Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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March 7, 2014

PPGH born of necessity

Local hospital the result of local efforts

By TYLER MASK

Hospitals are among those things sometimes taken for granted. But each is unique, often having deep roots in the community. Some are even “homegrown.”

Palo Pinto General Hospital is a multi-million-dollar facility standing three stories high. The hospital's reach is broadened by its clinic in Gordon, mobile health clinic and Home Health and Hospice agencies. It's an important economic engine, employing approximately 460 people for its multiple departments. But Palo Pinto County hasn't always had this amenity; and it certainly didn't grow over night.

Before PPGH existed, Nazareth Hospital, ran by Sisters of Nazareth, a Catholic order, led the way in medicine during the first half of the 20th century. Private physicians, just like today, operated inside the hospital.

When the 1960s hit, the Catholic order announced it would be shutting its doors for various reasons. Local physicians banded together, realizing the continued need for a local hospital. Enter the idea of PPGH.

While plans were under way for starting a new hospital, the late PPC resident and State Senator Tom Creighton just so happened to be “Governor of the Day” in Austin, April 1965, when the Texas  Legislature officially created Palo Pinto County Hospital District and the Palo Pinto Area Foundation.

“On that day, things were just timed right," PPGH CEO Harris Brooks said. “The hospital is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, it was created on the house floor, and he was 'Governor of the Day' that day. So it's sentimental because this was his district.”

Physicians and everyone else on board had to raise money to actually build the hospital. Over a period of time they raised $225,000; but they had run out of time because the the Catholic order officially closed the Nazareth.

“[The physicians] said, 'Man, we don't have enough money to build a hospital yet,'” Brooks said.

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