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Baylor Stories Commitmen t & Compa ssion
I hope you find them as inspiring as I do. Nearly every day for the almost 20 years I have been
Baylor Health Care System has always prided itself on its innovative programs,
with Baylor, I’ve heard stories about how individuals on our staff have changed someone’s life forever, or just made someone’s day a little brighter. And these are merely some of the anecdotes that have been shared with me. Countless compassionate acts by members of the Baylor family go unreported, but they are no less meaningful.
advanced technology, topnotch facilities and forwardthinking approach to health care. But our greatest resource is
I would like to share a handful of these stories in this
not our buildings or our machines or our strategic plans. It’s our
publication because they are not simply the stories of
people. It’s the 20,000 dedicated members of the Baylor family
individuals or small groups of employees—they are the story of
who make an impact both inside and outside our walls—across
Baylor. They represent acts of kindness, sacrifice, selflessness,
our community and across the world.
thoughtfulness and even heroism...
They represent us.
Joel A llison President and CEO, Baylor Health Care System 2
Thousands of Miles to Deliver Thousands of Smiles
Sharing a Part of Himself
Planning the Perfect Day
Compassion for All
A Dark Cloud with a Blue Lining
Delivering a “Christmas Miracle”
A Hero’s Welcome
Outstanding Service with a Side of Soup
A Challenge of Earth-shattering Proportions
Keeping It Fresh
Recognizing a Cry for Help
19 The Chauffeur
A Real Somebody
20 One Call, That’s All
Extreme Makeover: Baylor Edition
21 From Their Heads and Their Hearts
Angel in the Wings
22 Saving More than a Job
From Baylor with Love
23 Preparing Young Minds 3
Thousands of Miles
To deliver thous ands of smiles The slums of Nairobi, Kenya–widely considered the most
The goal was
impoverished neighborhoods in the world–are not the place
to provide 5,000
you’d expect to find two petite American nurses. But for Cecilia,
a Baylor health care improvement leader, and Susie, a nurse
supervisor, going there was a chance to make a difference in
the lives of some of the world’s poorest children. Susie and
hygiene products, socks and shoes. In addition, Susie’s
Cecilia made the relief trip to Africa with a local charity—a
organization partnered with other charities to provide the
charity Susie founded at Baylor nearly two decades earlier that
children with meals and basic medical care, if needed, and
has since become one of the largest in North Texas.
distribute medications donated in part by Baylor.
In Kenya, Susie and Cecilia helped orphaned children, children
In the end, the pair didn’t meet their objective of helping
with AIDS, children without homes, refugee children and
5,000 children—they surpassed it, bringing smiles to the faces
children living in destitute conditions. There were 1.5 million
of 6,000 children in desperate need of aid.
people living in the slums where they worked. Flies buzzed around the children’s dirty faces and dust hung in the air. 4
Sharing a part of himse lf
After more than a decade of struggling
However, when her co-workers learned of
with a degenerative kidney disease, Angie,
her situation, three offered her a kidney and
manager of a Baylor business unit, was
even tested to be donors, including Brandon,
faced with a tough choice: get a transplant
an analyst with her unit. While Brandon was
or spend the rest of her life on dialysis.
a match, Angie was hesitant to accept such
However, she’d watched both her parents
a life-altering gift. But he wouldn’t take “no”
tied to dialysis, and she knew that wasn’t the
for an answer. When she finally accepted his
life for her.
generous offer, Brandon, who has a great
sense of humor, jokingly nicknamed the
While she had made up her
kidney he donated “Angie junior.”
mind, whether or not she
The gift has had a profound effect on their
would actually receive a
relationship. They view each other not as co-
new kidney was out of her
workers or even friends, but as real family.
hands. Angie’s hopes began to fade after
Angie’s two daughters now refer to Brandon
several of her family members were tested
as their “brother,” and he is even invited to
and none was a match.
