Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas Baylor Medical Center at Carrollton
Baylor Medical Cent
Baylor Medical Center
Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth
Baylor Medical Center at Garland
Baylor Medical Center at McKinney
BAYLOR STORIES 2012 Stories of Hope, Healing and Caring Baylor Health Care System
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano
Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie
Our Childrenâ€™s House at Baylor
Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine
se rva n t ho od
3 Our Story 4 A Letter from Joel Allison 5 Needing Baylor Now 6 Bringing a Bundle of Joy to Life 7 Keeping the Flames at Bay 8 Holiday Hero 9 Climbing for Kids 10 Giving Them a Chance 13 Out-of-State, but In Luck 14 A Kindhearted Camper 15 The Spa Day 16 A Thread of Protection 17 Forever Photos 18 Providing Peace in a Time of Grief
19 Celebrating our Survivors 20 Compassion in the Cards 21 A Favorite Baylor Tail 22 On a Mission of Mercy 23 The Angel of Good Health 24 The Strength to Go On 25 Destined to Do Great Things 26 Sox in a Box
The Heart Hospital
Heart and Vascular Hospital
Our Children’s House
Since our beginning in 1903, in a renovated, 14-room house in Dallas known as Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium, Baylor Health Care System has been a Christian ministry of healing. For nearly 110 years, Baylor has held to its mission to serve all people through exemplary health care, education, research and community service. In our early years, we began a medical school to teach and establish best practices in medicine among future generations of Trophy Club
physicians. We developed the first pre-paid hospital insurance plan called “The Baylor Plan,” known today as Blue Cross, to help citizens afford health care during the Great Depression. We tirelessly worked to provide technologically advanced medicine and successfully completed many medical firsts, such as establishing the first blood bank and conducting the first adult bone marrow transplant in North Texas. We’ve grown into a 30-hospital system with more than 300 access points and over 19,000 employees. But our legacy is not in our
numbers. It’s in our people: our employees and our patients. Our business is healing, and over the decades, the people of North Texas have come to know us not only as a provider of quality health care, but as an organization that truly cares about people.
Our employees are the heart of Baylor. They are the Baylor story. 3
a letter from
Last year I shared a book of Baylor Stories with you, as we began a tradition of recording some of the many uplifting, personal stories of Baylor employees. I always say “the best belong at Baylor,” and it’s the truth. Members of the Baylor family bring hope and smiles to our patients and their families each and every day, and Baylor Health Care System would not exist without them. They are our greatest resource, and it’s by their own ambition that our Christian ministry of healing spreads throughout our community and around the world. At this time in our nation, there is a great deal of change in health care. But Baylor remains steadfast and strong as a leader in providing safe, quality, compassionate care. We understand that healing means much more than just treating the body, but also the mind and the spirit. Baylor’s Vision 2015 lays out a roadmap for our future in the changing health care landscape. It focuses on providing quality health care for all people and improving the patient experience. Each Baylor employee is key to fulfilling this Vision, and I know they are capable. In these stories you’ll see their acts of kindness and sacrifice; you’ll see their abilities and strengths; and you’ll see the Baylor values of integrity, servanthood, quality, innovation and stewardship on display.
As with last year’s stories, I hope you find this year’s stories about our people as inspiring as I do.
President and CEO, Baylor Health Care System
baylor now After attending a prestigious national leadership conference where she was challenged to make her community a better place, Margaret, a Baylor social work manager, returned to Dallas to answer the call. Margaret had the idea for a program that would help women with troubled pasts get their lives back on track. She enlisted several of her Baylor coworkers—LaTrice, Vonda, Jacquelonne, Theresa, Vendetta, Pamela and Alexis—and together they launched the “We Need You Now” program. The team approached an organization that operates group homes for women recently incarcerated to host the program. Every week for nine weeks, the Baylor social workers involved in the project held workshops at a group home where the women in attendance would work on vital life skills that would help them become productive members of American society. Topics ranged from stress management, to job training, to self-esteem building and vision boarding where the women mapped out a brighter future for themselves. By the end of the program, 12 women had completed the course, and three had already enrolled in college. Due to the fantastic results, Margaret and her team have been asked to bring the program to other venues. But perhaps the greatest testament to success was what one of the women said during the graduation ceremony: “Today, my mother is looking down from heaven, and for the first time in my life, I’ve made her proud.”
