Desert Regional Medical Center Welcomes 101-Year Young Doris Howard back to Palm Springs Where Her Nursing Career Began 78 Years Ago

May 14, 2021
doris howardPALM SPRINGS, Calif. May 14, 2021 – Doris Howard stepped off the train at the Palm Springs station in 1942, ready to start her new career as a nurse. She and her fellow nurses couldn’t even initially locate a pay phone to ask for a ride to the hospital. That was the beginning of a yearlong adventure in the desert for Doris.

Doris was the seventh nurse brought in to convert the former El Mirador Hotel into the Military’s Tourney General Hospital. This 1,300 bed hospital would treat wounded U.S. soldiers until the end of the war, in 1945.

Doris was initially assigned to work on the USS Comfort in 1942, but was assigned her tour in the desert while the ship was being converted in San Pedro. Doris stayed in Palm Springs and worked at the Tourney Hospital until 1943, when she accepted a new assignment with the military, at Camp Stoneman in the Bay Area. Eventually, Doris’s posts would take her service all over the world.

This week, Doris is returning to Palm Springs, and Desert Regional Medical Center, the site of the original El Mirador Hotel and the Tourney General Hospital, for the first time in 78 years.

“We are honored to host Doris and her son Bill, as she returns to Palm Springs after 78 years,” said Michele Finney, CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center. “Doris has lived a full life of service to her country and caring for her patients. While none of the buildings she once worked in still exist, the spirit of the care she provided her patient’s lives on in the great work done today by the caregivers at Desert Regional Medical Center. It’s a privilege to have Doris spend time on our campus.”

Desert Regional Medical Center is hosting a press conference with Doris and her son on Friday at 10:30 am in the historic El Mirador tower (now called the Stergios building). Doris tells stories of looking out her room at the El Mirador Tower and the world-famous El Mirador Hotel swimming pool, and we couldn’t think of a better place to have Doris share her stories with our local media.

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