Planning the Perfect Day Following through with a commitment
“wedding planner” and worked with
for the sake of love is something to
volunteers who offered to help with
which many people can relate. It’s also
the cake and flowers.
something Baylor social worker Tonya
The Baylor chaplain even volunteered
made possible for one couple caught in a
to perform the ceremony. However,
before the big event could take place,
A terminally ill patient and his girlfriend
the patient was transferred to an
In fact, the wedding was on Tonya’s day
of 15 years had decided to marry as soon
extended care facility. The couple was
off, allowing her to attend and make sure
as they could. But that meant getting
very upset at the prospect of moving, and
everything went off as planned.
married in the hospital—not exactly
thought that their plans for the wedding
While the circumstances surrounding
the destination location most couples
would be delayed.
the ceremony were far from ideal, Tonya
dream of when they decide to wed. When
Instead, Tonya took it upon herself to
made sure the two soul mates had their
Tonya heard their plan, she became the
coordinate the plans with the new facility.
Compassion FOR ALL The compassion of Baylor employees
Barbara first met the young woman
in severe pain. Barbara spoke with a nurse
often extends beyond shifts and hospital
in need during her Sunday school class.
at the nursesâ€™ station and convinced her to
walls. In the case of Barbara, a nuclear
The woman shared that she was having a
administer pain medication, then drove the
medicine tech, the desire to help took her
bilateral mastectomy at a non-Baylor facility
woman home and got her settled. Barbara
inside another local hospital.
and was all alone, without any family or
was told a caregiver was going to come by
friends to assist her. Making things even
later to help her.
more difficult, she was a single mom with a
The next day, the caregiver called Barbara
two-year-old daughter. Barbara couldnâ€™t just
asking for assistance. So Barbara continued
stand by and do nothing, so she planned
to provide care for the woman and her
to stop by the hospital to visit before the
child, helping with transportation, bathing,
woman was discharged.
cooking, cleaning and buying groceries.
When she arrived at the hospital, she
But most importantly, she helped provide
found the woman had already been
the hope and encouragement the woman
discharged, but had no ride home and was
needed to persevere. 7
Acquiring a condition that forced a trip
A Dark Cloud
with a Blue Lining
only to find he’d been burglarized.
to Baylor’s emergency department was
Shortly thereafter, his situation grew
just the start of a long run of bad luck for
worse when he was diagnosed with atrial
one indigent patient. Upon discharge,
fibrillation, which landed him back at Baylor.
the elderly man was referred to a charity
But that was when his luck changed.
clinic, where he was diagnosed with
Aware of his situation, the physicians
hepatitis C and cirrhosis. Over the next
on his unit contacted his daughter.
couple of years, he was in and out of the
She wanted to care for him if he could
hospital, sometimes for prolonged stays.
get to Detroit. While he didn’t have
Following one stay, he did a stint at
the means, he had doctors who were
a nursing home, where he was able to
willing to reach into their hearts and
reconnect via Facebook with his daughter,
their pockets. They gave him a plane
whom he hadn’t seen in 15 years. She
ticket and an envelope filled with
lived in Detroit and had children of her
cash. Although they expected nothing
own—grandchildren he’d never met.
in return, they received the tears of
However, that bit of good news was
joy and gratitude of an elderly man
quickly dimmed when he returned home
reunited with his long-lost family.
Delivering a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE Sandy, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) transport
her own family for part of the Christmas holidays.
nurse, didn’t think twice about saying “yes” when she
So she met the Arkansas woman and her baby for
received a phone call the day before Christmas Eve asking
the first time on Christmas Eve, right before
for her help.
assisting with the neonatal transport.
