Straight Talk - Today is Veteran's Day

November 11, 2010

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today is Veteran's Day, when we honor the “ultimate service” of those brave men and women among us, who risk their lives to help keep us free. This past week, we celebrated the “ultimate service” that NCH provides for the community—saving lives.

Dr. Doug Harrington, co-Physician of the Year, along with ICU Microsystem Director Jon Kling, led a celebration for our Cardiovascular Recovery Unit, Progressive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and North Naples Intensive Care Unit for their stellar efforts over the last several months for zero central-line infections. In working hard to avoid these life-threatening infections, NCH caregivers have lowered time spent in the hospital, eliminated millions of dollars of unnecessary costs, and, most importantly, saved countless patient lives.

Last week, we also celebrated at lunch with the critical care nurses responsible for saving lives. CNO Michele Thoman, CMO Dr. Aurora Estevez and I heard the remarkable story of Don Evans, a patient recovering in SICU, and his wife, Machelle. Earlier in the week, Don collapsed on the street, while starting a walking/easy running routine. Quick-thinking Machelle started CPR, aided by some kindly repairmen driving by, who called 911. A nearby police patrol car, equipped with an automated defibrillator, came to the rescue within two minutes. Within 60 minutes of reaching the downtown ER, Don's body was cooled to 91 degrees, part of a process called therapeutic hypothermia which we have successfully initiated on both campuses to save brain function after cardiac arrest.

I was introduced to Don and Machelle a few days later. Except for a few hours of amnesia about the event, Don is back to normal. A grateful Mr. Evans asked Dr. Harrington to prescribe his next course of action. Dr. Harrington didn't hesitate. He advised Don to hug and/or kiss the two people who saved his life—his wife and the police officer who arrived in the nick of time. Mr. and Mrs. Evans couldn't have been more thankful for NCH and its caregivers.

The goose bump-inducing story of Mr. and Mrs. Evans is symptomatic of the broader effort in our community to promote wellness. In that context, Dr. Joan Colfer, Director of the Collier County Health Department, and NCH led a meeting last week of a coalition of more than 20 local agencies, toward the goal of sustaining our county's enviable position as the healthiest of Florida's 67 counties and the one with the longest life expectancy. (

The more than 100 participants began the celebration and working session with a combined message from Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Medical Society President Dr. Jim Talano, Physicians Regional Collier Boulevard CEO Scott Campbell, and School Superintendent Dennis Thomas. Keynote speaker and NCH Board member Michael Feuer spoke about how in celebrating our collective success, we need to reinforce the importance of having a plan to sustain and improve our performance by executing and then measuring. We expressed similar thoughts in a Naples Daily News editorial earlier this year. (

We at NCH celebrate our community in many ways—National Radiologic Technologist Week, National Hospital Patient Transporters Week, Nurse Practitioners Week—and the banner turnout of 350 NCH colleagues, who raised more than $35,000 for the Heart Walk on the coldest morning of the season. Ours is a great hospital in a great community. The two go hand-in-hand.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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