Straight Talk

July 2, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The 4th of July is a time to recognize the heroes who have helped make our nation the ideal of the world. Here in our own community, I’d like to use the 4th to recognize three such healthcare heroes—or, more correctly, heroines—who help make NCH a model of concerned caring for patients.

1. Ellen Spencer, While making rounds to deliver bonus checks to Pulmonary Rehab, CFO Mike Stephens asked staff their plans for using the recent employee bonus. Ellen Spencer, respiratory therapist, said she planned to buy a puppy for one of the patients. The patient has been in Pulmonary Rehab for some time and had recently lost her own dog due to illness. During her time in rehab, the patient fell in love with Ellen’s puppy, a miniature red dachshund. Ellen reached out to her local breeder, who just happened to have a new litter of puppies. Through friendship with the breeder, Ellen was able to negotiate a favorable deal on a new pup, typically costing upwards of $1,200. Ellen presented the new puppy to her patient, who, understandably, was thrilled and grateful. To this day, the patient doesn’t know Ellen spent her own money to purchase this new puppy. What a hero!

2. Gabriela Mora, Environmental Service Supervisor, assists cancer survivors in our support group at North Naples Hospital. Gabriela noticed a woman, stressed and short of breath, wandering the campus looking for the meeting room for a cancer survivors support group. Gabriela escorted the woman to the designated meeting room, which wasn’t yet set up for the meeting. So Gabriela set up the chairs and chatted comfortably with the patient for 20 minutes, until other folks arrived. In this simple yet meaningful way, Gabriela proved herself a true healthcare hero.

3. Theresa Hansen, Human Resources specialist, joined the NCH family in 2013 as the Workers Compensation and LOA Specialist. In her role, she works with employees going through rough times due to a work-related injury or, more often, a serious personal or family member’s health issue. Often, the employee is out on extended leave of absence. As anyone who has found themselves in such an unfortunate position knows, Theresa is a compassionate and caring person, always attentive to an individual’s personal and often sad story. Recently, Theresa learned that an employee was in the hospital recovering from surgery. Theresa wanted to brighten this individual’s day so she purchased fresh flowers and delivered them herself, spending time talking to the employee patient. Nobody asked Theresa to drop in on the patient or buy the flowers or deliver them personally. She did it because she cares, and that’s why she’s a hero.

We are fortunate at NCH to have a great many Ellens and Gabrielas and Theresas, who care deeply about our patients and prove it in their compassionate service every day. We are proud of all our NCH heroes. Happy 4th of July.


Allen Weiss, M.D. Signature

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

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