A new mother and her premature newborn in the Baylor
NICU were trying to get back home to Jonesboro, Arkansas, in time for Christmas. The surprised mom-to-be had been traveling on business when she unexpectedly went into
“It was definitely a reward and payoff when we landed at the airport in Jonesboro,” Sandy says.
labor and delivered her baby at Baylor. With all of her family
“Seeing everybody, seeing their
back in Arkansas, the new mother desperately wanted to
faces—they were just so excited.
bring her newborn home. Although she wasn’t scheduled to work, Sandy said she would help, even though it meant she would be away from
“It definitely didn’t feel like my job that day. It was truly worth it.” 9
A HERO’S Welcome Few people would be excited
been away from their families
about getting up at 6 a.m. on
for months. Kay first learned
a Saturday to go to the airport
about the incoming flight from
to meet a flight. But for Kay,
an announcement that ran in
their family members came
most of the returning troops had
an employee with Baylor’s
a local chamber of commerce
to the airport wearing T-shirts
to catch other flights. HTPN staff
HealthTexas Provider Network
publication, asking people
specially made to welcome
lent them cell phones to call
(HTPN), and more than 50 fellow to come greet the service
the troops back home. They
their families and tell them they
HTPN employees and their
members arriving at Dallas/Fort
handed out cold drinks, snacks
were back on U.S. soil...and
families, there was nothing else
Worth International Airport.
and hugs to the pleasantly
about the “welcome
they’d rather have been doing.
She emailed the word across
surprised passengers. And, of
Hundreds of weary troops
HTPN. The number of RSVPs she
course, they cheered.
were returning home from
received was overwhelming.
Since DFW Airport is only an
overseas war zones. Most had
Dozens of HTPN staff and
initial point of entry to the U.S.,
the Baylor family.
with a Side of Soup
Mia, a Baylor access services coordinator, checked in on one such patient from Cuba who didn’t speak any English. Fortunately, she spoke his native tongue and had intricate knowledge of Cuban culture. For example, after admitting him, she heard him ask his daughter to bring
North Texas is a melting pot of
his pillow and blanket. Mia knew that in Cuba, hospitals don’t give
hundreds of different cultures and
patients pillows, blankets and sheets.
home to recent arrivals from nations
This cultural awareness helped her gain the trust of his daughter who
around the world. Often, this presents
asked her to check on him when she had to leave for work. After Mia’s
additional challenges for caregivers.
shift, she went to visit him and asked if he had eaten anything because
Immigrant patients may not speak
in Cuba, patients don’t eat the hospital food. While food quality isn’t
English, and they usually carry with
a concern at Baylor, during his three days as an inpatient, Mia made
them memories of experiences with the health care system in their native land, which are not always positive.
homemade, Cuban-style chicken soup and brought it to him every day. The patient was overwhelmed by her kindness and exclaimed, “Mia is such a good person, especially her heart.”
responded to the crisis by opening
On another part of the island, Andrew
up their checkbooks. But Baylor
worked tirelessly on patients with
nurses Kathy and Lydia, and
traumatic wounds, lost limbs and other
Andrew, a wound care physician on
horrific injuries. He survived on military
the Baylor medical staff, answered
rations and slept on a cot in stifling heat
the call in person.
in an area cordoned off by razor wire. No
Parasites, HIV, open wounds,
While 7.0 may not seem like a big number, when it measures the magnitude of an earthquake, it’s devastating. That was the size of the catastrophic quake that struck Haiti in 2010. The destruction and the pleas for help from desperate victims flashed across televisions worldwide. Many people 12
matter how many patients he treated,
broken bones, tuberculosis and
there were always more.
severe infections—Kathy and
All three say the compassion of those
Lydia saw it all. The hospital where they were
around them reaffirmed their faith in
stationed was severely damaged, so patients
humanity. For many Haitians, it was three
received care in the facility’s courtyard, where
volunteers from Baylor that reaffirmed theirs.
flies buzzed around them. There was no running water or electricity. The generator was broken, so there were no fans to keep them cool. Still, the two did everything possible to provide care to newborns and others.
