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Carol Honeywell knows about the importance of a strong local hospital because she’s experienced it firsthand. Beginning in 1991 Carol and her late husband, Dr. Eugene Honeywell, dedicated their lives to the residents in Licking and the surrounding area where Dr. Honeywell provided patient care.
“In small towns there is a connection between patients and the staff that can’t be found anywhere else,” Carol said.“At TCMH they seem to care a little bit more about you because they know you.”
When Dr. Honeywell became a patient at TCMH, Carol and her family really began to understand how TCMH connects with patients.“I’m so glad we had a hospital locally,” Carol said, giving credit to all the hospital staff—from the cafeteria to the operating room—for providing exceptional service that she “never had to worry about.”The Honeywell family also appreciated how easy it was for their friends to drop by the local hospital and check on them.
“Everyone thinks bigger hospitals are better, but I wouldn’t trade a day we had at TCMH for all the days we had at bigger hospitals,” Carol said.“At TCMH, I always knew someone would come when I called.”
Carol is grateful to see the care of Dr. Honeywell’s patients at the Licking clinic continue through Dr. John Paulson.“A hospital in our area is a big necessity, and I’m so glad it was here when we needed it,” she said.
Omanez Fockler’s nursing career began at her community hospital—TCMH—in 1959. “Before the hospital was built, most people traveled to Waynesville over very crooked roads for their hospital care,” Omanez remembered. In those days, the county doctors did a little bit of everything—delivering babies in their offices and performing occasional surgeries, too. Because of time and distance some serious health issues didn’t make it to a hospital.
TCMH eased the time and distance for healthcare services when its doors opened in 1958. Omanez also remembers the “great surgery suite”—a one-room operating room—in the new hospital. She was at TCMH as a nurse when the surgery department was expanded and full-time general surgeons were added, too. Today, Omanez is excited to be part of building a new surgical department at TCMH.
“These new operating rooms will be equipped to handle the technology we have available today,” Omanez said, noting that the new department will help attract new surgeons and ancillary staff.“Just because we’re in rural America doesn’t mean we have to ‘make do’.The citizens of Texas County deserve to have the same things found in more urban areas.”
“This is a win-win for patients and for their families; excellent healthcare services are right here, easily accessible,” Omanez explained.“As I’ve gotten older, I realize even more how important it is to have TCMH here to not only provide my care but to make it easy for me and my husband to not have to travel and have the expenses associated with out of town care.”
If anyone knows Texas County, its people and its animals, Dr. IC Keeney, does. He’s lived in Texas County his whole life, and he spent 56 of those years in the county’s hills and hollows practicing veterinary medicine on animals large and small.
Even this veterinarian knows the importance of a hospital in rural America.“Anybody that comes to the area looking to live here asks about two things—hospital and schools,” Dr. Keeney said.“Having a hospital in the community provides more industry for the community and better teachers for our schools.”“We need to do whatever we can to improve our hospital,” Dr. Keeney said.“The better our hospital is, the more services can be provided and the better doctors we will have.And the doctors will stay longer, too.”
All of Dr. and Mrs. Keeney’s children were born at TCMH, and they are long-time supporters of the TCMH Hospice of Care. “We need this hospital in our community,” Dr. Keeney said. “It’s one of the best hospitals in the region.”
Wes and Stacy Davis moved back to Wes’ hometown of Cabool in 2003, and they are raising their three boys on the family farm.
Michael, age 10; Cody, age 6; and Justin, age 5, keep mom and dad busy with school and sports, and when healthcare needs arise, they rely on longtime local doctor, Steve Hawkins, MD and TCMH.
“As a mom, it is a blessing to have a hospital so close to our home,” Stacy said.With their physician’s recommendation, they have used TCMH for care for their family.
“It’s a rough situation to be in when your child is sick,” Wes explained, adding, “But we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and support we received at TCMH.”
The Davis family’s personal experience began with a friendly admissions clerk and comforting emergency room staff. A dietary aide made sure they had foods their son would eat.Dr. Hawkins drove to Houston on his lunch break to personally discharge his young patient.“This isn’t the type of treatment you receive in larger city hospitals,” Wes said.
“The nice thing about a small community and a local hospital is the way everyone really looks after your well being,” Stacy said.