The atmosphere inside the new Baylor Scott and White Medical Center was calm and happy as staff and volunteers worked to move 34 patients into their new rooms three and a half miles away from where many of them woke up.
One patient, Helen Smith, has a long history with Baylor. She used to work at the Baylor Medical Center for Dr. W.C. Tenery, the doctor who opened the Waxahachie Sanitarium in 1914. The Sanitarium was latter renamed the W.C. Tenery Hospital in his honor before being added to the Baylor Health Care System.
“He was a wonderful doctor,” Smith said.
She remembered one day when a mother brought in her son for treatment at the original hospital. It took doctors a while to figure out what was making him ill because he was having difficulty speaking, Smith said.
“Turned out, this boy had been behind their barn and stepped on an old rusty nail,” she said. “If the doctors hadn't been on their toes and realized what was going on and stayed up with him all night...” Her voice trailed off and she shook her head.
The young man may have had tetanus, a deadly disease that enters the body through cuts and affects the nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions, particularly of the jaw and neck muscles, according to mayoclinic.org.
Now 94 years old, Smith was a patient at the hospital on moving day. She said she remembered the old hospital when it was new.
“It was all very nice and everything, but naturally things change through the years,” she said. “The best I could see when they brought me in, this hospital looks wonderful.”
The staff did a good job keeping patients calm and comfortable during the move, said patient Jimmie Robinson.
“Mr. York (the hospital president) came down last night and make everything real simplified,” Robinson said. “My anxiety was taken away last night by Mr. York and the charge nurse Angie.”
And the patients' families were not forgotten either, said Robinson's wife Mendy Robinson. She was at the old hospital last night, worried about Jimmy's upcoming transfer to the new building until the nurses sent her home to rest, she said.
“They called me this morning and told me he was okay and settled,” Mendy said.
Patients' family entered through the new hospital's main entrance and were met immediately by members of the a team dedicated just to helping the family. Jessica Harbor headed the family team at the new building. Due to the work done to prepare everyone for the move, there haven't been many questions to answer today, she said.
“Most of the family I've seen here are very confident in the transition,” Harbor said.
At the ER entrance where patients were coming in, York was ready to meet every ambulance and greet the patience by name.
“Last night I wanted to go meet every patient we intended to transfer and to alleviate any anxiety,” York said. “I told them I would see them today and welcome them in.”
The first transfer patient arrived around 8:05 a.m., but the first patient was admitted to the ER around 6:30 a.m., he said.
“We just opened the doors and brought them in,” York said.
The hospital has had a steady stream of ER patients including several dropped off by ambulance, he said. The old location off Jefferson Street was scheduled to be shut down at noon today and the move was progressing on schedule.
“When you think about all the moving parts, it is inexpressive to be running on schedule by now,” he said as he waited for the last few patients to be delivered.