A Challenge of
Tyson, a Baylor health services researcher, never knows where
Tyson found a vendor that could provide hundreds of additional
his work may take him. But like any good researcher, he’s
pounds of fresh fruits and veggies per week. The produce, which
prepared to follow it wherever it goes. However, even he couldn’t
is offered at the Farm Stand along with healthy recipes, only costs
have imagined that it would lead to a job helping to manage a
shoppers around $1 per bag.
But he does more than simply pick up the phone and place
As a diabetes researcher, Tyson knows first-hand the devastation
an order: Tyson works at the Farm Stand every week. He’s even
that the disease can inflict—not only on individuals and families,
launched a research project around it, measuring factors that
but entire communities. He also knows the importance of good
enhance behavior change surrounding fruit and vegetable
nutrition, and the vital role fresh fruits and vegetables play in
intake. Hopefully, his innovative work will offer insight into
managing diabetes. That’s why he took the initiative to dramatically
better ways to help entire neighborhoods battle diabetes.
increase the availability and variety of low-cost produce offered at Baylor’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute’s Farm Stand, located in one of Dallas’ most underserved communities. 13
Recognizing a Cry for
She immediately felt he was in medical distress–possibly
Cheryl, a heart transplant
diabetic shock–so she pulled his hood back and saw that his
coordinator, had only
airway was blocked. When she went to check for a pulse, she
been working at Baylor for
discovered a Baylor patient ID bracelet on his wrist.
a few months when she
After she cleared his airway, the man roused. Cheryl gave him
demonstrated the kind of compassionate care that exemplifies
her coat and the man confirmed that he was diabetic. He had
the Baylor vision. Her day started just like any other—with an
been discharged from the hospital the previous day and had
early morning train ride to work. But upon stepping off the DART
collapsed while trying to return.
rail, Cheryl noticed a man lying on the ground with his jacket hood
Cheryl instructed the DART rail conductor to call an ambulance,
covering his face. While other passengers walked around him,
and she stayed with the man until paramedics arrived. Although
simply assuming that he was intoxicated and sleeping, Cheryl’s
many would say her actions were extraordinary, Cheryl believes
instincts as a nurse told her otherwise.
they were nothing special by Baylor standards.
A Real Somebody But the next morning, “nobody” turned out to be “somebody.”
Major surgery is a frightening prospect. It’s a time to turn to family and friends for support and comfort. But what if nobody can be there for you? That was the unfortunate
Though his shift didn’t start until 9 a.m., James came in at 6:30 a.m. to surprise her. He sat with her, offering comfort and encouragement until her procedure began at 9 a.m.
situation one elderly patient was facing—until she met James,
After the procedure, she found that an anonymous
a Baylor access services representative.
somebody had sent flowers to her room.
James was assisting her during routine check-in the day
The unassuming James doesn’t think he did anything
before her procedure. In the course of asking her the usual
exceptional. He simply sees his actions as part of his job. In
admission questions, he inquired who was going to be with her
fact, had the woman not related the story to a clinical liaison
before and after her surgery. “Nobody will,” replied the woman,
nurse prior to her discharge, his act of kindness would have
who lived alone in a retirement community.
gone unreported. 15
Baylor Edition It was Father’s Day, but
long stay in the Baylor Neonatal
pictures of the tiny patients
tion up. There to lend a helping
instead of spending it showering
Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for
and their families, creating
hammer were many of the
Dad with golf shirts and new
the infant. After going through
Baylor caregivers Amber saw
ties, Amber, a former Baylor
such a trying ordeal, Amber
When Amber’s home was de-
on a regular basis. Instead of
patient and dedicated hospital
decided that she wanted to help
stroyed by the flood, she and her
scrubs, they donned hard hats.
volunteer, was trying to salvage
other families facing similar
family were forced into a small
Instead of latex, they slipped
clothes and keepsakes from her
apartment, seriously hampering
on work gloves.
family’s flooded home.