Bringing a bundle of joy to life The ability to think on your feet and react quickly and decisively in extraordinary situations is all part of the job for staff members who work in a Baylor emergency department (ED). As a Baylor ED technician, Yelena has mastered both these skills, which produced lifesaving results last winter. Yelena was assisting a patient in the ED’s waiting room lobby who had come to the hospital due to feelings of general weakness. The patient needed to use the restroom, so Yelena helped the woman and her companion to the women’s room. On the way, the patient mentioned that she was five months pregnant. Yelena left to check on other patients in the triage rooms, and when she returned, discovered that the woman was in labor. Further complicating the situation, the woman spoke very little English. Yelena immediately assisted in delivering the extremely premature baby, who was not breathing. He was purple and not making a sound. Yelena started CPR on the premature newborn—a very delicate task. Then, the first chance she got, she called for help. By the time the nurses from the NICU arrived to take over, the baby had made a crying sound and his color was returning. Thanks to Yelena’s extraordinary efforts, one baby boy was able to have an extraordinary beginning to life.
flames at bay
The word “hero” is often used in reference to soldiers, firefighters, police officers, Olympic athletes and teachers. But using the word to describe a truck driver? That’s certainly not something that happens every day. Of course, what Juan, a warehouse driver for Baylor’s MEDCO Construction unit, did to earn the distinction was far from ordinary.
Juan was sitting at a red light in McKinney when he witnessed a horrific traffic accident. The engine on one of the devastated vehicles then ignited, with people still trapped inside. Without hesitation, Juan rushed to the vehicle, a van, determined to get to the two children in the back. He was able to unbuckle each of the children’s seatbelts and pull them from the burning wreckage. Thanks to his efforts, the children escaped without serious injuries. Juan remained at the scene until everyone involved in the accident was safe and had the assistance they needed. As a witness to an automobile accident, perhaps the only thing expected of Juan was to call 9-1-1. But Juan is never one to do just what is expected of him: He does more. At work, that makes him a great employee. In life, that has made him a hero.
hero Being a sick child, or the parent of a sick child, is never easy. It is especially difficult around the holidays when other children are reveling in all manner of holiday fun and festivities— like going to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap. Many of the children receiving treatment at Our Children’s House at Baylor never get the opportunity to pay Kris Kringle a visit due to their medical condition. That didn’t sit well with Beth, a physical therapist at OCH. She became determined to give OCH patients the opportunity to meet jolly old Saint Nick. So, if they couldn’t go to him, she was going to bring him to them. On her own time, Beth organized a treasured holiday production. She rallied a volunteer Santa, took photos of the children on Santa’s lap and secured volunteers to help the kids at craft-making stations. Hearts melted as the faces of the children lit up when they sat in Santa’s lap, whispered their Christmas wish list in his ear and smiled for a picture. Beth made the dreams of so many families come true. Christmas pictures with Santa are some of the most cherished photos in any parent’s album. Imagine how sacred they are to the mother and father of a child who never thought they would have any.
for kids Standing at 19,340 feet atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, anyone would feel a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment. But Brad, a Baylor physical therapist, felt a strong sense of achievement because he had scaled the peak on behalf of the world’s most needy: children with AIDS. Through his efforts, he helped raise nearly $50,000 for African children with the disease—$1,000 of which came from Baylor’s Faith In Action Initiatives. Brad was part of a seven-person team that worked on behalf of an American organization that helps African children with AIDS. The theme of the trip was “Climb Up so Kids Can Grow Up.” The funds raised are critical to establishing clinics that directly assist children across the continent. Once the clinics demonstrate a history of good management, they can apply for grants from governments and larger non-governmental organizations. During the climb, Brad battled below-freezing temperatures. To make the journey even more difficult was that the airline had lost his luggage on the way over, leaving him without much of his gear. After the climb, Brad had the opportunity to travel to the slums of Kenya where the money he raised would be put to work. “Out of the whole trip, that was the most enlightening for me,” he says.
