high quality pediatric<br />

healthcare is accessible to all<br />

families <strong>in</strong> Coastal Bend with<br />

various <strong>of</strong>fices.<br />

SPID participates <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Health Fair,<br />

Reach Out & Read Program, SV<br />

Temple Health Fair and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

numerous community activities.<br />

SPID diagnosed <strong>the</strong> first bubble<br />

boy <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi, and transferred<br />

him for bone marrow transplant<br />

<strong>in</strong> M<strong>in</strong>neapolis. Ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

child with <strong>the</strong> problem was transferred<br />

to Texas Children’s Hospital<br />

(TCH) because, <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong>n, TCH was<br />

perform<strong>in</strong>g this procedure.<br />

Many Driscoll Hospital residents who have<br />

tra<strong>in</strong>ed at SPID now practice pediatrics<br />

and pediatric specialties throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

United States.<br />

Dr. Ramakrishna serves on many boards<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> Children’s Health <strong>Care</strong> Insurance<br />

Program and Medicaid Region II and Coastal<br />

Bend Emergency Services. He is a former board<br />

member, Chief <strong>of</strong> Staff, and Chief <strong>of</strong> Pediatrics<br />

at Driscoll Hospital. Dr Rodriguez was former<br />

Chief <strong>of</strong> Pediatrics at Driscoll Hospital.<br />


ISLAND<br />


CENTER<br />

❖<br />

Below: Dr. Mulukulta Ramakrishna.<br />

Bottom: Dr. Jorge S. Rodriguez.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 7



❖<br />

Clockwise, start<strong>in</strong>g from <strong>the</strong> top:<br />

Coastal Bend Blood Center, 209 North<br />

Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi.<br />

John Hardy Robertson,<br />

blood recipient.<br />

Coastal Bend Blood Center’s first<br />

blood donor <strong>in</strong> 1970.<br />

Across <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend, over 32,000 citizens<br />

are everyday heroes, donat<strong>in</strong>g blood <strong>in</strong><br />

support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend Blood Center each<br />

year. In partnership with <strong>the</strong>se community<br />

donors, <strong>the</strong> Blood Center’s mission is to provide<br />

a safe supply <strong>of</strong> blood and related services<br />

to hospitals and patients <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend.<br />

The Blood Center supplies thirteen medical<br />

facilities across ten counties: Aransas, Bee,<br />

Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Live Oak,<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong>, Refugio and San Patricio.<br />

In 1969, Dr. Hans Heymann,<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society<br />

president, recognized <strong>the</strong> need<br />

for a community blood bank to<br />

safely provide blood for area hospitals.<br />

Subsequently, a 501 (c) (3)<br />

organization, orig<strong>in</strong>ally known<br />

as <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical<br />

Society-Community Blood Bank,<br />

was formed.<br />

An <strong>in</strong>itial loan <strong>of</strong> $25,000<br />

enabled <strong>the</strong> facility to <strong>in</strong>corporate<br />

October 31, 1969. The loan was quickly repaid,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Blood Center received its first donor<br />

June 15, 1970. The blood bank became “mobile”<br />

<strong>in</strong> late 1970 with an <strong>in</strong>augural blood drive at<br />

Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. Volunteers<br />

donated on <strong>the</strong> center’s first “bloodmobile,” a<br />

three-bed W<strong>in</strong>nebago.<br />

Many regulatory and quality control changes<br />

evolved throughout <strong>the</strong> 1980s and 1990s.<br />

Dur<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> first decade <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new millennium,<br />

<strong>the</strong> volunteer Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees changed <strong>the</strong><br />

name to Coastal Bend Blood Center to better<br />

reflect <strong>the</strong> service area. The center also began<br />

an Apheresis program, which allows specific<br />

blood components to be targeted and collected<br />

from a s<strong>in</strong>gle donor.<br />

Thanks to support from its donor heroes, <strong>the</strong><br />

Coastal Bend Blood Center has grown over <strong>the</strong><br />

past 42 years, from 8 employees <strong>in</strong> 1970 to about<br />

80 <strong>in</strong> 2011. The center now features 6 mobile<br />

units and 2 m<strong>in</strong>i set-ups and counts on 644 donor<br />

clubs that host more than 1,600 blood drives each<br />

year. The Blood Center cont<strong>in</strong>uously strives for<br />

higher goals, which <strong>in</strong>clude becom<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> most<br />

efficient small blood center <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation and<br />

excell<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> meet<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dustry standards.<br />

7 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

In <strong>the</strong> mid-1970s, escalat<strong>in</strong>g medical<br />

malpractice claims and lawsuits threatened <strong>the</strong><br />

careers <strong>of</strong> Texas physicians; <strong>the</strong>y found it<br />

<strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly difficult to f<strong>in</strong>d and purchase<br />

affordable medical malpractice <strong>in</strong>surance.<br />

To confront this issue, physician members<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association (TMA) and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong>terested parties comb<strong>in</strong>ed resources to<br />

study <strong>the</strong> problem and develop a solution. On<br />

June 3, 1978, Texas Medical Liability Trust<br />

(TMLT) was created under <strong>the</strong> Texas Insurance<br />

Code (Section 31.13 <strong>of</strong> HB1048) to provide<br />

TMA-member physicians with a stable<br />

source <strong>of</strong> medical liability <strong>in</strong>surance. Today,<br />

TMLT <strong>of</strong>fers medical liability <strong>in</strong>surance,<br />

claims management and defense, risk<br />

management education, and cont<strong>in</strong>u<strong>in</strong>g<br />

medical education (CME) to Texas physicians.<br />

TMLT has cont<strong>in</strong>ued to grow and to<br />

become <strong>the</strong> preferred <strong>in</strong>surer for <strong>the</strong> Texas<br />

medical community, act<strong>in</strong>g as a “watchdog” to<br />

reduce <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> non-meritorious claims<br />

and lawsuits.<br />

However, <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> late 1990s, ris<strong>in</strong>g claims<br />

frequency and severity aga<strong>in</strong> threatened Texas<br />

physicians. One out <strong>of</strong> five faced a claim or<br />

lawsuit. A new crisis was brew<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

By January 2002, <strong>the</strong> TMLT, TMA, THA,<br />

and 200 o<strong>the</strong>r members, formed <strong>the</strong> Texas<br />

Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA) to fight<br />

for medical liability reform <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2003<br />

legislative session. Tort reform was passed,<br />

putt<strong>in</strong>g a cap on non-economic damages <strong>of</strong><br />

$250,000 for any comb<strong>in</strong>ation <strong>of</strong> three<br />

defendants, plus possible addition <strong>of</strong> up to two<br />

hospitals and/or nurs<strong>in</strong>g homes at $250,000<br />

each for a total <strong>of</strong> $750,000.<br />

TAPA soon faced a new battle to protect<br />

<strong>the</strong> 2003 tort reforms. They sought to<br />

amend <strong>the</strong> Texas constitution regard<strong>in</strong>g noneconomic<br />

caps. Campaigns were organized to<br />

ga<strong>in</strong> public support. Texas physicians jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r and marched <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir white coats<br />

to <strong>the</strong> steps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state capitol. The result<br />

was <strong>the</strong> most sweep<strong>in</strong>g tort reform ever<br />

achieved <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States <strong>in</strong> which a<br />

state constitutional amendment protects <strong>the</strong><br />

non-economic damage caps. Texas tort<br />

reform became <strong>the</strong> model on which o<strong>the</strong>r states<br />

fac<strong>in</strong>g similar problems based <strong>the</strong>ir own tort<br />

reform efforts.<br />


❖<br />

Above: The 1980 Board <strong>of</strong> Governors.<br />

Front row (from left to right): Walter<br />

A. Brooks, MD; Richard L. Vardy,<br />

MD; Milton V. Davis, MD; and<br />

Randolph C. Zuber, MD. Back row<br />

(from left to right): E. Donald Webb,<br />

MD; Presley Chalmers, MD; and<br />

C. Kenneth Landrum, MD. Not<br />

pictured: Robert G. Thumwood, MD;<br />

Richard A. Morton, Jr., MD.<br />

Left: The TMLT tort reform team with<br />

Senator Joe Nixon <strong>in</strong> 2003. Shown<br />

are (from left to right): Bob R. Fields;<br />

Howard R. Marcus, MD; Frank<br />

Galitski; Senator Joe Nixon; Theo van<br />

Eeten; and W. Thomas Cotton.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 9




❖<br />

Above: This picture, taken <strong>in</strong> 1904,<br />

depicts Clara Driscoll at <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong><br />

twenty-three. Forty-one years later<br />

she would establish <strong>the</strong> Driscoll<br />

Foundation that would later fund <strong>the</strong><br />

establishment <strong>of</strong> Driscoll Children’s<br />

Health Plan.<br />

Below: With forty-eight employees,<br />

DCHP is <strong>the</strong> only locally founded<br />

health plan <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> Service<br />

Delivery Area.<br />

A subsidiary <strong>of</strong> Driscoll Children’s Hospital;<br />

Driscoll Children’s Health Plan (DCHP), a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it,<br />

community-based health <strong>in</strong>surance plan<br />

has served <strong>the</strong> children <strong>of</strong> South Texas for<br />

almost fifteen years.<br />

DCHP was orig<strong>in</strong>ally developed and funded<br />

through <strong>the</strong> Driscoll Foundation and licensed<br />

<strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas Department <strong>of</strong> Insurance as a<br />

Health Ma<strong>in</strong>tenance Organization (HMO) <strong>in</strong><br />

1998. When <strong>the</strong> state decided to implement <strong>the</strong><br />

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),<br />

DCHP responded to <strong>the</strong> proposal and was <strong>the</strong><br />

only HMO awarded <strong>the</strong> contract <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> fifteencounty<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> Service Delivery Area. S<strong>in</strong>ce <strong>the</strong><br />

award <strong>in</strong> May 2000, DCHP membership has<br />

grown from three members <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> first month to<br />

more than 21,000 members <strong>in</strong> mid-2002. Due<br />

to 2003 legislative cuts, that number was<br />

reduced to a low <strong>of</strong> 7,580 members <strong>in</strong> 2007.<br />

Today membership <strong>in</strong>cludes not only CHIP, at<br />

greater than 12,000 members, but also<br />

Medicaid/STAR membership, which is more<br />

than 44,000. Two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> three orig<strong>in</strong>al members<br />

rema<strong>in</strong> on <strong>the</strong> health plan today, <strong>the</strong> third aged<br />

out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> plan.<br />

Victor Gonzales became <strong>the</strong> first CEO, and<br />

Richard Taylor, MD, <strong>the</strong> first medical director.<br />

Charles Carroll succeeded Gonzales <strong>in</strong> 1999.<br />

Mary Dale Peterson, MD, became CEO <strong>in</strong> 2008,<br />

and is <strong>the</strong> current CEO for <strong>the</strong> health plan.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce that time, <strong>the</strong> DCHP staff has grown from<br />

five employees to 48.<br />

Through various grants and community<br />

programs, DCHP has been able to impact <strong>the</strong><br />

health <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community <strong>by</strong> reduc<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

number <strong>of</strong> premature births through nutritional<br />

counsel<strong>in</strong>g and pregnancy education, and also<br />

reduc<strong>in</strong>g dental surgeries <strong>by</strong> prevent<strong>in</strong>g tooth<br />

caries <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> pediatric population.<br />

DCHP cont<strong>in</strong>ues to provide efficient, costeffective<br />

care through a dedicated and<br />

compassionate healthcare team; recogniz<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and promot<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> worth and dignity <strong>of</strong> each<br />

member be<strong>in</strong>g served, as well as those serv<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

As always, DCHP is <strong>the</strong>re for <strong>the</strong> children, <strong>by</strong><br />

provid<strong>in</strong>g primary and specialty care, with<strong>in</strong><br />

and even outside <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

8 0 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A




Driscoll Children’s Hospital, located on <strong>the</strong><br />

Gulf Coast <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi, serves as a beacon<br />

<strong>of</strong> light for children <strong>of</strong> South Texas. Made<br />

possible nearly 60 years ago <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> generosity<br />

and vision <strong>of</strong> its founder, Clara Driscoll, it<br />

became <strong>the</strong> first free-stand<strong>in</strong>g children’s hospital<br />

<strong>in</strong> South Texas when it opened its doors <strong>in</strong> 1953.<br />

What began as a 25-bed hospital serv<strong>in</strong>g five<br />

South Texas counties has become a 189-bed<br />

tertiary care regional referral center <strong>of</strong>fer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

complex and comprehensive medical and<br />

surgical services to <strong>the</strong> pediatric population <strong>in</strong><br />

31 South Texas counties cover<strong>in</strong>g 33,000 square<br />

miles. Driscoll Children’s Hospital is known for:<br />

• An oncology program that is part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Children’s Oncology Group, a world premier<br />

pediatric cancer research collaborative.<br />

• A cardiology program with electrophysiology<br />

services and hybrid pediatric cardiac/vascular<br />

bi-plane ca<strong>the</strong>terization laboratory with a<br />

telemedic<strong>in</strong>e component.<br />

• The first Emergency Services Department<br />

especially for children that sees more than<br />

40,000 patients annually.<br />

• A renal transplantation program, mak<strong>in</strong>g it<br />

<strong>the</strong> first hospital <strong>in</strong> South Texas to perform a<br />

kidney transplant.<br />

• A level III Neonatal Intensive <strong>Care</strong> Unit that<br />

has cared for more than 20,000 critically ill<br />

and premature <strong>in</strong>fants.<br />

• A Pediatric Intensive <strong>Care</strong> Unit that <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art technologies for critically ill<br />

patients such as extracorporeal membrane<br />

oxygenation (ECMO).<br />

• Specialty centers and cl<strong>in</strong>ics <strong>in</strong> Brownsville,<br />

