- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Donna Hogge almost died at Mary Immaculate Hospital in 1991.

A grand mal seizure made her lose consciousness as emergency room doctors worked to save her life.

“They had to use the paddles on me,” Hogge said. “As soon as I was back on my feet, I came here to volunteer.”

Hogge is one of more than 300 volunteers at the Bon Secours hospital in northern Newport News. On Monday, she joined the founding nuns, retired employees, hospital administration and staff to celebrate the hospital’s 65th year providing care in Hampton Roads.

“I volunteer for the people here.” Hogge said. “This is really a neat place.”

In 1906, Dr. James Buxton established the first hospital in Newport News, Elizabeth Buxton Hospital. The 17-bed hospital grew to a 114-bed facility purchased by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters on May 1, 1952, and renamed Mary Immaculate Hospital, according to a news release.

“While Mary Immaculate has undergone significant changes over the past 65 years, our commitment to our mission has remained constant - to improve the overall health of the community we serve, mind, body and spirit,” said Sister David Ann Niski, executive director of Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation.

Mary Immaculate CEO Darlene Stephenson told a crowd gathered for the celebration that they were carrying on the spirit and work of the nuns who founded the hospital.

“When you walk in the hospital, you’re not just doing a job, you’re doing ministry,” Stephenson said. She also said she was also thankful to Newport News and the surrounding communities who have supported the hospital over the years.

Gloucester resident Dorinda Woodcock worked at the hospital for 49 years, moving with it from its original Newport News location to Denbigh in the early 1980s. She recalled how the hospital almost closed twice during its history in Hampton Roads.

“This was my home for 49 years,” Woodcock said. “The people who work here make this a special place of healing.”

Hampton resident Debbie Maples worked at the hospital for more than 25 years. She and Woodcock have attended a few of the hospital’s birthday celebrations. Both said they come back to honor an employer that treated them well.

“Being a faith-based hospital really makes this place different from other hospitals,” Maples said. “People really got a kick out of the nuns making the rounds.”

In 1996, the hospital became part of the Bon Secours Health System, the fourth largest and Virginia’s only faith-based hospital system. The nonprofit Catholic organization employs almost 12,500 people statewide, according to a news release.

During Monday’s celebration, many hospital staff members stopped by to have a Bernardine Franciscan bless their hands and work.

“We want our community to be healthy and plan to be around many, many more years to make it happen,” Stephenson said.

Canty can be reached by phone at 757-247-4832.

Some Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital firsts in the community:

In 1952, the hospital integrated patient rooms.

In 1971, the hospital offered natural childbirth classes and allow fathers in the delivery room.

In 1973, the hospital introduced kidney dialysis services.

In 1980, the hospital offered private rooms.

In 1988, the ear, nose and throat physicians offered computerized digital hearing aids.

In 1990, those same physicians offered bone-anchored hearing aids.

In 2006, orthopedic surgeons at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate performed the region’s first Jiffy Hip procedures, using an anterior approach to hip replacements.

In 2012, orthopedic surgeons introduced another first, using a robotic surgical system to perform knee replacements.

Source: Bon Secours Hampton Roads


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