2010 Exceptional Patient Stories Archive | Sentara Healthcare
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2010 Exceptional Patient Stories  

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At Sentara, we believe our patients and customers deserve our best every time they walk through our doors. We appreciate and value

hearing about employees who have exemplified the Sentara Commitments. With your help we can continue improving and truly redefining what it means to deliver healthcare in the future.

We invite you to read recent letters and notes we've received from patients and families who have received exceptional care thanks to Sentara employees. If you'd like to share your exceptional Sentara story, you may do so by using our online form. We look forward to hearing from you.



{Mom Has 'Utmost Respect and Adoration' for ER Staff That Saved Infant Daughter’s Life}

"My 13-month-old daughter aspirated on breast milk when she was about 3 months old. The ambulance took my little girl to (Sentara) BelleHarbour for her emergent care. The staff saved my little girl.

I remember that one girl on staff, in particular, hand pumped my baby's ventilation for 3 hrs straight without rest and was originally reluctant to give over her job to another nurse when she was needed elsewhere. I think her name was Katie. The whole staff took great care of my little girl and they were amazingly sensitive and considerate of me too, despite the crying hysterical mess I was. I have nothing but utmost respect and adoration for the staff at the BelleHarbour ER department."

– Jennifer H. 


{Nurse’s Upbeat Personality, Smile Brightens Patient’s Stay}


 Patty Richards, RN, CCU, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital

An upbeat smiling nurse makes all the difference, and that’s exactly what Patty Richards, RN, CCU,
Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, strives to do. Her patients take notice.  Take a look at what a former patient said about Patty.

"Patty Richards was awesome from the moment she walked in my room! Her smile soothed my spirit and even brightened the room. Mrs. Richards took wonderful care of me from the time her shift started until it ended. She is not just dedicated, she takes pride in taking care of her patients, providing therapeutic tender love and care each and every moment," one patient commented.

Susan Thatcher, ICU, clinical manager, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital agrees, saying "Patty is known for her smile and her strong Southern accent. She is a powerful patient advocate and is extremely conscientious when it comes to patient safety."

Patty takes it all in stride. "It makes no difference to me. I treat all of my patients like family."



{Grateful Patient: "Real Healing Begins with the Nursing Staff"}

"On October 4, 2010, I entered Sentara Leigh Hospital for hernia surgery. My surgeon did a great job, and I appreciate his skillful work, but I am not writing about him - I am writing about the nursing staff and residents.

A surgeon is responsible for repair, but real healing begins with the nursing staff. I stayed in Room 325 of Sentara Leigh for a total of eight days. I was supposed to only stay one night, but for some reason, my colon was not working properly and I could not leave until it was working properly.

While I was there, my favorite nurses were the ones who told me what I needed to hear. I can still remember Vangie telling me that I need to take more walks and I need to use that 3 valve inhalation tool. I hated using that thing, but it was what I needed. She managed to tell me what I needed to do firmly and politely.

I was also impressed with the skill of the RNs who helped me to choose pain medicine that did not have a narcotic side effect. I really just needed the medicine for pain and I did not want to feel strange or silly. I remember, especially, a nurse named Leilani who explained which meds to use to address pain without the unwanted side effects.

The residents and medical students were fantastic. They came by and checked on me every day. I especially appreciate that they discovered I had a doctorate in engineering and referred to me as a doctor (when addressing me) – showing respect for my degree in an environment where most doctors are medical doctors.

I did not want to stay so long in the hospital, but thanks to the extra care I received, I returned to work at exactly the date I was initially told I would. The extra time in the hospital only meant less time convalescing at home.

Thank you very much for your excellent care. I am in your debt."

– Steve L

{Patient Thanks 'Caring and Attentive' Nurses at Sentara Leigh Hospital} 

"I just want to express how caring and attentive the nurses at Sentara Leigh Hospital were to me in the ER and the PCU (Dec 16-19, 2010).I came in (to the ER) in a critical state and they took very good care of me. They also made sure I understood what was going on with my care."

  – Willie M.

{Sentara Norfolk General ER Nurse Praised for Care of Shock Patient}

"I took my friend to the emergency room at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for a minor electric shock. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful, especially Nurse Gary! He was wonderful."

– Susan T.


{Home Care Patient Writes about 'Excellent Service.'}"

Ginny at home care services Chesapeake, Va., has provided me with excellent service. She went out of her way to provide me with my critical needs. Please see to it that she is told of my appreciation of her help."

{The following letter was submitted by the wife of an out-of-town patient admitted after a heart attack.}

"Hello to all the wonderful people at
Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital who may be reading this. My husband is recovering from his heart attack, and we owe so much to all of you and your outstanding hospital. We're back in Butler, PA, and have told our story many times, each account of the fine care that John had from beginning (the scary part, when he came in very sick), to the ending after 11 days (the best part, smiles and hugs and hoorays from the nurses).

