Mineral Wells Index
By TYLER MASK
Any organization is a reflection of its employees. Palo Pinto General Hospital is no exception to this rule. From hard-working individuals born for the medical field to workers who see their job as an outlet to show their faith in action, PPGH has a staff that is diverse, yet intertwined in many ways. However, one value that rings true through all of the staff is their desire to serve patients with the best care possible, which can be summed up in the words of Radiology Director Joe Erwin, RT.
“I enjoy the patients,” Erwin said. “I enjoy talking to them and visiting with patients and taking care of them. My philosophy is, I try to treat everyone like they are my mom or my dad.”
Erwin was born and raised in Bellevue, Texas. For a period of time, he moved off to the Texas Panhandle because of his father's work in the oil industry. But they eventually found themselves back in their hometown.
After Erwin graduated from high school, he headed off to Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, pursuing his basics.
Erwin didn't know exactly what he wanted to do at first, but between the two booming fields at the time, computers and medical, he felt like medical would be a better fit. He threw out many ideas in the field, but was eventually led to the X-ray program, the field he has grown to love over the years.
“I am glad I picked [radiology],” Erwin said. “I haven't regretted it. It was just a toss in the hat really, I guess. I don't know that anyone really knows what they want to do when they are 20 years old. You think you know. I think I made a lucky pick.”
During this time, his clinicals were based out of San Angelo, a bit too far away from his family.
Post college, he worked in San Angelo for a couple of years before he and his wife agreed that it was time to head a little closer to home. The only problem was his family was somewhat dispersed. His parents were still in Bellevue, while his siblings had moved to Decatur and Burleson. Enter Mineral Wells, a somewhat central location on the map in comparison to his family.
“We wanted to move back a little closer to home because we were thinking about having kids. … that's really what brought me here,” Erwin said.
As fate would have it, there was a job opening at PPGH, and Erwin landed it with ease. Fast forward a little more than 18 years, and Erwin is still working with PPGH.
Although he signed on in 1995, by 2000, he was director of the radiology department. During this time, Erwin has seen the hospital change a lot. He even remembers a time when there was no day surgery wing.
But the hospital growth has still remained cozy enough to maintain the family feel common to community hospitals.
“The smaller-sized hospital is what I like as well,” Erwin said. “Not too big. You get lost in the crowd. The good thing about a smaller hospital is that you can be more personable with patients. You can actually have a little bit more time to talk the them. The bigger places, you just don't have time to do that. When they say you're a number at a bigger hospital, it's just because they are so busy.”
On a daily basis, Erwin strives to maintain a family mentality. From serving his employees in the little things and even getting down in the trenches with them, to caring for patients as if they were his own, no one is an exception to his family philosophy.