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.
So the physicians took what money they had while waiting on various grants and made a trip to the Crazy Water Hotel.
“Imagine the Crazy running today,” Brooks said. “And imagine me or my chief of staff going to the owner and operators of the hotel saying, 'We're in a pinch, this community needs a hospital, it can't survive really without one, we need to makeshift.'”
Crazy Water management granted PPGH the second floor of the hotel. The physicians worked quickly, spending the money they had to retrofit the floor into a working hospital. PPGH officially opened its doors April 1968, functioning inside the hotel for nearly two years.
August 1970, PPGH moved to its current location, building the first part of several additions. The original building stood two stories high, but was structured for the future, having the ability to support two more stories when needed.
Through the years, PPGH has undergone several major renovations and additions including:
• 1984, addition of a third floor;
• 1992, renovation of the Women's Service Wing;
• 1995, West Town Clinic;
• 1997, Physical Therapy and Home Health;
• 1997, Emergency Room and Day Surgery project;
• 2004, addition/renovation of ER, ICU, Operating Rooms, Day Surgery, Oncology, Maintenance Shop, PT and Cardiology.
Even now the hospital is undergoing additions where new medical office spaces will be located. The current project is slated to be complete by June this year.
The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and is a major diagnostic center with a full scope of services. For more information regarding the “homegrown” hospital and its services, visit www.ppgh.com.