His is a success story, a happy ending, which we don't take for granted. I (the wife), slept in John's CCU room, comfortable, informed, confident of his best care provided by such caring nurses. I won't provide names, for fear of leaving someone out. All were so competent, caring, sincere. I will be writing to some in particular. Oh, thank you. "it wasn't his time."

 {New mom thanks medical team for 'phenomenal' care.} 

"I delivered my second child at
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on September 23, 2010. The nursing care that I received from the time I arrived until the time I left was phenomenal!

I could not have asked for anything more. I am a nurse myself and feel that sometimes my knowledge makes me more critical than a non-nurse patient. However, the care I received was honestly the best nursing care I have ever received in any of my hospital stays. I delivered my first child at another facility and did not receive care as great.

I filled out a survey before I left and mentioned that the care I received from Joyce, Megan, and Arlene on the Postpartum Unit was exceptional. Unfortunately, at the time I forgot to mention one other person who exceeded my expectations. Tammy, the nurse who took care of my baby in the newborn nursery was just as exceptional! She did a wonderful job taking care of him and keeping me abreast of his care and what I needed to know when going home. I just want to take time again to say "thank you" for the wonderful care I received! The care I received made my birth experience a wonderful and memorable one!"


{The following letter was submitted by the mother of a patient at Sentara BelleHarbour. Her one-month old baby was a patient in the Emergency Department.} 


 Pictured left to right: Liz Nelms, Kelley Andrews, and Katie Batten.  Not pictured: Dr. Kelley Foley and Vicki Bishop.

"My month-old daughter Alice, had been fighting a minor case of sniffles for about a week. She’d been seen a few days ago by her regular doctor, who reported nothing wrong other than a cold, and told me to keep an eye on her. On Christmas Day, I worried, because her appetite had dropped off completely. I took her to the new Sentara BelleHarbour Emergency Department, where they tested her for RSV (negative) and checked her out. As she wasn’t dehydrated and there was still nothing wrong other than a cold, they sent us home with further instructions to keep an eye on her.

The next day, my baby still wasn’t eating, and woke up very lethargic, an unhealthy color, and only somewhat responsive. My husband stayed home with our older daughters and I drove my baby back to BelleHarbour. We were seen immediately and Dr. Kelley Foley, who we’d seen the previous day, agreed something was very wrong. Dr. Foley ordered some tests, and came in the room to do an assessment herself, when my baby suddenly stopped breathing. I cannot possibly say how lucky we were that it happened at BelleHarbour and with Dr. Foley in the room.

Before I had even really absorbed what was going on, Dr. Foley and her team had Alice across the hall and were performing CPR. She went probably only less than a minute without oxygen before they were working on her. It took just a few minutes- and just as they were starting to intubate her, Alice coughed up the mucus that had been blocking her lungs and started to breathe.

Just a few minutes after that, Alice was on full life support and the transport team from Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters was on their way to pick us up. Alice, diagnosed with non-RSV bronchiolitis (basically, a bad virus that had come on very quickly and settled into her lungs) spent six days in pediatric intensive care and another four after that at the hospital getting better.

If it weren’t for the fact that we were at BelleHarbour when Alice stopped breathing, she probably wouldn’t be alive today."

Dr. Kelley Foley, Emergency Physicians of Tidewater, Liz Nelms, RN, charge nurse, Kelley Andrews, RN, Katie Batten, ER tech, and Vicki Bishop, RN, were amazingly quick and thorough when Alice stopped breathing and I know they saved my baby’s life. I can’t possibly thank them enough and will never forget them."

{Patient Suffering from Seizures Praises Doctor for Her Dedication}

 "I am a person with complex partial seizures. I've had this condition about 2 years and have been to several doctors.  I have finally found one who could help me, Dr. Maria Guina, a neurologist. She spent her time with me and practically saved my life. Kudos to the doctor."


{ER Patient Thanks Nurse for Positive Outcome}

 "I just wanted to let Sentara Norfolk General Hospital know that I was very pleased with the care I received in the emergency department on October 15, 2010. In particular, I wanted to let you know that one of the nurses, Patrick Zadd, RN, was very kind and considerate towards me throughout the entire time I received care from him.

I was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort and he did a really great job of making me feel better and feel like things were going to be OK. I wanted to make sure that Sentara knows that Patrick really made a difference. Thank you, Patrick"

{Out-of-Town Visitors Grateful for Diligent, Compassionate Care in Williamsburg}

 "During a recent visit to Williamsburg, my brother-in-law, John, suffered a seizure and was taken to your facility by ambulance. He was admitted to the ICU.

His wife Fran and I accompanied him to his room where we were greeted by his nurse, Madeline. Madeline was extraordinary! She was kind, professional, efficient and compassionate. The entire nursing staff we encountered - Jennifer, Brenda (both in ICU) and Editha, Kym and Debbie (on the 4th floor)- were STELLAR! They took GREAT care of John during the 5 days he was treated at your facility. They were also keenly aware of my sister's stress and fear and took steps to address her needs as well. The kindness and professionalism of the staff was beyond amazing!

