William Beaumont Army Medical Center

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William Beaumont Army Medical Center
Wbamc-crest.png
Active 2 July 1921 – present
Country United States
Allegiance United States
Branch United States Army
Type Hospital
Role Inpatient and Outpatient Services
Graduate Medical Education
Level III Trauma Center
Size over 150 beds
Garrison/HQ Fort Bliss
Motto(s) "First to Care”
Commanders
Current
commander
COL Erik Rude[1]
Notable
commanders
Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Charles C. Pixley
William Beaumont Army Medical Center
20ppx
WBArmyMedCenter.jpg
Geography
Location 5005 North Piedras St., El Paso, Texas, United States
Coordinates 31°49′18″N 106°27′44″W / 31.8216°N 106.4623°W / 31.8216; -106.4623Coordinates: 31°49′18″N 106°27′44″W / 31.8216°N 106.4623°W / 31.8216; -106.4623
Organization
Care system Military
Hospital type General
Affiliated university Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
Services
Emergency department Level III Trauma Center
History
Founded 1850's
Links
Website www.wbamc.amedd.army.mil
Lists Hospitals in Texas
Fort Bliss Post Hospital constructed in 1893
World War II temporary buildings, 1959
WBAMC lies at the foot of the Franklin Mountains, adjacent to El Paso's Summit Place neighborhood.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center is a Department of Defense medical facility located in El Paso, Texas. It provides comprehensive care to all beneficiaries including active duty military, their family members, and retirees. The hospital is located in the Central/Northeastern part of El Paso. At present, WBAMC is the closest hospital to the Northeast, and provides billable emergency room services for Northeast El Paso. The hospital itself is very large, and contains a rather sizable Veterans Affairs Office for former military members who are in need of medical treatment.

Today[edit]

The Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital complex held a dry-in ceremony 12 July 2017.[2] A dry-in is a construction milestone which signals that weather-sensitive construction can begin in the interior of the hospital. The new hospital complex will be on East Fort Bliss.

The William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) is one of the many health care institutions affiliated with the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine which is also located in El Paso, Texas.[3] WBAMC is also a participating hospital for medical residents from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), Bethesda, MD. The current commander of WBAMC is Colonel Erik Rude.

History[edit]

WBAMC is named for Army surgeon William Beaumont (1785-1853), the "Father of Gastric Physiology".[4]

The buildings from the "Old Fort Bliss" to include the Fort Bliss Fort Hospital (1893) were added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1972.[5]

The William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), formerly the William Beaumont General Hospital (WBGH), is situated northwest of Fort Bliss’ main cantonment area, between Fred Wilson Road and Hayes Avenue. The hospital has its beginnings in Fort Bliss during the 1850s. After several earlier moves, Fort Bliss moved to its permanent location at Lanoria Mesa in 1893 and Building 8 (now the Fort Bliss Inspector General's Office) became the hospital. In 1916, the hospital moved to Building 1 (presently the Fort Bliss Directorate of Resource Management).

The construction of WBGH’s 48 buildings in 1920-21 signaled the beginning of Fort Bliss’s role as a major military medical center. WBGH was one of the Army's five original general hospitals. Over the next two decades WBGH served as both Fort Bliss’s station hospital and as a general hospital for the western portion of the Army’s 8th Service Command. The hospital made of tile and stucco opened July 2, 1921, with a bed capacity for 403 patients.On staff were six medical officers, two nurses and 30 medical corpsmen. WBGH's original mision was to provide general medical care to border patrol troops stationed at Fort Bliss. By the 1930s, however, the hospital was serving the entire western portion of the Army's Eighth Corps area, providing health care to soldiers stationed at posts in Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.[6]

During World War II, WBGH expanded to include 174 buildings and a crowded 4,064 beds. This included the 1,000 beds at Building 1 and another 750 beds at Biggs Air Force Base, now Biggs Army Air Field. Its capabilities also expanded as the hospital began providing specialized medical care to wounded soldiers returning from all theaters of the war. In December 1943, the plastic surgery clinic was opened.

During early 1945, approximately 6,000 inpatients were treated. In addition, a military school for medical technicians offered specialized training in surgical, dental, laboratory, X-ray, pharmacy, and veterinary procedures. The hospital had a fully equipped physical therapy and occupational therapy center. Also, the artificial eye clinic was opened. Later, the hospital expanded into a neuro-psychiatric treatment and orthopedic surgery center. Following the war, WBGH continued to serve the medical needs of Fort Bliss and surrounding military installations until the Army’s needs outgrew the capacity of the hospital. During the war, the William Beaumont General Hospital trained approximately 16,000 medical technicians, including over a thousand WAC recruits. The hospital also became a specialty center for plastic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, neuropsychiatry, and deep radiation therapy. In the last year of the war alone, some 26,358 patients received medical treatment at the hospital.[6]

William Beaumont General Hospital was one of only ten, of the Army's sixty-three, general hospitals retained after World War II. Besides providing medical care to returning wounded soldiers during the conflicts in both Korea and Vietnam, the hospital also provided general medicine and surgical services to veterans and personnel at Fort Bliss and other regional military installations.[6]

Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Charles C. Pixley, the hospital commander from September 1975 through December 1976, was promoted to lieutenant general in 1977 and became the Surgeon General of the Army.

