Trinity Hospital celebrates 60 years

After 43 years, Trinity Hos­pital’s only remaining sister still makes sure to visit every patient she can at the hospital.

“People ask for her all the time,” said Frankie May, the hospital’s director of pastoral care. “She extends the work of Christ through health care.”

As the last faith-based hospital in Augusta, Trinity celebrated its 60th anniversary Friday with live music and lots of food. The staff also surprised Sister Clara Vincent with cupcakes for her 84th birthday.

Trinity, formerly St. Joseph, a Catholic hospital, now encompasses all faiths and has people on hand to cater to any spiritual needs, May said.

“The staff is highly encouraged to pray with the patients,” said president and CEO Jason Studley. “Deep down, all of us have some sort of faith.”

Studley said being the last faith-based hospital in Augusta 60 years later is a testament to the relevance of having a place where people seeking that environment can have their needs met. He said even though they are facing a doctor shortage because of what is happening with health care reform, it is not hard for Trinity to find doctors who want to work for a religious hospital.

“Actually it’s the opposite,” he said. “It’s our best-selling piece with the physicians. They see it as an enlacement for them to be able to share that experience with the patient.”

Looking to the future, Studley said Trinity is working on expanding its women’s health program, among other projects.

Dr. Venkatesan Gorantla joined the hospital as a newborn specialist at the end of October. He said he was looking to get into a warmer climate (he moved from Cincinnati) and said working for a faith-based hospital was not something he sought, but something he appreciated.

“They are pro-lifers, which is what I am because I take care of newborns,” he said.

Trinity’s medical director of the Wound Healing Center, Dr. Andrew Van Alstine, said most of his five children were born at Trinity. He said he appreciates the smaller hospital atmosphere, where the multidisciplinary approach is encouraged and made easy.

“The medical care is impeccable,” he said.

Studley said celebrating the hospital’s 60 years shows the partnership with Augusta is strong.

“We have a great history together,” he said.

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