Patient Stories

Taking Care of Our Community

At Cox Barton County Hospital, we take pride in taking care of our community. Three of our patients have shared their experience at our hospital. Marilyn needed immediate care when she suddenly couldn’t speak. Lexa suffered major injuries from a car crash and needed extended care. And Timothy arrived at the Emergency Department with sudden leg pain, a fever and difficulty breathing, with no source of the quickly progressing illness. They chose Cox Barton County Hospital for quality care, close to home.

Marilyn and Robert Couch: The Care You Need Close to Home

May 2 was a typical Sunday morning for Robert Couch. He woke and started his morning routine – getting dressed, eating breakfast, and telling his wife, Marilyn, good morning. “I told her ‘I love you,’ and she responded, ‘I love you, too.’” Then he took his usual morning walk before retreating to his armchair. Robert heard the bedroom door open and turned to see Marilyn walking very slowly, using the walls for support. “She had an unsure face. I asked what was wrong, but she couldn’t speak.”

Robert took Marilyn directly to Cox Barton County Hospital, where she was admitted. Marilyn didn’t speak again until the next morning, but her speech was still very limited. After a CT scan and an MRI, doctors found two small blood clots in the part of her brain that control speech and language. By Wednesday, after three days of care and therapy, Marilyn was walking with little to no assistance, but her language skills were still hindered: while she could speak a little, she was unable to read or write.

Robert says having quality care close to home made all the difference. “If Cox Barton County Hospital hadn’t been nearby, we would have had to drive to Joplin or Springfield to get her the care she needed, and the damage could have been much worse.” Today, Marilyn sees a CoxHealth speech therapist about three times a week, and has regained about 40% of her speech. “And she’s still improving,” says Robert. “She still can’t read or write, but she can carry on a pretty good conversation now, thanks to her therapy. And my son and I are standing beside her, helping her improve.”

Lexa Martin: Smaller Town, Bigger Heart

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, Lexa Martin was returning home from a Model United Nations Conference in Chicago with other Missouri Southern State University students, when she sustained injuries in a crash. A semitrailer struck seven vehicles at high speed, including the car Lexa was in. “I had more than 15 broken bones,” Lexa says. “I spent about a month in a hospital in St. Louis, but I needed another place to go. I’m from Lamar, so I went to Cox Barton County Hospital because I wasn’t in a place where I could go home yet. I couldn’t take care of myself, and it wasn’t enough to have my family. I needed more professional help.”

Lexa spent about four months at Cox Barton County Hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries and extensive physical rehabilitation. Once released, she continued her physical therapy and wound change at CoxHealth. She says the staff became a family away from home. “I really enjoyed the staff there. There are really great nurses, and the other staff was there for me a lot. They were kind, and I’ve stayed in touch with many of them since.”

Lexa says, “They really care for you there. You know they’re going to take extra steps and do whatever’s necessary to get you the help you need. They have more of an emotional connection with their patients. There’s definitely a bond there that, in a bigger hospital, you just don’t get to have. There was more friendship and love there. I’m just really grateful for them.”

Lexa was discharged from Cox Barton County Hospital in late March 2018. When she went home, the staff held a parade for her. She continued to receive physical therapy through August 2018 and continues to have check-up appointments at the hospital, as needed. “It was a really terrible time and I’m not back to 100%, but I’m very thankful for those people in there.”

Timothy Miller: Very Kind Staff and Excellent Service

On Tuesday, August 15, 2020, Timothy Miller had tenderness in his leg. “It felt like a deep bruise, but there was nothing there.” By the next morning, he was running a fever, vomiting, struggling to breath and his leg was more tender and swollen. His wife drove him to the emergency department at Cox Barton County Hospital.

After a series of tests, the emergency department doctor admitted Timothy. His leg continued to worsen, developing a deep red rash at the site of his pain. Joshua Williams, MD, diagnosed him and began treatment for cellulitis.

Timothy says, “It was my first hospital stay, and I didn’t know what to expect. People talk about bad experiences at hospitals, but that’s just not what my stay at Cox was like. I wish I could remember everyone’s names to call them out and thank them, but they were all very kind and offered excellent service.” Timothy continues, “Even the kitchen was exceptional. You always hear bad things about hospital food. But the cafeteria staff was so great and the food was delicious. No complaints.”

Timothy had the same symptoms about six months later. “It was Wednesday night and I’d just finished preaching at church when I started to feel the same pain as before, but this time in my groin area. Within 15 minutes, I was running a fever and shaking.” Timothy again went to the Cox Barton County Hospital emergency department and was admitted. “I stayed at the hospital until Sunday morning and they took just as good care of me.”

“Cox Barton County Hospital is only 12 miles from my house, so that made getting the right care easy. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, my wife couldn’t stay at the hospital with me. If we hadn’t had a hospital in Lamar, it would have been hard for my wife to drive back and forth.” Instead, she was able to get to the hospital and back home quickly, which helped her to care for their three kids while Timothy got the care he needed.

Our patients can tell the story of their health care journeys best. Watch the videos below to learn more about some of our patients' incredible experiences. 

Cheryl's Story: Surgical Weight Loss

Janet's Hand Surgery

Patty's Hip Replacement

Gerry's Knee Replacement

Larry's Knee Replacement

Chad's Story: A Heart Attack at 39

Tom's Story: Surviving Prostate Cancer

Steve’s Story: Pursuing an Old Dream

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