Hospital Week: A Tribute to Texas Hospitals

For over 100 years, Hospital Week recognizes the tremendous impact hospitals and health systems have on patients, families and communities. This week, THA is honoring its members by highlighting some of our favorite heartwarming stories from Texas hospitals from the past year.


Since its founding in 1930, THA joined the American Hospital Association and other state hospital associations to recognize our hospitals, health care workers and the tremendous roles they play in our communities during National Hospital Week.

The genesis of Hospital Week began in 1921, when a group of medical professionals wanted to raise public awareness about the important role of hospitals. On May 12, 1921 – Florence Nightingale’s birthday–the first Hospital Day was celebrated.

In 1953, the AHA expanded Hospital Day into Hospital Week to promote the importance of hospitals and the services they provide to their communities.

Now, over 100 years later, the importance of hospitals remains salient. We asked Texas hospital executives, health care providers, patients, lawmakers and community members why they loved Texas hospitals. Read their responses here.

To celebrate the remarkable, life-saving work of our members, here are some of our favorite stories from Texas hospitals over the past year.

Why Texans Love Texas Hospitals

We asked Texas hospital executives, clinicians, health care providers, patients, lawmakers and community members why they love Texas hospitals. Here’s what they said:

New Nurse Honor Guard Commemorates Deceased Fellow Nurses in East Texas

Nurse Honor Guard Founding Mothers

Photo courtesy of CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

In February, the CHRISTUS Northeast Texas Nurse Honor Guard was created to perform a final tribute during funeral and memorial services for deceased nurses. Their mission: To honor nursing colleagues who have died and to provide comfort to their families by reading the Nightingale tribute at their services.

“We liken the service to that of a military tribute, where we officially release the nurse from their nursing duties,” said Anitha Sanderson, chief nursing officer at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs, and one of the founding members of the new Northeast Texas Nurse Honor Guard.

Membership in the Honor Guard is open to all active or retired registered nurses or licensed vocational nurses in Texas. Currently, there are 168 members in the Northeast Texas Nurse Honor Guard, with more than 30 nurses committed to participate in memorial services in the following counties: Hopkins, Delta, Wood, Rains, Franklin, Lamar, Cass, Fannin, Camp, Titus and Upshur.

The Honor Guard can be requested by funeral homes or families who would like a final tribute made to their loved ones’ career in service to others. For those interested in the Northeast Texas Nurse Honor Guard, call 903/439-4049 or email [email protected].

Transplant Doctor and Kidney Donor Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to Support Organ Donation

University Health Transplant Institute administrator Jennifer Milton and Kelley HItchman with flag
Dr. Kelley Hitchman and team summit Mt. Kilimanjaro with University Health sign

Photos courtesy of University Health

In March, after seven days and a challenging climb to 20,000 feet, Kelley Hitchman, Ph.D, from the University Health Transplant Institute, and 11 other kidney donor athletes summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness for organ donation.

In 2021, Dr. Hitchman, director of the lab that matches organ donors with organ recipients, gave one of her own kidneys to someone she’d never met. She simply knew there was a tremendous need. Now, as part of this international group, she is helping raise awareness about the need for organ donors who can live active lives after giving a second chance to others.

12-Year-Old Boy Saves Mother from Stroke

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center - Isiah
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center - Mother and Son

Photos courtesy of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

When a Grand Prairie woman suffered a stroke while working from home, her 12-year-old son came to her rescue.

Stephanie Subia and her son, Isaiah, were the only ones at home when Stephanie felt a strange sensation and suddenly fell, unable to speak. Isaiah quickly called 911 and rode with his mother in the ambulance, describing her symptoms to the medics who drove her to emergency department at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center – the only Advanced Primary Stroke Center in the Mansfield area.

“Isiah was so brave through this entire thing,” says Rachel Cochran, BSN, RN, nurse manager for the Neuro Trauma ICU and the stroke program. “He did a great job in clearly communicating the events that he witnessed in a very stressful situation.”

After a 10-day stay at the hospital, Stephanie was able to return home to her family.

Isaiah’s bravery was honored by Juan Fresquez, president of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and Cochran during the organization’s Great Awards ceremony last year.

Hospital’s Weight Loss Challenges Inspires Community to Create Healthy, Sustainable Habits

Photo courtesy of Titus Regional Medical Center

This year, the TitusFit Wellness Center’s annual Pounds Down Challenge helped 30 members of the Mt. Pleasant community lose a remarkable combined weight of 324 pounds in six weeks. The competition, hosted in collaboration with Titus Regional Medical Center, offers wellness center members 30 hours of complimentary training sessions with round-the-clock support and guidance to prioritize long-term wellness.