Eagle Pass, Harl<strong>in</strong>gen, Laredo, McAllen, Rio<br />

Grande City, Uvalde, Victoria, and Weslaco.<br />

• Maternal-fetal medic<strong>in</strong>e and per<strong>in</strong>atology that<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers specialized care for high-risk<br />

pregnancies.<br />

• An adolescent weight management and<br />

bariatrics program for adolescent obesity.<br />

Always m<strong>in</strong>dful <strong>of</strong> Clara Driscoll’s vision <strong>of</strong><br />

serv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> children <strong>of</strong> South Texas, Driscoll<br />

Children’s Hospital rema<strong>in</strong>s committed to its<br />

mission to relieve suffer<strong>in</strong>g and meet <strong>the</strong> needs<br />

<strong>of</strong> children, <strong>of</strong>fer<strong>in</strong>g hope and heal<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> an<br />

environment <strong>of</strong> trust, compassion and care.<br />

❖<br />

Above: With a medical staff <strong>of</strong><br />

approximately 250 physicians, more<br />

than 1,700 employees and a volunteer<br />

force <strong>of</strong> approximately 340, Driscoll<br />

Children’s Hospital serves more than<br />

138,000 children every year.<br />

Left: Known as a cattlewoman,<br />

philanthropist and South Texas<br />

patriot, Driscoll Children’s Hospital<br />

founder, Clara Driscoll, gave <strong>the</strong> bulk<br />

<strong>of</strong> her estate to a foundation to create<br />

a hospital especially for children.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 1



❖<br />

Above: The staff <strong>of</strong> Shea Physical<br />

Therapy. Front row (from left to<br />

right): Jennifer Jones, OTR, CHT;<br />

Sheila Hefl<strong>in</strong>, OTR, CHT; Paige<br />

Christensen, PT; and Ria Strowbridge,<br />

PT. Back row (from left to right): Adel<br />

Tijer<strong>in</strong>a, <strong>of</strong>fice manager; Lee Ann<br />

Dragon, PTA; Bernie Lane, CFO;<br />

Dan Shea, PT; Joyce Hamende, PTA;<br />

Diane Drysdale, PT; and LaDonna<br />

Palmietto, COTA.<br />

Right: Dan Shea, PT,<br />

and Debbie Shea, PT.<br />

Shea Physical Therapy (SPT) was founded <strong>in</strong><br />

1988 <strong>by</strong> Dan and Debbie Shea. They graduated<br />

from Florida International University, Miami,<br />

Florida, <strong>in</strong> 1982 and Dan followed Debbie to<br />

Corpus Christi where her family was stationed<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Navy.<br />

Dan worked at Memorial Medical Center as<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> Rehabilitative <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong>, and Debbie<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ed Ada Wilson as a pediatric physical <strong>the</strong>rapist.<br />

Shea Physical Therapy’s first location was<br />

<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Thomas Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic on South Brownlee.<br />

The <strong>of</strong>fice was located here until 1992 when<br />

SPT moved to its current facility on Everhart.<br />

SPT’s 10,000 square foot facility <strong>in</strong>cludes ten<br />

licensed <strong>the</strong>rapists and sixteen o<strong>the</strong>r staff members.<br />

In 1993 <strong>the</strong> group added occupational<br />

<strong>the</strong>rapy under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> Sheila Hefl<strong>in</strong>,<br />

OTR, Certified Hand Therapist. Hand Therapy<br />

Services added hand <strong>the</strong>rapist, Jennifer Jones,<br />

OTR, CHT, and long-time staff member and<br />

friend, LaDonna Palmietto, COTA.<br />

Dan recognized <strong>the</strong> strong qualities <strong>in</strong> different<br />

<strong>the</strong>rapists and staff <strong>in</strong>vit<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong>m to jo<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ic. Adel Tijer<strong>in</strong>a started with Dan <strong>in</strong> 1988,<br />

and rema<strong>in</strong>s today as <strong>the</strong> adm<strong>in</strong>istrator/<strong>of</strong>fice<br />

manager. Cl<strong>in</strong>ical Education Director Ria<br />

Strowbridge, PT, is a Dutch-tra<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong>rapist<br />

br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g a strong orthopaedic, manual <strong>the</strong>rapy<br />

and vertigo correction approach. Diane<br />

Drysdale, PT, and chief <strong>the</strong>rapist arrived <strong>in</strong><br />