Giving them a
Most of the time, when Child Protective Services (CPS) is called, it’s to look out for the interests of children whose parents demonstrate a history of abuse or neglect. In other words, parents who have at least had the opportunity to be parents. Some parents, though—those who are mentally handicapped—often never even get that chance. When a baby was born to one such couple at Baylor, CPS immediately became involved, doubting the parents’ ability to care for the baby. However, Lisa, a nurse in the newborn nursery, was determined to erase those doubts. Lisa volunteered to be the primary nurse for the mom, knowing it would require a lot of patience, teaching and time outside of work. Even the simplest tasks had to be taught over and over again in the simplest of terms. Lisa often had to find creative ways to get around obstacles. For example, there were safety concerns about bathing, so Lisa taught the mom to sponge bathe the baby in a dry tub and even bought them a tub they could use at home. When the mom became confused, Lisa helped her reason out the answers. Lisa treated the family with patience, but more importantly she treated them with dignity and respect. Thanks to her, the baby was discharged with the parents, keeping a new family together.
people are our greatest resource, and it’s by their own ambition that our Christian ministry of healing spreads throughout our community and around the world. - Joel Allison, President & CEO
out-of-state, but in luck
Being a champion for patients is much more than a nine-to-five job for Baylor scoliosis patient advocate Charlotte. Baylor boasts one of the top scoliosis programs in the country, and as such, receives referrals from across the nation. Charlotte caught the case of one candidate for scoliosis corrective surgery from Florida who needed to address several other health issues before being cleared for the operation. In an effort to save the woman time and money, Charlotte helped ensure that she received as many of the tests and examinations needed as close to her home in Florida as possible. When the woman did come to North Texas to finish testing, Charlotte helped her locate affordable accommodations and scheduled her tests. The patientâ€™s initial results revealed the need for additional studies, leaving the patient alone in an unfamiliar city for even longer. Charlotte took it upon herself to drive the patient back to her hotel one day when her testing was delayed. On the way, she stopped at the pharmacy to fill her prescription, and took her to dinner before returning her to the hotel. Charlotte shared her cell number with the patient, instructing her to call anytime if she needed anything. But really, the only thing the patient needed was an advocate like Charlotte.
a kindhearted camper “Should I go to the beach, the mountains, a bed and breakfast, or a foreign country?” That’s the kind of question most people ask themselves while planning an annual week of vacation. For the past six years, it’s a question Mischell, a Baylor physician liaison, has not had to ask herself. She knows she’s going to camp. That may not sound particularly extraordinary, except that Mischell doesn’t go as a camper, but rather a counselor. And it’s no ordinary camp. Camp Esperanza is for kids ages six to 15 who have cancer—some even terminal. Her primary job as a counselor is to facilitate the fun, as the kids participate in activities such as archery, fishing, swimming, arts and crafts, and boating. In short, she is responsible for making sure the kids can be kids. It’s not always easy, though. Many of the campers she is responsible for (11- and 12-year-old girls) have health challenges beyond cancer. At her last camp, Mischell literally carried one wheelchairbound girl to the bathroom every day, and anywhere else she was unable to take her chair. Having a true servant’s heart, Mischell says that any of the aches and pains that come with her duties are well worth it: “I love being there to help kids do some of the things they never thought they could before.”
