New hospital here thanks to many

DR. CRAIG COCCIA

As our new hospital opens its doors, I want to take this opportunity to thank those who built the hospital system. We are all grateful to Lifepoint for its financial investment in the facility and our community. But a building is merely steel frame and walls, it is the people who are the heart of an institution and deserve our gratitude. This hospital was built by and will always be there for our community.

In 1973 foresighted community members led the merger of St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s to form Marquette General Hospital that has now evolved into the current UP Health System. U.P. natives led the hospital and encouraged young physicians with U.P. ties to return. These pioneering physicians also attracted others from around the world to practice in the U.P. Many and actually most of these still call Marquette their home and are our friends and neighbors. State of the art programs were developed in cardiac, cancer, neurological, trauma, surgical, medical, neonatal and obstetrics, and joint care.

These programs did not develop in a vacuum or with physician effort alone. The community worked and willed them into existence. Volunteers served countless hours on the hospital board pushing a vision and mission for care otherwise not available in the UP. Nurses, Certified Therapists and Technicians, Physician Assistants and Advance Practiced Nurses along with thousands of other team members delivered the care day and night over decades. Dietary, Housekeeping and Maintenance staff worked diligently to ensure the facility would function at its best. Volunteers assisted patients and raised funds for patient programs.

Long before the Beacon House hosted out of town patients for extended care related stays, community members opened their homes to patients and families looking for shelter while seeking care miles from home. We cannot forget the skilled tradesmen and women who literally raised the new complex out of the dust. The list can go on indefinitely and I have most certainly missed some essential roles that built our system.

This is our community’s hospital built by you and your neighbors. Regardless of the name overhead it will always belong to the people of the U.P. and be there to care for you. Those of us privileged to work in the new facility and those of us with family members receiving care in the system want to express our gratitude to those who preceded us.

Thank you — You built this.

Craig Coccia is a Neurosurgeon and Chief of Staff at UP Health System-Marquette.