Corpus Christi from Canada with expertise <strong>in</strong><br />

sports and general orthopaedics. Paige<br />

Christensen, PT, and compliance <strong>of</strong>ficer provides<br />

a neurorehabilitation and amputee<br />

emphasis to <strong>the</strong> group. Joyce Hamende, LPTA,<br />

has worked with Dan s<strong>in</strong>ce 1982. Lee Ann<br />

Dragon, LPTA, is <strong>the</strong> youngest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> group and<br />

locally tra<strong>in</strong>ed. Human Resources Director<br />

Bernie Lane, CFO br<strong>in</strong>gs strong organization to<br />

Shea Physical Therapy s<strong>in</strong>ce 1996.<br />

Shea Physical Therapy has been blessed and<br />

humbled <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> ongo<strong>in</strong>g support received<br />

through <strong>the</strong> physicians that entrust <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

patients to its care. Shea Physical Therapy is <strong>the</strong><br />

recipient <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Better Bus<strong>in</strong>ess Bureau Ethics<br />

Award and was given <strong>the</strong> 2002 Outstand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Physical Therapy Practice Award <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong> Texas<br />

Physical Therapy Association. The practice’s<br />

website is www.sheaphysical<strong>the</strong>rapy.com.<br />

8 2 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

In 1937, Dr. J. Houston Thomas and<br />

Dr. R. Gayle Spann began a practice<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>in</strong> Freer, Texas. The practice<br />

relocated to Corpus Christi <strong>in</strong> 1949<br />

where property was purchased on<br />

Brownlee Boulevard for <strong>the</strong> construction<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Thomas-Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic.<br />

The cl<strong>in</strong>ic opened <strong>in</strong> July 1949 with<br />

seven doctors and 13 hospital beds. The<br />

cl<strong>in</strong>ic struggled at first, rely<strong>in</strong>g on patients<br />

from Freer, Alice, and o<strong>the</strong>r near<strong>by</strong><br />

towns. Eventually, <strong>the</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic began to<br />

grow and add physicians <strong>of</strong> various<br />

specialties to serve <strong>the</strong> community.<br />

Expansion was completed <strong>in</strong> May<br />

1954, mak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic <strong>the</strong> first<br />

completely air-conditioned build<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> area. By 1955 <strong>the</strong>re were twelve<br />

doctors and sixteen hospital beds. Dr.<br />

James Gabbard performed one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

first open heart surgeries <strong>in</strong> Corpus<br />

Christi <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> late 1950s at Thomas-<br />

Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic. Fur<strong>the</strong>r expansion added a<br />

second floor <strong>in</strong> 1959, eventually grow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>the</strong> cl<strong>in</strong>ic to 52 hospital beds, a tworoom<br />

Operat<strong>in</strong>g Room (OR) suite, and a<br />

three-bed Intensive <strong>Care</strong> Unit (ICU) <strong>by</strong><br />

1963. Chang<strong>in</strong>g dynamics <strong>in</strong> healthcare,<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g code modifications, and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

regulatory changes made it difficult for<br />

smaller hospitals to survive f<strong>in</strong>ancially.<br />

The cl<strong>in</strong>ic and its fifty-two-hospital-bed<br />

designation from <strong>the</strong> state was sold to<br />

Doctors’ Regional Hospital <strong>in</strong> 1975.<br />

Today, Thomas-Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic is a<br />

partnership <strong>of</strong> practic<strong>in</strong>g physicians<br />

evolv<strong>in</strong>g from <strong>the</strong> group orig<strong>in</strong>ally<br />

founded <strong>in</strong> 1949. The cl<strong>in</strong>ic expanded to<br />

its current location at S.P.I.D. and Rodd<br />

Field Road <strong>in</strong> 1996. The staff is comprised<br />

<strong>of</strong> doctors specializ<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> family practice,<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternal medic<strong>in</strong>e, and rheumatology.<br />

Doctors practic<strong>in</strong>g at Thomas-Spann<br />

Cl<strong>in</strong>ic are: Dr. George Benavidez, Dr. John<br />

Carmichael, Dr. James Demberg, Dr. Orel<br />

M. Everett, Dr. Scott W. Howell, Dr. James<br />

H. Leibfarth, Dr. Danielle McCandless,<br />

Dr. J. Mike Neff, Dr. M<strong>in</strong>h Nguyen,<br />

Dr. David P. Petros, Dr. John R. Pettigrove,<br />

Dr. Charles Sanders, Dr. Mark G. Strauss, and<br />

Dr. Peter Vasconcellos. The cl<strong>in</strong>ic <strong>of</strong>fers a full<br />

range <strong>of</strong> services utiliz<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> latest technologies<br />

and proudly cont<strong>in</strong>ues to build on <strong>the</strong> strong<br />

reputation set forth <strong>by</strong> Drs. Thomas and Spann.<br />


CLINIC<br />

❖<br />

Above: J. Houston Thomas, M.D.<br />

Left: R.. Gayle Spann, M.D.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 3



❖<br />

Clockwise, start<strong>in</strong>g from <strong>the</strong> top:<br />

Mayor Lu<strong>the</strong>r Jones presents an<br />

award for participation <strong>in</strong> Community<br />

Health Days. Left to right: Mayor<br />

Lu<strong>the</strong>r Jones, Barbara Parker, NCMS<br />

President Dr. Lawrence Buxton,<br />

Sue Dulaney, and NCMS Executive<br />

Director Jean Oliver, 1989.<br />

NCMS has been hold<strong>in</strong>g an annual<br />

Health Fair for forty-six years<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer<strong>in</strong>g free test<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>the</strong> public.<br />

NCMS members rally at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Courthouse <strong>in</strong> support <strong>of</strong><br />

Proposition 12, 2002.<br />

The <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical<br />

Society has played an <strong>in</strong>tegral<br />

part <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong><br />

Corpus Christi and <strong>Nueces</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. From <strong>the</strong> very beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1904 when Dr. Arthur<br />

E. Spohn and six o<strong>the</strong>r local<br />

physicians met and formed<br />

<strong>the</strong> medical society, <strong>the</strong> welfare<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community has<br />

been its focus. This tradition<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ues today, as our mission<br />

statement clearly states:<br />

The purposes <strong>of</strong> this Society are (1) to serve <strong>the</strong><br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>in</strong> matters <strong>of</strong> medical<br />

care, (2) to federate <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>ession licensed to<br />

practice medic<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Texas, (3) to<br />

unite with o<strong>the</strong>r component societies to form<br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Medical Association and through it<br />

with o<strong>the</strong>r State associations to form and<br />

ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> American Medical Association,<br />

(4) to promote unity and cooperation among<br />

its members, (5) to secure <strong>the</strong> enactment <strong>of</strong><br />

appropriate medical and healthcare legislation,<br />

(6) to extend medical knowledge and advance<br />

medical science, and (7) to strive for <strong>the</strong> prevention<br />

and cure <strong>of</strong> disease and <strong>the</strong> improvement<br />

<strong>of</strong> public health.<br />

As Dr. John Pettigrove so aptly stated <strong>in</strong> his<br />

Coastal Bend <strong>Medic<strong>in</strong>e</strong> editorial on our centennial<br />

<strong>in</strong> 2004, “For a hundred years, <strong>the</strong> system<br />

created <strong>by</strong> our founders has rema<strong>in</strong>ed largely<br />

unchallenged. Until now that is. Today, as it did<br />

a hundred years ago, medical practice stands at<br />

a crossroads. Like our founders, we are called<br />

to awaken <strong>the</strong> country to <strong>the</strong> need for rebirth<br />

and to rebuild <strong>the</strong> erod<strong>in</strong>g<br />

foundations that those who<br />

preceded us so ably built.<br />

While we contemplate what<br />

<strong>the</strong> future should be like, it<br />

is only fitt<strong>in</strong>g that we reflect<br />

on <strong>the</strong> lessons <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past.<br />

Great men and women built<br />

<strong>the</strong> healthcare system <strong>in</strong><br />

this country and some <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>m lived and died right<br />

here <strong>in</strong> Corpus Christi.”<br />

Dramatic changes are<br />

com<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>the</strong> practice <strong>of</strong><br />

medic<strong>in</strong>e, but as long as<br />

<strong>the</strong> medical society focuses<br />

on serv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>, our members<br />

will persevere.<br />

8 4 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

Pulmonary Associates <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi,<br />

PLLC is like a breath <strong>of</strong> fresh air for many<br />

patients <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coastal Bend area who suffer<br />

breath<strong>in</strong>g disorders.<br />

The practice’s mission is to provide <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

and state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art pulmonary, critical care<br />

and sleep medic<strong>in</strong>e. “That <strong>in</strong>cludes everyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from asthma-to-pneumonia-to care <strong>of</strong> critically<br />

ill patients,” says Dr. Salim Surani, founder.<br />

The practice, started <strong>in</strong><br />

1997, provides outpatient and<br />

<strong>in</strong>patient pulmonary care. Dr.<br />

Surani takes pride <strong>in</strong> deliver<strong>in</strong>g<br />

critical care services to <strong>in</strong>digent<br />

patients <strong>of</strong> <strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong>. The<br />

