Gisela, Rutledge celebrate new hospital
Last updated 1/30/2024 at 7:32pm
Philanthropist Gisela Houseman and Dr. Marty Rutledge took the center of attention Tuesday afternoon as the helped cut the ribbon for Orange's first hospital in seven years.
The two were crucial in getting the new, 24-hour hospital built and operating on what is now called the Gisela Houseman Medical Campus, which includes a professional building. Dr. Rutledge is an Orange native with a longtime general family medical practice here.
The 55,000 square foot hospital is operated by Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont and is located on 20 acres of Eagle Point development off Interstate 10 at Texas Highway 62.
The hospital has a 24-hour emergency room plus in-patient rooms, along with a full laboratory and services like CT scans, MRI, ultrasound, and 3D mammograms. Several specialists and specialist clinics have already moved into the professional building at the site, including Dr. Rutledge.
Dr. Rutledge worked to get the hospital plans going after Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas announced in late 2016 that the hospital would close its emergency room in January 2017.
Baptist had the former Orange Memorial Hospital on Strickland Drive since the county sold it in 1988. In May 2013, the hospital quit delivering babies and providing obstetrics because of a loss of income. Then two years later, Baptist closed the 112-room in-patient services.
Still, Baptist kept its emergency room open, but that ended seven years ago. Since then, the county had only privately-owned, free-standing emergency clinics serving people. Ambulance service required an emergency patient be taken to a hospital with in-patient rooms, so local emergency patients had to be transported to Beaumont or Port Arthur.
A group of citizens worried about the lack of a local hospital, tried to form a special hospital district with taxing powers. However, the election in 2016 failed by a large margin as local voters didn't want to pay more property taxes, even to support a hospital.
Houseman, who owns the Houseman Companies, donated the land at Eagle Point, which had been designed for commercial development, and has helped with the Houseman Foundation.
The city of Orange's Economic Development Corporation also assisted by paying for an entryway and drives into the property. The city EDC also financed the construction of water and sewer services to the acreage and even built a new water plant and storage tower nearby.
Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr., along with Orange County Judge John Gothia, Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce President Ida Schossow, and other dignitaries attended the ceremony, which was festooned with purple balloons and purple curtain backgrounds.