Corpus Christi – This summer, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System celebrates 113 years of providing high-quality and compassionate health care for the people of the Coastal Bend.

Through those years, countless residents have given birth to their children in a Spohn hospital; taken their loved ones in for a surgery; and shared laughter and tears with benevolent nurses and doctors by their side.

“CHRISTUS Spohn is honored to have been a part of the fabric of this community for more than a century, offering care, providing jobs and investing in the growth of South Texas,” said Thomas McKinney, President of CHRSTUS Spohn Hospitals Alice and Kleberg.

The original vision of Dr. Arthur E. Spohn and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston has grown from humble beginnings on North Beach, to encompassing five hospitals, five clinics and nearly 3,000 Associates serving a 12-county region in South Texas.

It all began on July 26, 1905, when the very first Spohn Hospital opened on North Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were there to greet and care for the first patient.  

The hospital was a partnership with Dr. Arthur Edward Spohn, who had the vision to build a comprehensive medical facility where he could care for the 7,000 residents who called the growing city of Corpus Christi home.

Without the first three Sisters who came to manage and serve in the new hospital, Dr. Spohn’s vision might have remained only a dream.  But thankfully, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston answered God’s call and responded to Dr. Spohn by agreeing to operate the hospital.

During those first years, the Sisters did it all - caring for the sick and injured, cooking and cleaning, and living in the hospital.  They even gave their lives caring for the residents of Corpus Christi during a deadly yellow fever outbreak, and in the devastating hurricane of 1919.

“It has always been and will always be about validating the dignity of every human person we are privileged to serve,” said Steve Kazanjian, Vice President of Mission Integration.

“Every patient who comes to us in need is a brother or sister made in the image and likeness of God. Regardless of who people are, or what they believe, we will serve them and work to heal them.”

The Sisters prevailed through many hardships to fulfill their mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and to care for the poor and underserved. It’s a mission that has continued for the past 113 years that the nurses, doctors and Associates at CHRISTUS Spohn remain committed to.

“We are proud to have called Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend home for the past 113 years as we continue to provide compassionate and expert care for our friends and neighbors,” said Justin Doss, CEO of CHRISTUS Spohn Health System. “It’s a mission that we are committed to providing for the next 100 years and beyond.”

In 1985, Spohn Health System answered a call for assistance and acquired Kleberg County Hospital in Kingsville; and two years later, it assumed operation of Memorial Medical Center in a lease agreement with the Nueces County Hospital District. In 1996, the System acquired Bee County Hospital bringing healthcare close to home for residents in Live Oak and Bee County.

In 1999, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston combined their health ministries, renaming it CHRISTUS Health, making it the largest Catholic health care system in the nation. Spohn Health System became CHRISTUS Spohn Health System. A new hospital in Alice, Texas, was opened that same year under the new “CHRISTUS” banner.

In that time, CHRISTUS Spohn has proven over its 113 year history that it is a health care leader in the areas of many innovative solutions including the first open heart surgery in the region; developing the first nursing school and a robust physician residency program.

Now, CHRISTUS Spohn is paving the way for the next century of health care in South Texas with an unprecedented $335 million investment in the community including the new Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center, and the new nine-story Shoreline Patient Care Tower.

The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center is a comprehensive medical facility, which honors the city’s famous civil rights champion, and currently fills more than 4,000 prescriptions a month and serves more than 2,000 patients. The Shoreline Patient Care Tower is slated to open in spring 2019, and will be an ultramodern facility unlike anything ever built in the region, adding dozens of new ICU and emergency room beds to the community, and housing the cutting-edge medical technology and treatments under one roof. CHRISTUS Spohn leaders say it is an exciting time for the health and wellness of the community, as the health system continues to grow as a medical care leader.