practice also provides care to<br />

patients identified through<br />

test<strong>in</strong>g with sleep disorders.<br />

Undetected sleep disorders can<br />

cause serious problems with<br />

<strong>the</strong> heart and o<strong>the</strong>r organs if<br />

left untreated, says Dr Khan.<br />

Dr. Alamgir Khan jo<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>the</strong><br />

practice <strong>in</strong> 2007 and, toge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y realize <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> serv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong><br />

community and provid<strong>in</strong>g better education to<br />

children about <strong>the</strong> hazards <strong>of</strong> smok<strong>in</strong>g, which<br />

led Surani to establish Its Your Life Foundation.<br />

In addition to private practice, <strong>the</strong> doctors<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ue to provide up-to-date education to <strong>the</strong><br />

new generation <strong>of</strong> doctors at <strong>the</strong> residency program<br />

at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital. Practice<br />

phone number is 361-885-7722.<br />

❖<br />




CHRISTI,<br />

PLLC<br />

Left to right: Dr. Alamgir Khan and<br />

Dr. Salim Surani.<br />


A BETTER YOU Cosmetic Surgery Center ....................................................................................................................................74<br />

American Bank .............................................................................................................................................................................76<br />

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System .................................................................................................................................................66<br />

Coastal Bend Blood Bank..............................................................................................................................................................78<br />

Coastal Bend Psychiatric Associates ..............................................................................................................................................72<br />

Driscoll Children’s Health Plan .....................................................................................................................................................80<br />

Driscoll Children’s Hospital ..........................................................................................................................................................81<br />

Neonatology Consultants <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi..................................................................................................................................70<br />

<strong>Nueces</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Society....................................................................................................................................................84<br />

Shea Physical Therapy ..................................................................................................................................................................82<br />

South Padre Island Pediatric Center..............................................................................................................................................77<br />

Texas Medical Liability Trust ........................................................................................................................................................79<br />

Thomas-Spann Cl<strong>in</strong>ic ...................................................................................................................................................................83<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 5


B I L L A N D M A R J O R I E K . W A L R A V E N<br />

Bill Walraven is a former columnist and reporter for <strong>the</strong> Corpus Christi Caller. Marjorie<br />

Walraven is a former copy editor for <strong>the</strong> Caller, as well as a retired educator. In 2002 she<br />

was named one <strong>of</strong> seventy-five “Legends <strong>of</strong> Texas High School Journalism” <strong>by</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Interscholastic League Press Conference.<br />

The Walravens’ published works <strong>in</strong>clude Corpus Christi: The <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> a Texas <strong>Sea</strong>port;<br />

El R<strong>in</strong>con: A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Corpus Christi Beach; The Magnificent Barbarians: Little-known Tales <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Texas Revolution; Gift <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> W<strong>in</strong>d: The Corpus Christi Bayfront; Empresarios’ Children: The<br />

Welders <strong>of</strong> Texas; Wooden Rigs-Iron Men, a history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> oil and gas <strong>in</strong>dustry <strong>in</strong> South Texas;<br />

Real Texans Don’t Dr<strong>in</strong>k Scotch <strong>in</strong> Their Dr Pepper, and <strong>the</strong> recently published The General<br />

Said “Nuts,” Firsthand Accounts <strong>of</strong> Wartime Heroism, Horror, and Humor.<br />

8 6 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A


M A U R E E N R E E V E S T A R A Z O N<br />

Tarazon, an accomplished artist, has made San Antonio her home for forty years.<br />

Tarazon was born <strong>in</strong> London, England, where she received her <strong>in</strong>itial art tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g. Much<br />

<strong>of</strong> her girlhood years were spent draw<strong>in</strong>g and sketch<strong>in</strong>g under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> her fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Archibald Reeves. Later she entered London Polytechnic to cont<strong>in</strong>ue her studies.<br />

Tarazon has taught pa<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g classes and completed numerous conservation works <strong>in</strong> a<br />

career devoted to art. Tarazon has over fifteen hundred recorded works <strong>in</strong> collections<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> world. She has traveled and pa<strong>in</strong>ted <strong>in</strong> Europe, <strong>the</strong> Middle East and <strong>the</strong><br />

United States. Her travels have enriched her perceptive knowledge <strong>of</strong> both <strong>the</strong> European<br />

and American fields <strong>of</strong> art.<br />

Tarazon is a member <strong>of</strong> Who’s Who <strong>of</strong> American Women and <strong>the</strong> San Antonio Art League<br />

and Museum and has exhibited at numerous galleries throughout <strong>the</strong> U.S. Texas galleries<br />

have <strong>in</strong>cluded Greenhouse Gallery <strong>of</strong> F<strong>in</strong>e Art and Sigol<strong>of</strong>f Gallery <strong>of</strong> San Antonio, Salado<br />

Gallery and currently Smilovici’s Galleria <strong>in</strong> Boerne. Tarazon enjoyed a successful twentyyear<br />

tenure with New York art dealer Hans Peeters.<br />

For additional <strong>in</strong>formation about Maureen’s work, please visit www.maureentarazon.com.

For more <strong>in</strong>formation about <strong>the</strong> follow<strong>in</strong>g publications or about publish<strong>in</strong>g your own book, please call<br />

Historical Publish<strong>in</strong>g Network at 800-749-9790 or visit www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

Albemarle & Charlottesville:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> First 150 Years<br />

Black Gold: The Story <strong>of</strong> Texas Oil & Gas<br />

Ector <strong>County</strong>, Texas: 125 Years <strong>of</strong> <strong>History</strong><br />

Garland: A Contemporary <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Abilene: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Alamance <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Albuquerque: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Amarillo: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Anchorage: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Aust<strong>in</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Baldw<strong>in</strong> <strong>County</strong>: A Bicentennial <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Baton Rouge: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Beaufort <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Beaumont: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Bexar <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Birm<strong>in</strong>gham: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Brazoria <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Brownsville: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Charlotte:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Charlotte and Mecklenburg <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Chautauqua <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Cheyenne: A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Magic City<br />

Historic Clayton <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Columbus: A Bicentennial <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Comal <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Corpus Christi: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic DeKalb <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Denton <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Edmond: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic El Paso: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Erie <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Fayette <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Fairbanks: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Ga<strong>in</strong>esville & Hall <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Gregg <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Hampton Roads: Where America Began<br />

Historic Hancock <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Henry <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Hood <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Houston: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Hunt <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Ill<strong>in</strong>ois: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Kern <strong>County</strong>:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Bakersfield and Kern <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Lafayette:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Lafayette & Lafayette Parish<br />

Historic Laredo:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Laredo & Webb <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Las Cruces: The Story <strong>of</strong> Las Cruces & The Mesilla Valley<br />

Historic Lee <strong>County</strong>: The Story <strong>of</strong> Fort Myers & Lee <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Louisiana: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Mansfield: A Bicentennial <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Midland: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Mobile:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mobile Bay Region<br />

Historic Montgomery <strong>County</strong>:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Montgomery <strong>County</strong>, Texas<br />

Historic Ocala: The Story <strong>of</strong> Ocala & Marion <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Oklahoma: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Oklahoma <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Omaha:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Omaha and Douglas <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Orange <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Osceola <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Ouachita Parish: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Palest<strong>in</strong>e: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Paris and Lamar <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Pasadena: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Passaic <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Pennsylvania An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Philadelphia: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Prescott:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Prescott & Yavapai <strong>County</strong><br />

Historic Pr<strong>in</strong>ce George’s <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Richardson: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Rio Grande Valley: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Rogers <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Santa Barbara: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Scottsdale: A Life from <strong>the</strong> Land<br />

Historic Shel<strong>by</strong> <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Shreveport-Bossier:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Shreveport & Bossier City<br />

Historic South Carol<strong>in</strong>a: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Smith <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Temple: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Texarkana: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Texas: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Victoria: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Tulsa: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Wake <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Warren <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Williamson <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic Wilm<strong>in</strong>gton & The Lower Cape Fear:<br />

An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

Historic York <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong><br />

In <strong>the</strong> Heart <strong>of</strong> Louisiana: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Rapides Parish<br />

Iron, Wood & Water: An Illustrated <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Lake Oswego<br />

Jefferson Parish: Rich Heritage, Promis<strong>in</strong>g Future<br />

Miami’s Historic Neighborhoods: A <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Community<br />

Midland: W<strong>in</strong>dow to <strong>the</strong> West<br />

The New Frontier:<br />

A Contemporary <strong>History</strong> <strong>of</strong> Fort Worth & Tarrant <strong>County</strong><br />

Old Orange <strong>County</strong> Courthouse: A Centennial <strong>History</strong><br />

Plano: An Illustrated Chronicle<br />

Rich With Opportunity:<br />

Images <strong>of</strong> Beaumont and Jefferson <strong>County</strong><br />

San Antonio, City Exceptional<br />

The San Gabriel Valley: A 21st Century Portrait<br />

Southwest Louisiana: A Treasure Revealed<br />

The Spirit <strong>of</strong> Coll<strong>in</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Valley Places, Valley Faces<br />

Water, Rails & Oil: Historic Mid & South Jefferson <strong>County</strong><br />

8 8 ✦ C A R E B Y T H E S E A

$49.95<br />



ISBN: 9781935377740

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