the spa day Most teenage girls are able to spend their time fretting about boys, reading about the latest drama involving their favorite stars, and worrying if their clothes are perfect and their faces are touched with the right amount of make-up. The teenage girls at Our Childrenâ€™s House at Baylor (OCH), though, often donâ€™t have that relative luxury. Instead, they must focus their energies on serious challenges to their health. It was against this backdrop that Jennifer, a child life specialist at OCH, was able to bring some normalcy into the lives of three of her adolescent patients. Jennifer has always had a reputation for using her imagination to create unique experiences to make her patients feel special. And what can make a girl feel more special than a day at the spa? Jennifer began by decorating a room for the girls so they could have the full spa experience. The girls got pedicures, read teen magazines and chatted about ordinary teenage drama. Making it even more special was that the girls had a chance to bond and offer each other support when discussing their reasons for hospitalization and their concerns about going home. If for only a few hours, Jennifer accomplished making these teenage girls feel as though they werenâ€™t in the hospital, but rather in the lap of luxury.
For one Baylor care team, there was good reason for concern after learning that a mentally challenged breast cancer patient was scheduled to undergo a mastectomy to remove breast tissue. The team had previously seen the patient when she had undergone a lumpectomy. After that procedure, she had picked at the incision until it reopened, creating a risk for infection. That incision was small compared to the incision needed to perform a mastectomy, and consequently, more potential for self-inflicted damage. Fortunately, Helen, a Baylor operating room technician, may be as proficient with a needle and thread as she is with managing surgical equipment. She mocked up a design for a garment that the patient could wear after her surgery that would help keep her from bothering the incision and drains, lessening the risk of infection and helping promote a quicker recovery. Helen bought the materials needed to bring her functional and fashionable creation to life, then sewed the protective garment herself. Helenâ€™s innovative mind and compassionate heart brought a solution to one of the most difficult situations a caregiver can faceâ€”helping a patient unable to help herself.
Often, there is little anyone can do to console parents who have lost a child. However, neonatal ICU (NICU) nurse Lilla was able to help one family through their grief. Two devastated parents had to face the reality that their infant son would not survive. So, they wanted to be photographed with him before his passing. This is not an unusual request in such circumstances, so Baylor contracts with a nonprofit photography service to take the invaluable shots. Since it was a holiday weekend, though, no photographers were available. Lilla wasn’t working that day, but her co-workers knew she had a passion for photography and for NICU families. They called her at home to ask if she could help. She set aside her own holiday plans and made the long drive to the hospital. Lilla spent several hours photographing the family. She then returned home to create a slide show with the pictures set to music. The gesture was not only deeply moving for the family, but for Lilla as well. After performing the act of love, Lilla—in addition to her role as a NICU nurse—joined the non-profit photography service Baylor contracts with, giving her time and talent to help other families facing similar tragedy.
in a time of grief
How we remember our loved ones who have passed—how we say goodbye—is a critical part of the grieving process and bringing about a measure of closure. As a Baylor chaplain who frequently ministers to the elderly, Moises understands this all too well. Moises, who makes many house calls to patients and their families, was visiting a 93-year-old woman and her daughter when the old woman burst into tears, confessing that her husband had passed a year prior, but had never had a proper church memorial service. The family believed such a service was critical not only for their own peace of mind, but to help her husband’s soul find peace. Moises decided he was going to help give the family that peace. He organized a service at his church and spent weeks planning it. He helped get out invitations, chose appropriate scripture readings and hymns, organized memorial speakers and flower arrangements, developed a program for the service and prepared a sermon. Thirty-five family members came to honor the beloved husband, father and grandfather. At the end of the service, the family matriarch honored Moises and his congregation, saying that there was no way she could ever repay them for opening their hearts and their doors.
Celebrating our survivors Cancer patients and their families deserve the highest quality of care and the utmost compassion and respect. Cancer survivors and their families deserve to be celebrated. Buffy, a Baylor oncology nurse, ensures that both patients and survivors get what they deserve. She can often be found consoling grieving patients and families during difficult situations. But she is also there to celebrate with patients and families who have received good news. Buffy played a key role in planning and executing her Baylor facilityâ€™s first-ever National Cancer Survivors Day celebration. With no template from previous survivor events to work from, she handled everything from planning the menu to finalizing the logistics. She managed details large and small, including sending invitations to physicians and staff. Though she was initially scheduled to work the day of the event, she changed shifts with a colleague so she could be there to help ensure that the important celebration was a success. Buffy arrived prior to the event kickoff to move furniture, decorate, and coordinate the delivery and setup of the food. During the event, she presented patients with a special poem and gift. Afterwards, she stayed to clean up. Buffy put her heart into this event and truly made it memorable for patients, families and Baylor.
