By Lindsey Bertrand
This October, Debbye Wallace Dooley will mark 30 years at Hill Country Memorial Hospital.
At 56, she worked for all four of the organization’s CEOs, seen it grow from 180 employees to more than 600, and helped guide it to national prominence with the recognition of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2014.
For three decades, she’s worked to improve every aspect of patient care. And in 2013 she became a patient within the system herself.
“The symptoms were there,” she said. “I felt bloated and had back pain, but these are things women feel all the time.”
Throughout the summer of 2013, Dooley wore dresses while she ignored the persistent symptoms. In November, when the weather cooled, a simple wardrobe change made her realize something was wrong.
“One morning, I just couldn’t button a pair of pants,” she said.