She combined her compas-
her photographic mission. Then
For the Baylor staff involved,
Three years earlier, Amber
sion for “preemies” and her
the popular television show Ex-
nothing gave them greater
gave birth to her son who was
passion for photography.
treme Makeover: Home Edition
satisfaction than being able to
born 10 weeks early. The pre-
She began visiting the NICU
selected her family for a new
volunteer to help one of their
mature birth meant a month-
regularly and offering to snap
house built from the founda-
Like many guys, Tommy, a Baylor occupational therapist, was planning to spend his Saturday working in the yard. But not long after stepping outside, he heard the shrill squeal of tires and the thudding sound of a crash. Lying motionless on the concrete, Mark, a motorcycle accident victim, only remembers the comforting presence of a gray-haired "angel" wearing white medical gloves. The angel was Tommy. Assessing the situation, Tommy's professional experience took over. He
Angel in the
suspected an injury to the C5 or C6 vertebra, and got as much information as possible from Mark in case he lost consciousness before paramedics arrived.
Weeks later, Mark and his family chose Baylor for his
returning to work and carrying out daily activities. The day of the
rehabilitation. Incredibly, his angel was there againâ€”this time
accident, Mark knew Tommy only as a Good Samaritan. Today, he
as his therapist. Though Mark probably would never walk again,
knows him as a great neighbor, a close friend and the man who
Tommy worked closely with him both at the hospital and at his
gave him back his life.
home to improve his quality of life. He taught Mark the skills he needed to live as close to a normal life as possible, including 17
Baylor has always taken pride in offering
manager, and David, a surgeon on the
an hourglass than equipment used to
patients advanced technology. But just
Baylor medical staff, made the 6,000-mile
measure in utero heart rates. In addition,
because Baylor upgrades and replaces
trek to become technology consultants to
David taught Ukrainian surgeons how to
equipment and systems doesn’t mean
staff at the Ukrainian hospitals.
use laparoscopic equipment which had
that the technology being replaced is
The pair set up the potentially life-
been donated by a Baylor vendor.
ineffective. That’s why one Baylor Labor
saving equipment at the facilities and
After witnessing both the skill of the
and Delivery Unit donated their recently retired fetal heart monitors to three needy
Ukrainian caregivers and the lack
From Baylor with Love
hospitals in Eastern Ukraine.
of advanced tools, when Kristine and David returned home, they helped organize a sustained
Of course, having the equipment is one
trained Labor and Delivery staff how
effort through Baylor’s Faith in Action
thing; knowing how to use it is another. So
to use it. Prior to the special delivery,
Initiative to “adopt” the hospitals. Baylor
on their own time and at their own cost,
the hospitals used an arcane wooden
is continuing to send them much-needed
Kristine, a Baylor Labor and Delivery nurse
listening device that looks more like
supplies and equipment.
It’s not unusual for a patient to worry more about how their hospital stay is impacting their loved ones than they are about their own condition. That’s one reason Baylor caregivers are always focused on providing excellent service to the families of patients when they are visiting.
Misty, a pharmacy technician supervisor,
However, Misty didn’t stop there. She
took family caregiving to heart to help the
upped her already generous offer by
wife of an elderly stroke victim. The woman
volunteering to swing by on her day off and
didn’t drive and hadn’t been home for a
take the woman to the beauty parlor. After all,
week. The couple, who lived in Wylie, didn’t
“old ladies like to have their hair kept up,” the
have anyone they could call on for help. So
woman told her. When Misty picked her back
Misty, who also is a Wylie resident, offered
up from the beauty salon, she continued her
to drive the woman home. She even made
role as personal chauffeur. She drove the
arrangements to take the woman back to
grateful woman to several stores to complete
the hospital to see her husband any day she
errands before returning her to the hospital
to be with her husband. 19
One Call, Thatâ€™s All
wheelchair-bound husband, where
kitchen amenities and other
they had no furniture and virtually
household goods. In addition, many
no amenities. Sleeping on the floor
volunteers got the word out among
night after night was only worsening
their neighbors and acquaintances.
her medical issues.