in the cards
One Baylor ED nurse, Naomi, began an initiative to help console the often-inconsolable families who have lost a loved one. After reading about how ED nurses at one large hospital began sending sympathy cards to the families of patients who passed away in their department, Naomi reached out to the author to learn how the program was designed. She then met with nursing leadership and representatives from the department of risk management and pastoral care to design a similar program, which allows staff to sign a sympathy card to send to patient family members within a month of losing their loved one. Six months after the family’s loss, a second card is sent from “The Staff at Baylor” and includes a personal, laminated bookmark in remembrance of their loved one. Dealing with the tragic, delicate situation surrounding the loss of a family member isn’t something most people want to do. But for Naomi, it is a passion.
Emergency departments (EDs) across the nation have garnered reputations as places with long wait times, unfriendly staff and lackluster service. Baylor EDs, on the other hand, consistently enjoy patient satisfaction results well above national averages, largely due to compassionate ED teams that find new ways to show patients and families that they care.
Raising $6,000 for cancer research is quite a feat. Doing so by participating in an annual open water fundraising swim that includes Olympic medalists makes the achievement all the more special. Although what makes Quinn’s story truly unique is that his stroke of choice is the doggy paddle. That’s because Quinn is a 160-pound Leonberger—a gentle, web-footed giant who spends his days comforting Baylor cancer patients as a Baylor therapy dog. The thousands of dollars Quinn helped raise during the 2012 event (and the $4,000 he raised during the 2011 swim) benefit the Innovative Clinical Trials Center at the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center. So in a very real way, Quinn not only provides companionship for cancer patients, but his aquatic efforts are helping find a cure. While Quinn has received national media attention for his swimming prowess, the real hero is Peggy, his owner. Her willingness to share her beloved companion has brought smiles to the faces of some of Baylor’s sickest patients. Since 1999, Peggy—like scores of other Baylor therapy pet owners—has spent countless hours making the rounds with her pooches, including Quinn, giving cancer patients a friendly, furry face they look forward to seeing. Research has shown that therapy animals enhance the healing process. Peggy has shown how volunteers enhance Baylor’s healing mission.
A favorite baylor tail
On a mission of mercy Most scholarship recipients use the money to go off to an institute of higher learning, typically in an effort to better their own life. Recipients of the Fred Roach Medical Mission Scholarship, named for a former Baylor senior executive, go off to better the lives of others. Scott, an operating room nurse, was awarded the scholarship through Baylor’s Faith In Action Initiatives. It was earmarked for his medical mission trip with a charity that operates hospital ships that took him to the troubled African country of Sierra Leone to provide critical surgical care aboard a floating medical center. In the four weeks Scott was a mate, he participated in 140 surgical cases, including general surgery, plastic surgery, maxillofacial surgery and cataract removal. There was a desperate need for free surgical care in the war-torn country, and Scott and the rest of the crew delivered. “My greatest joy was helping restore sight to so many patients—both adults and children,” Scott says. He was able to repeat the joy a year later, when he volunteered for another two-week tour in Africa aboard the ship. On both occasions, Scott worked with African nurses and surgeons, from whom he learned a lot, he says. “Working side by side with them was a wonderful experience. We shared ideas and training along with our culture and the joy of serving others!”
The angel of good health Sharon, a Baylor AM admit nurse, has been dubbed an “Angel on Earth” by her unitbased educator. She may have earned the nickname for the compassionate care she provides and her kindness to her coworkers, but, ironically, it’s her work with her church that truly makes her worthy of her wings. At one Sunday service, a fellow church member began having an asthma attack. Another member came to get “Nurse Sharon” for help. The woman had already used her rescue inhaler to no effect and had become unresponsive. Sharon was quick to answer the call, obtaining oxygen and a nebulizer to help neutralize the attack. No sooner had she stabilized the woman than another church member was calling for Nurse Sharon. There was another young woman in distress, hemorrhaging in a pew. Nurse Sharon came to the rescue again, helping treat and stabilize her. Sharon has done far more for many members of her congregation—and the community—over the years. She was instrumental in starting the church’s health ministry. The ministry started with two caregivers and now boasts 125 members, including five doctors. It began with a first aid kit, and now has two exam suites and a health room where they hold CPR lessons and offer health screenings and physicals.
None of it would have been possible without the divine intervention of Nurse Sharon.
to go on
A young mother who never gets the chance to be a mother—is there anything more heartbreaking? It was the reality that one family in crisis faced after a young wife gave birth, then was immediately placed on life support shortly before passing away. Her husband was destroyed; the staff members who cared for her, devastated.
Theresa also struggled to cope, as the mother’s passing was one of the most tragic situations that she had ever faced in her career. But she put her pain on hold. Theresa not only helped the family through their loss, but also helped them recognize the joy of having a healthy, strong and beautiful baby girl, through whom her mother would live on. The family and the staff expressed how grateful they were for Theresa’s support. No doubt from up above, the young mother is looking down with equal appreciation.
It was Theresa, a Baylor chaplain, who gave everyone involved the strength to make it through. Even though she wasn’t assigned to the clinical area where the patient received care, Theresa stayed by the family’s side for more than seven hours as they struggled to cope with the reality of their loss.
Destined to do great things It may be coincidental—but not uncommon—to cross paths with a coworker at the grocery store or out running errands. But meeting one 7,000 miles from home in a third-world country while trying to save lives? It must be more than coincidence. For Valery, a Baylor telemetry nurse, it was destiny when she met Michael, a physician on staff at the same Baylor facility, in Nigeria while on a medical mission. People came by the thousands to receive quality care from Valery, Michael and the Nigerian physicians with whom they were collaborating. Men, women and children would sleep on the floor for days, sometimes just for the chance to receive something as simple as Tylenol. Though not a surgical nurse by trade, Valery received on-the-job training and became first assist to Michael during surgery. She was a part of more than 35 surgeries—from hernia repairs to hydrocele surgery to lipoma removal. The electricity in the operating suite constantly cut out, forcing many procedures to be performed only under the glow of a flashlight. Along with electricity, general anesthetic also was in short supply, meaning many procedures had to be performed under local anesthetic. Regardless, Valery and Michael’s patients never flinched. The momentary discomfort was nothing compared to the lifetime of relief that two caregivers from Baylor gave them.
Sox in a
Nobody wants to spend Christmas in the hospital, and everyone loves opening a present the morning of December 25. With that in mind, in 2009, Robin, a Baylor guest services coordinator, and her daughter came up with a colorful way to brighten Christmas morning for every patient at one Baylor hospital and the Dallas VA Medical Center. The duo launched Sox in a Box. They began collecting socks and putting them in boxes, which, like elves at the North Pole, they hand decorated. Other employees heard about what they were doing and wanted to help. Socks came pouring in by the hundreds, along with decorated boxes. Each one carried a note from Santa to the patient unwrapping the present on Christmas morning. The next year, Robin took her program to hospitals across the Baylor Health Care System. Socks came pouring in by the thousands from all over. Churches and other community organizations joined Baylor staff in the effort. In 2011, Robin spread the tradition to other Metroplex hospitals. Of course, since the beginning, the first Christmas Eve delivery has always been to Dallas’ veteran’s hospital, but Robin and her daughter took it further, dropping off boxes at every hospital in the Dallas area. When asked by staff who the gifts were from, they simply replied “Santa.” When asked who they were, they responded “elves.” Over the years, Robin and her helpers have gifted more than 25,000 Sox in a Box, and countless smiles to patients and their families.
Real patients. Real stories.
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