It was built in 1958 and served the community very well. But 46 years later, the people in Lamesa have decided their little hospital needs more than a facelift, it's time to rebuild and meet the needs of a thriving medical center.
"We're about 80 miles from Lubbock, about 45 miles from Big Spring, and about 80 miles from Midland-Odessa. And if you have a tractor trailer run over you, you don't want to wait that long. We see about 600 patients a month through our little ER. That's almost unheard of not being on the interstate," says Charles Butts, administrator of Medical Arts Hospital in Lamesa.
That's why the voters here overwhelmingly approved a $14 million bond issue to give up the old hospital and build a new one. Now, as the designers pull together an impressive plan, the next issue on the ballot will likely be to create a Dawson County Hospital District.
It's an exciting time for the Lamesa medical community. One of the folks on that hospital board is Dr. Griengsak Chowpaknam, but everybody calls him Dr.Chow. He's from Thailand, and he admits starting a practice in Lamesa was a real culture shock.
"When I first come to this town, I remember I see a gentlemen, a farmer, and I don't know Texas that well. The people here love to wear hats and cowboy boots, which this gentlemen had in his late 70's. He come into the office and his leg was swelling. It takes us about 15 minutes before I can take his boot off. I'm surprised at how he can get his boots on his foot before he come into the office. And since then, I believe that Texas is cowboy hats and cowboy boots," says Dr. Chow.