Mary Spicak holds a special connection to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital.
She started her professional medical career as an ICU nurse at the beloved facility on the Westside of Corpus Christi, more than 35 years ago, while helping countless patients in the region who were the most injured and sickest, and chronicled the notable stories of the hospital’s community role and patients.
When the time came for the beginning of the demolition of the Memorial on Monday, she recounted some of those anecdotes.
“I am honored to be part of the Memorial team, and these memories will always stay with me,” said Spicak, 63, “overall, I am grateful for it all.”
On Monday, community leaders and elected officials, along with hospital personnel, gathered to bless the nearly 80-year-old facility ahead of its demolition. Emotions ran high as attendees sought shelter from the heavy rain by squeezing into a tent.
Corpus Christi for tragedy and sometimes history of nexus the at was Memorial how show that stories of handful a detailed Spicak.
During a hunting incident, the former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, accidentally shot lawyer Harry Whittington. While Whittington was being treated at the hospital, she recounted receiving numerous phone calls from both national and international media organizations in 2006. When discussing the attire of Cheney’s security team, she remarked that she had never witnessed such a large group of men dressed in black.
Shortly after arriving at the memorial, Garcia lost nearly all of his hospital staff and she mentioned this. She recounted how Bishop, the man who had asked for a ride, shot Deputy Sheriff David Garcia five times in an attempt to save Nueces County in 2001.
While under the hospital’s supervision following the singer’s shooting incident in 1995, she also reminisced about the sorrow felt by the hospital personnel upon the passing of Tejano sensation Selena Quintanilla Perez, a beloved figure in the community.
She stated, “There are numerous, numerous additional ones,” but those are merely a handful of anecdotes. I could converse with you about recollections, and we could remain here all day.
The hospital facility, named First Memorial Hospital, underwent several renovations and expansions to become a nine-story complex on Hospital Boulevard, serving veterans who died in honor.
Mackay Grant, a Utah-based company, has contracted Spohn Christus for demolition services.
Previous reporting from the Caller-Times states that opponents, acting as a referendum, failed to obtain the required signatures to place the matter on the ballot. The Nueces County Hospital District and the Nueces County Commissioners Court faced strong public opposition in 2014 when they made the decision to demolish Memorial.
According to Jonny Hipp, the CEO of the Nueces County Hospital District, the ultimate cost of replacing the hospital depended on the choice to demolish it. He mentioned that the two main buildings comprising Memorial have been in use for over 30 years and are considered to be no longer functional.
According to Hipp, taxpayers would have found it burdensome to support such a bond. In order to demolish the two buildings and construct a smaller, 150-bed hospital, the consideration of voters and a bond issue would have been necessary.
Dr. Osbert, the CEO and President of Spohn Christus, announced earlier this year that Shoreline Hospital would be relocated. The behavioral health unit, along with the last department in the facility, began remediation and demolition after being cleared. The demolition, which was originally scheduled for March 2020, was partly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On September 13th, Blow, the patient who recently left the hospital, mentioned that his most memorable clinical experience took place at Memorial Hospital. He described Monday’s ceremony as being more bitter than sweet.
Established in 2017 and, similar to Memorial, is located on Hospital Boulevard, the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center was constructed by Christus Spohn to compensate for the closure of the hospital. Hipp mentioned that there is currently a study in progress regarding the enlargement of that establishment and that it is “overflowing,” despite being a relatively new facility.
Following the demolition, the hospital’s area will transform into “green space,” which refers to a designated section of grass or trees intended for recreational or aesthetic use, as outlined in the plans presented to Nueces County commissioners in August by Christus Spohn.
Hipp stated that, because of a covenant on the premises, the property must be associated with healthcare, although the specific development on the property is still unknown.
“The future is still uncertain, but I believe it will be incredible,” Blow stated.
Barbara Canales, the Nueces County Judge, spoke at an event alongside Joe A. Gonzalez, the Commissioner of the county, where she voiced support for expanding the family center named after her great uncle, which includes the possibility of an educational institution for medical professionals in the area, focusing on adolescent mental health and intellectual disabilities.
“This site remains unchanging. It will always be designated for healthcare,” Canales stated. “The greatest is yet to come.”