Each and every person we encountered went above and beyond to help. John was released today. He has recovered from the most severe symptoms, and the road ahead looks promising. I attribute this to Sentara's superbly trained staff and positive experience we all had during his stay. I intend to write letters of praise to Kathy McCoy, ICU nursing supervisor, and Dr. David R. Maizel, VP and medical director, for assembling and training such a stellar group of professionals. Thank you."


 {Daughter Thanks Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Staff for Mother’s Exceptional Care}

"My mom was admitted to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (formerly Potomac Hospital) on Saturday, September 17, 2010, for a fractured hip. The entire process of the ER, surgery by Dr. Chris Baker and post op care in several areas was exceptional.

One of her nurses, a Mrs. Angela Hailey (in PCU), was as kind and caring in dealing with my mom's dementia and overall care as anyone could hope to have for a family member. My mom was challenging many times, but Angela treated her with such kindness. She is a wonderful nurse and human being. My dad, Walter, and I would like to thank her. I hope Sentara Potomac Hospital will recognize her in some special way. She is an asset to your facility. Many thanks..."


{Sentara CarePlex Hospital Patient Grateful for Caring Staff} 

"I, Mamie, was an outpatient on May 20, 2010, at same day surgery, and the staff was just outstanding. They made me feel (more at ease) explaining everything that was about to happen. The doctor was wonderful. I felt relaxed, and was very pleased with my surgery. I told everyone about Sentara and my stay. I give you a 100% thanks for the lovely care."

– Mamie


{Out-of-Town Patient/Employee Praises a Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Patient Relations Representative for Going Above and Beyond During Emergency.} 

A Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (formerly Potomac Hospital) patient relations representative used her personal time to ensure that an out of town ER patient was met with outstanding customer service.

"I am a Chesapeake Sentara IT employee who was working at the hospital on August 6, 2010; where I subsequently went to the
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center ER with an eye emergency. The ER staff and ER physician were all very astute in recognizing a potential critical problem and acting with haste. After the examination I was told I needed to see the on-call ophthalmologist whose office was located in Manassas, a number of miles away.

With the type of vision issues that I was having, driving a car was not an option and being alone in the area with no one to assist me, Susan Vician, a patient relations representative, volunteered to drive me to Manassas. With the potential to lose sight in an eye, it was imperative that I get to the ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Not only did Susan drive me through the hour long 5 p.m. Woodbridge traffic, she waited for me through the procedures, took me to the pharmacy, waited again, and then drove me to get something to eat prior to taking me back to the hospital. She was my hero that day, as I would not have been able to manage any of it on my own. It ended up being a very long day, but Susan with patience and a great sense of humor was able to ease most of the anxiety for me. I wanted to say thanks in way that would highlight her exemplary customer service."


{Kristin W. submitted the following story about her patient care while delivering her first child at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.}

 "I came to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital on July 5, 2010, in labor with my first child. I was extremely nervous and didn't know anyone who had delivered there, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

I am so impressed. I got excellent care and everyone was so nice and helpful. The first nurse I had, named Erika, was super helpful and helped me get through the contractions until I could get an epidural. And they also talked me through that. She kept me motivated and made me feel like I was doing a great job. The other nurses were also great. The first nurse I had after I was taken to recovery...really took great care of me.

I expected to get good care, but Sentara met and exceeded my expectations. They made me feel so comfortable and treated my husband like they were also caring for him. We both felt so comfortable...my husband is in the military and I made the choice not to go to the military hospital. I'm glad I chose Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. If we are still living in Virginia when I have my next child (if we are blessed with another one!), then I will definitely be coming back. I am going to recommend them to everyone.

Thank you Sentara for making the birth of my first child such a positive experience."

– Kristin W.


 {Sentara Employee Shares his Story about Using Sentara MyChart to Navigate the Care of an Aging Parent.}


Roger Holmes works in the Sentara Information Technology Department.

Roger Holmes works in the Sentara Information Technology Department and helped design the Sentara eCare® system. It makes sense that he understands first-hand the benefits of Sentara MyChart when accessing personal health records and communicating with physicians.

Holmes experience with
Sentara MyChart goes beyond being in the driver’s seat of his own healthcare. With an aging mother who splits time between Virginia and Tennessee, he and some additional family members are also able to access needed health information about their mother’s health issues. Through approved proxy access, patients can assign rights to children, spouses and other family and friends in order to widen the circle of individuals on their healthcare team.

In Holmes’ case, this means a huge relief in knowing that updated medication lists are readily available for doctor visits, as well as better management and coordination of the many doctor appointments his mother must keep.

Sentara MyChart is putting patients in control of their healthcare. For Holmes this means greater peace of mind…not only for himself, but for those he loves as well.

Learn more about Sentara MyChart and view the latest TV commercial at www.IWantSentaraMyChart.com.



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