NOON ON OCT. 2, 2002, a phone call
was placed to CHRISTUS St. Mary
Hospital CEO Alice Baker by the Port Arthur fire chief, informing
her of the latest coordinates and potential path of Hurricane Lili.
He provided details of the fire and police departments’ evacuation
plans and proceeded to explain the risks associated with “riding
out” a direct hit from Lili, which was a dangerous, category-five
A critical decision was made to initiate
a complete evacuation of the hospital’s
patients and to close the facility in the wake of the hurricane, a feat that
had never occurred in the history of CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital. With evacuation
efforts in full swing, Alice made rounds later that afternoon. She found a full
house of patients and a frantic skeleton crew of nurses attempting
what appeared to be impossible. After making a thoughtful and prayerful assessment,
Alice called a meeting with the hospital’s management team to convey her
What we saw in the eyes of our leader that day
was a magical blend of fear, frustration, determination and commitment
a daunting task.
At once, her message
inspired a team of Associates who collectively portrayed the true meaning of
stewardship and dedication. This team consisted of virtually every department
in the hospital, including both clinical and nonclinical staff, working as
a team with one common goal.
Before nightfall, more than 65 CHRISTUS
St. Mary patients needed to be safely dressed, discharged, transported,
or placed on tour buses, helicopters or a
convoy of EMS vehicles for what became a countywide evacuation. After three
chaotic hours, the last patient was transported via helicopter to a safe
destination, and CHRISTUS St. Mary locked its doors. Miracle or
not, the efforts of this
team exemplified true CHRISTUS spirit and the awesome capabilities of many
working as one.
CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital