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BCH nurse retires after 48-year career
BARSTOW • After 48 years of service at Barstow Community Hospital, Florence Cook has spent the past four months taking care of her husband Louis, who suffers from cancer.
Cook, 74, has spent most of her retired life spending time with her husband at the City of Hope medical center, located in Duarte.
Cook has spent the last 40 years as the manager of the obstetrics department at BCH, before retiring in May. Over those 40 years, Cook said she has established wonderful relationships with co-workers and patients.
“I always enjoyed working there; every day was a different day,” Cook said. “I loved the labor and delivery department because you never knew what was going to come through the door. I have even delivered three generations of babies to several families.”
According to Cook, the most notable patients she helped care for was Baby Fae.
Baby Fae was born at Barstow Community Hospital in 1984 and was the first infant to receive the heart of a baboon. Baby Fae died 20 days after her body began to reject the heart.
But even though Cook misses the relationships with patients and the camaraderie with those she worked with, she is enjoying the new chapter of her life. Although the Cooks have yet to take a vacation this year, a trip to Wyoming and New Mexico is planned for 2014 to visit their family.
Cook is a mother of four and has seven grandchildren.
Cook graduated from St. Mary Corwin Nursing School in Colorado in 1959. A year after graduating, Cook got married and later moved to Barstow because her husband was stationed at the Marine Corps Logistics Base.
A little over 50 years later, Cook was recognized by the city of Barstow, as Sept. 25 was designated as Florence Cook Day.
Cook was honored at a dinner on Sept. 28 for her years of service and was presented a proclamation by city of Barstow mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre.
“With nearly 50 years of dedication to the Barstow community, Florence Cook epitomizes what a community hospital is all about — committed staff providing compassionate care to family, friends and neighbors,” said John Rader, BCH spokesperson.
Although retired, Cook said her tenure at BCH is still not over. She’s been volunteering time as a BCH Auxiliary member.
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.