In 1969, the Army began construction of a new, 12-story hospital to the west of the WBGH area. Completed in 1972, the new facility became known as the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Although designed for 611 beds, by the early 1980s the hospital had a capacity of 463. The Omar N. Bradley building, an addition to the west-side of the main hospital, was opened in 1982. This facility provides an additional 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of clinical and administrative space. Today, the hospital has a bed capacity for more than 150 patients. However, during contingencies, the hospital can expand for 373 patients. As the Southwest’s major regional Army medical center, this modern facility now provides medical care to active and retired military personnel and their dependents in the three-state region of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

November 1995, WBAMC became one of the largest buildings in El Paso with another 254,000 square feet (23,600 m2) of floor space for the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center. Now, the WBAMC complex has more than one million square feet of floor space for patient care and administrative duties.[7]

Commanding Officers[edit]

Dates Name
Jul 1921 – Sep 1922 COL William R. Eastman
Sep 1922 – May 1927 COL M. A. W. Shockley
May 1927 – Apr 1928 COL Reuben Miller
Apr 1928 – Jul 1931 COL William H. Moncrief
Jul 1931 – May 1937 COL Henry F. Pipes
May 1937 – Sep 1945 COL George M. Edwards
Oct 1945 – Nov 1948 COL George W. Reyer
Nov 1948 – Sep 1951 COL James E. Yarbrough
Sep 1951 – Nov 1952 COL Walter C. Royals
Jan 1953 – Apr 1957 COL Abner Zehm
May 1957 – Sep 1958 BG L. Holmes Ginn Jr.
Sep 1958 – Dec 1960 BG Clinton S. Lyter
Dec 1960 – Mar 1965 BG James B. Stapleton
Mar 1965 – Mar 1966 MG Robert E. Blount
Mar 1966 – Aug 1967 BG Frederick J. Hughes Jr.
Aug 1967 – Jul 1968 BG James A. Wier
Jul 1968 – Jul 1970 MG Kenneth D. Orr
Jul 1970 – Aug 1975 BG Robert M. Hardaway III
Sep 1975 – Dec 1976 MG Charles C. Pixley, Later became Surgeon General of the Army
Dec 1976 – Jun 1979 MG Raymond H. Bishop Jr.
Jul 1979 – Jul 1980 BG Kenneth A. Cass
Aug 1980 – Nov 1982 BG Chester L. Ward
Jan 1983 – Jul 1986 BG John E. Major
Jul 1986 – Sep 1988 BG Richard D. Cameron
Sep 1988 – Jul 1991 BG Richard Proctor
Jul 1991 – Jan 1992 COL Preston B. Cannady
Jan 1992 – Dec 1994 BG James J. James
Dec 1994 – Jul 1995 COL Thomas J. Scully
Jul 1995 – Mar 1997 BG Ogden Dewitt
Mar 1997 – Mar 1998 BG Nancy R. Adams
Mar 1998 – Jul 2000 COL David B. Crandall
Jul 2000 – Jul 2002 COL Carla G. Hawley – Bowland, first female Medical Corps general officer in the U.S. Army
Jul 2002 – Jul 2004 COL Glenn W. Mitchell
Jul 2004 – Jul 2006 COL James J. Leech
Jul 2006 – May 2008 COL John Powell
COL Michael S. Heimall
– Jul 2017 COL John A. Smyrski III[1]
Jul 2017 – COL Erik Rude[1]

New Facility[edit]

The new WBAMC facility remains under construction with target completion date of 2019.[8]

Unit Insignia[edit]

The design of the WBAMC unit insignia symbolizes some of the highlights of the medical career of Dr. William Beaumont, the Center's namesake. The colors white and maroon are traditional to the US Army Medical Department and the maltese cross comes from the Knights Hospitallers of medieval times as a symbol of the medical profession. The fleur-de-lis pointing north refers to Dr. Beaumont's assignment in 1820 to the Northern Michigan outpost of Fort Mackinac and to the young French-Canadian whom he treated there for a stomach wound which never closed, presenting Beaumont with a window through which he could study the workings of the human stomach; this incident is symbolized by the circular window at center of the cross, and the worldwide acclaim he received for his work is signified by the gold rays of the background. The Center's location in El Paso, Texas is symbolized by the vertical arm of the cross passing between the stylized mountains (in reference to the English translation of El Paso as "the pass") and terminating upon the blue wave which represents the Rio Grande.[9]

Awards[edit]

  • WBAMC was recognized as the first Military Treatment Facility (MTF) in the state of Texas to be qualified for the Immunization Action Coalition’s (IAC) Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll.[10]
  • WBAMC was recognized as an Army Safety and Occupational Health Star site, becoming the first Army Medical Center in the Continental United States to receive the title.[11]
  • WBAMC weight-loss surgery service designated as a Center of Excellence [12]

Famous Patients[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

This article contains information that originally came from US Government publications and websites and is in the public domain.