Beyond the impressive numbers on the scale, the challenge fostered a significant lifestyle shift and sense of camaraderie for participants. The 2024 champion, Kirsty Crooks, said, “This competition has built my confidence, and I can’t wait to continue the journey!”

TRMC’s collaboration with TitusFIT exemplifies the organization’s commitment to community well-being, guided by its mission “to lead the transformation for healthier tomorrows in our community.”

Learn more about the TitusFit Pounds Down Challenge here.

Mother and Son Undergo Heart Transplants with Same Doctor

St. Luke's Hospital Week - Roberto DeJesus Perales

Photo courtesy of Baylor St. Luke’s

Roberto DeJesus Perales experienced severe heart problems at age 23, which led to his first heart transplant in 2016. A few years later, his mother, Maricela Garcia, also faced similar health issues due to a rare genetic condition known as Danon disease, which both she and Roberto inherited. This condition often leads to heart failure and required Maricela to undergo a heart transplant shortly after her son.

In 2023, Roberto, now 30, faced heart complications once again, indicating the need for a second heart transplant. He expressed a strong preference for Dr. Gabriel Loor, the surgeon who had previously performed his mother's transplant. On November 17, 2023, Dr. Loor, assisted by Dr. Kenneth Liao, successfully conducted Roberto's second heart transplant at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston.

Roberto’s recovery was rapid. Within two days, he was active and optimistic about his future. He was eager to return to his job, continue playing soccer, and resume his hobby as a DJ. This positive outcome followed months of medical management, including the use of a balloon pump to support his heart function while waiting for a suitable donor heart.

Throughout this experience, Roberto remained grateful for the medical care he received and mindful of the precious donor gift he had received. His faith played a significant role in his attitude and recovery, reinforcing his resilience and gratitude towards the medical team at Baylor St. Luke’s.

Read the full story from Baylor St. Luke’s here.

47 Physician Residents Join DHR Health’s Inaugural Graduate Medical Education Class

Physician looks at patient chart
Dr. Rafael Cardenas Castillo
Dr. Bravo

Photos courtesy of DHR Health

Last year, DHR Health, an ACGME-accredited sponsoring institution, proudly welcomed an impressive 47 physician residents as part of the of the inaugural class of its Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs. The residents are recent graduates of medical schools from across the nation (and even some from overseas) who will continue their medical training in various specialties as physicians under supervised practice before they graduate and acquire unrestricted medical licenses. The new physicians represent DHR Health's commitment to excellence in patient care, medical education, and the advancement of healthcare services in the region.

As part of the GME program, residents work under the mentorship of DHR Health’s esteemed physicians from several medical specialties and subspecialties, including: Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Urology, Diagnostic Radiology, Family Medicine, and Emergency Medicine.

The residents themselves come from across the globe and represent a wide range of backgrounds. Dr. Rafael Cardenas Castillo, an Internal Medicine resident from Venezuela, is new to the Rio Grande Valley and looking forward to making it his home. “Already, the Valley looks like a great place to start a family,” said Castillo. “It is very family-oriented, and everyone is very welcoming, from the management and staff at DHR Health to the people we meet in the community.”

Blood Services and Cardiologists Join Forces to Save Children Born with Heart Defects

Dr. Abarbanell checks up on Theo Langer and his parents

Photo courtesy of University Health

When Theo Langer was born, doctors discovered a serious heart defect that would require surgery and transfusions. His parents were scared.

They learned, however, that University Health’s pediatric heart surgeons had been working with Blood Services to further refine a type of whole blood pioneered with the help of the health system’s trauma team.

Blood Services meticulously identified volunteers who could donate O positive blood that did not contain the antibodies that could cause complications for children needing heart surgery.

Theo Langer is among more than 150 children who have recovered more quickly and completely since Nov. 2021 because of the specially created Have a Heart Blood Donors program.

At a reunion of patient families with the volunteer blood donors, Theo’s mom was overwhelmed.

“Someone in that room gave life-saving blood to my son,” Jamie Langer said. “It was like a full circle when you actually got to meet and greet and shake hands with people who are doing something that is so life-saving.”

THA’s THAnk You Card to Texas Hospitals

THA’s THAnk You Card to Texas Hospitals

THA recognizes that hospitals strengthen our communities and serve as the foundation for Texas health care. THA staff signed a special Hospital Week thank-you card to all our hospitals and health care workers.

From all of us at THA, thank you and Happy Hospital Week!

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