As the word spread from volunteers
Baylor social work services first
to their friends, Dorothy was
contacted community service
inundated with emails from people
organizations for assistance, but
who wanted to help.
they came up empty handed. So
Within days the couple had a full-
they turned to Dorothy with Baylor
size bed with a frame and a head-
volunteer services and her army of
and footboard, a dresser, a computer
volunteers to bring hope out of the
hutch, an entertainment set, two
hospital and into the home of the
end tables and two lamps. Perhaps
Baylor volunteers are accustomed to bringing help
most important of all, they had a
and cheer to patients while inside the hospital.
It only took one email from
Baylor team on their side that came
But one patient was also in desperate need of both
Dorothy to her crew. Generous
through for them when it mattered.
while at home. She lived in an apartment with her
Baylor volunteers provided linens,
When Amanda learned that her best friendâ€™s 10-year-old niece was diagnosed with a brain tumor and would be undergoing chemotherapy, the Baylor radiology manager knew the young girl would have a tough road ahead. She was heartbroken when the child began losing her hair and had to shave her head. So Amanda decided to do something to show her support. Amanda started growing her hair out so she could make a donation
From Their Heads Their Hearts
to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for kids who have
they also decided to step up to the barberâ€™s chair to donate.
lost their hair due to illness. When two of her co-workers caught wind
In all, five Baylor staff members, and three others who were
of what she was doing and why, they decided to join her.
inspired by them, donated a total of 102 inches of hair.
All three women planned to make their gift at a special quarterly
For the kids who benefitted from their compassion, it was
event for cancer patients. Incredibly, when the time came, they were
more than a show of solidarity. It was something that made a
joined by five other women who were so moved by the gesture that
difficult journey a little easier.
As a Baylor medical
Pat suffered from debilitating
computer went on the fritz,
Sherry knew she needed it.
rheumatoid arthritis and
Sherry drove from her home in
She routinely made trips to the
is accustomed to having
worked from home. Due to her
Irving to Pat’s place in Grand
grocery store on Pat’s behalf,
arthritis, she was unable to
Prairie to pick it up and take it
ran other errands and even cut
and her co-workers rely
attend team training sessions
in for repairs.
Pat’s hair on a monthly basis.
on her to get the job done.
or have software upgrades
Like most people with
Sherry doesn’t think of what
One particular co-worker,
installed on her computer when
severe arthritis, Pat’s condition
she did as helping out a co-
though, had to rely on Sherry
needed—so Sherry brought the
impacted far more than her
worker in need. To her, helping
to be able to do her own job
training sessions and software
work life. While she was too
Pat out was just what close
installations to her. If Pat’s
proud to ask anyone for help,
friends do for one another.
Saving More than a Job 22
Preparing Young Minds It may have been a blistering hot summer day, but
The Baylor team handed out supplies donated by
thanks in part to volunteers from Baylor, 44,000
Baylor, including rulers featuring U.S. presidents,
DISD students weren’t “left out in the cold” when it
pencil packs and a list of healthy snack ideas.
came to being ready for the start of the school year.
up a sweat at the annual Mayor’s Back-to-School
“I loved seeing how happy and excited the kids were to get their school supplies,” said Debbie,
Fair—a collaboration between the City of Dallas,
an executive assistant at Baylor and one of those
state agencies, local organizations and those with
participating in the massive effort. “Some said, ‘Thank
a kind heart willing to give up part of their weekend.
you.’ Others didn’t say anything—they just had a big
At the free event, thousands of kids received school
smile, and sometimes that means more than words.”
Nine Baylor employees and volunteers worked
supplies, vision screenings, glucose screenings, dental cleanings, immunizations and haircuts. 23
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patient care. 3600 Gaston Avenue, Suite 170 • Dallas, Texas 75246 • 214.820.4071 If you would like an additional copy of “Baylor Stories,” please email Bec@BaylorHealth.edu. 24
©2011 Baylor Health Care System BHCS-703_AB 11/11