October 30, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Saturday’s 56th annual NCH Hospital Ball at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort was “straight from the heart.” More than 400 supporters, led by Ball Chairs Cortney and Kevin Beebe, dedicated the night to NCH’s award-winning cardiology program. And for good reason.

Ours is among the nation’s most outstanding cardiology academic programs, ranked in the top 10% by the Society of Thoracic Surgery. We also rank as one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, a leading provider of solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. NCH performs 97% of all open heart surgeries for Collier County residents and 92% of all stents. Saturday night’s generous benefactors help us maintain and grow this leadership cardiology position with new equipment and facilities.

As has been our tradition at the NCH Hospital Ball, we announced several honorees, selected by colleagues for their high standards of excellence in clinical care, relationships with patients and colleagues, standards of moral and ethical conduct, and commitment to the needs of the community.

Dr. Paul Jones, President of the NCH Medical Staff, was named Physician of the Year. Nominees for this prestigious award included these equally dedicated, knowledgeable, and compassionate physicians: Drs. Dan Kaplan, Pia Myers, Ray Phillips, Ken Plunkitt, Carlos Quintero, Sajan Rao, and Justin Warner. Drs. Matt Baker and David Pitts were also recognized as COMPASS award winners by NCH employees for care and collaboration.

CNO Michele Thoman presented 2014 Nurse of the Year honors to Sandy O’Donnell for North Naples and Amy Yates for the downtown campus—two competent and kindhearted angels, who can’t do enough for patients and colleagues.

Beyond the honorees, we also took time to extol the support that NCH receives from a giving community. First, a picture of the recently-completed 18-bassinet Neonatal ICU, funded in part by the 2012 Ball, was shared; followed by a view of the current North Naples ER renovation and expansion, generously funded last year by the 2013 Ball and the MacDonald family.

Then came the miraculous story that Amanda and Cody Karth told in a short video clip (http://www.nchmd.org/2014-Hospital-Ball-Video). On their first night of marriage, while sound asleep Amanda suffered cardiac arrest. Cody successfully performed CPR on his new wife. EMS took over from there, and our ER and ICU teams initiated hypothermia (lowering the body’s temperature to preserve function). The next morning, the NCH cardiac team corrected the problem. Amanda recovered entirely but couldn’t remember much of her wedding. So a national TV show heard their story and repeated the ceremony for the couple. And to top off Amanda’s amazing story, the couple announced at Saturday’s Ball that they are expecting their first baby. And when Jim Martin, Chief Development Officer and our Foundation colleagues, surprised the couple with a new baby carriage—there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Inspired by Amanda’s story, Kathy Friday shared her similar experience almost 10 years ago, when she, too, was saved after suffering sudden cardiac arrest. The episode inspired Kathy and husband Fritz to raise their bid paddle and donate $1 million dollars to completely renovate one of NCH’s six cardiac cath labs. The wonderful Fridays helped make it a fantastic Saturday, as we celebrated the heart—and soul—of our extraordinarily generous southwest Florida community.


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

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