TGMC turns 60: Local hospital a place for all stages, conditions of life

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Many people think of a hospital as a place to go when sick.

However, Terrebonne General Medical Center President and CEO Phyllis Peoples want to change that.

She wants the public of the Bayou Region to think of the 321-bed health care facility, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, as a place to go when well “to re-engage to promote that health and wellness so that you become a healthier adult.”

Starting at birth, with the only Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area allowing TGMC to deliver premature babies at two to three pounds, and moving forward from there.

The Super Cooper 5K is held every March, named after Cooper Fontenot who was born with a Congenital Heart Defect in 2004 and needed open-heart surgery when he was nine days old. This year’s run is March 28, and 100 percent of the proceeds go toward assisting families of children who must be admitted to TGMC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. For more information and to sign up, visit

“That money goes to those individuals who may not have a gas card, or you’re living away from home, you need to have a hotel,” Peoples said.

As children grow older, TGMC stays in their lives as it goes into the school system advocating education, prevention and care and teaching kids about nutrition from pre-school to 12th grade.

“We bring our chefs over there, all our nutrition. We have an exercise, health and sports performance guy who teaches the kids about that in grade school,” Peoples explained. “We are educating all the teachers on CPR training, and we’ve donated defibulators to all the schools in an effort to make sure our community is safe.”

For high school athletes in contact sports at all seven in Terrebonne Parish, all are given baseline tests prior to their season to help diagnose concussions if they receive one.

“They take the test that they took originally, and unless it looks identical to how it looked when they were not injured on the baseline, they don’t play, so we protect the kids in that way,” TGMC’s President and CEO said.

As children leave school, TGMC hopes newly-formed adults will take advantage of its health and performance specialists for race run and walk training. For those who have kept the athletic dream alive, the Workout 360 program more suited is for them.

Other wellness programs for adults include the diabetes and weight management programs, and they’ll even come to your workplace.

“When the public decides they need to lose weight and do health prevention, then we’re able to kind of make that a whole program,” Peoples explained. “We also go into the business industry and as they’re trying to advocate health in their companies and look at their health care costs and take accountability for their individual workers. We’re able to go in there and do some health care screenings and look at the information, and say 40 percent of your workforce may have high blood pressure. Twenty percent may be overweight, 10 percent has diabetes, and we also have an education and training and things to get them on track to try and get their health care costs back in line.”

TGMC’s Women’s Center and the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC are also included in the hospital’s seemingly countless number of services and programs it provides. Visit for the full list.

As for its cardiovascular services, Peoples said helping the heart has always been a major strength of Terrebonne General.

The medical center recently earned the Chest Pain Center accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care with 98 percent of heart attack patients receiving percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a process which maintain the blood supply so that there’s no damage or extended damage to the heart, within 52 minutes of arrival or less. The national average is 67 minutes.

“That is a particular area that we’re very well known for, pretty much world renowned, in the things that we can do here,” Peoples said. “We do state-of-the-art things, clinical trials. We do so many advanced things… Our interventional cardiologists are top notch, and they have been progressing in these research areas for multiple years.”

TGMC also recently received the Get With The Guidelines Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award by meeting quality achievement measures for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. Those measures include proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

For these reasons, and many more, TGMC was most recently named a Level One WellSpot – the only baby-delivering medical center in the state to earn the honor – for making an impactful commitment to wellness in its community.

TGMC also prides itself on being on the forefront of technological advances. That shows in many ways, including its implementation of the RightPatient Biometric Identification System. TGMC is the only medical center in the state with this eye-opening technology that allows for the swift recovery of personalized medical records.

“The possibility of getting to that record timely is sometimes difficult because there could be a whole bunch of Mr. Boudreaux’s,” Peoples said. “So when you come in, it takes a picture of your iris in your eye, and believe it or not, your iris is different than anybody else’s – even more identifiable than your fingerprint. Even in a set of twins, your irises are different…. It takes a picture of that so when you come in, if you’re registered and you’re on file, we can take a picture of your iris and immediately your medical record will come up.”

Peoples encourages the community to visit TGMC and get their iris scanned so if records need to be quickly found, they can be.

“We don’t want people to be scared of the hospital. They need to come not only when they’re sick but when they’re well,” she said. “Come and get healthy. Come to know who we are, and I mean in health care, not just Terrebonne General, and take responsibility for how you want to live through your lifetime.”

The strides TGMC has made – opening in 1954 with 76 beds and a staff of fewer than 80, compared to 321 beds and more than 1,350 local employees, the third largest employer in the parish – is important to Peoples, who pays tribute to the more than 30 families whose legacies in the medical field have been carried on by sons, daughters and grandchildren. The TGMC community believes that it is the families who are the catalyst that keep the institution running.

“I’m from here originally, so I will honor our past. I will never forget that,” she said. “While we continue to be a high technology, a high advanced organization for the future, that’s kind of our statement because it’s true. We honor our past while we shape our future.”

TGMC celebrated its 60th anniversary last year and is the third largest employer in Terrebonne Parish. The hospital has enjoyed massive growth, now boasting a 321-bed facility.