Source - Fall 2020

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Dr. Patricia


Overcomer Pioneer Difference maker

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Improving lives Up, up and away...............................................................................4 Party or no party, 125 is a special birthday..................................5 #2 in Alabama, #1 in the hearts of our patients..........................6


Tomorrow's pediatric infectious disease care today......................7 Teaming up to care for chronic wounds .......................................7 High tech pain relief........................................................................8 Around campus.................................................................................9 Heartfelt recognition......................................................................10 HH teams up with VIVA MEDICARE.......................................10 Carrying on a community tradition............................................. 11 Overcoming great odds..................................................................12 New technology for pulmonary embolisms.................................14 Get your flu shot!........................................................................... 15 Behind the mask............................................................................16 Joint replacement surgery: JUST DO IT.................................... 17 Get to know our newest physicians..............................................18 Huntsville Hospital Foundation.................................................. 20

On the cover Those who knew Patricia Martin in the early 1960s could tell she had a gift for healing. But in those days, it was almost unheard of for a black girl from rural Alabama to become a doctor. She beat the odds and recently retired from a successful career in internal medicine.


All rights reserved. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. Articles in this magazine are written by Huntsville Hospital professionals who strive to present reliable, up-to-date information, but no publication can replace the care and advice of medical professionals. Contact your physician when considering and choosing health care treatments. For more information on the editorial content of Source, please call Huntsville Hospital Public Relations at (256) 265-8317 or Huntsville Hospital Foundation at (256) 265-8077. Please contact us if you wish to have your name removed from the list to receive fundraising requests or other mailings supporting Huntsville Hospital Foundation in the future.


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A message from our CEO


he statistics of COVID-19 are reported every day. They serve as a measuring stick on the effort to defeat the virus. But it’s not the numbers that I want to mention. It’s the people who are engaged in that fight, specifically, our team at Huntsville Hospital Health System. These dedicated health professionals are focused every day on doing whatever it takes to serve our patients and our communities. We cannot say thank you enough for all that they are doing locally and regionally in responding to COVID-19. While the pandemic has earned most of the headlines this year, for the moment, I want to share some non-COVID-19 news which we believe is significant to you and the communities which we serve. We are about a year away from completion of the Orthopedic & Spine Tower on our main campus. This seven-story patient tower will help accommodate the growth in our area for surgical and medical inpatient and outpatient needs. It will include 72 private rooms and additional operating suites. We are definitely looking forward to having this new resource for our patients. On Whitesburg Drive, just down the street from our main hospital, we are opening our new Wound Care Center. Taking care of patients with wounds and injuries that are hard to heal is the mission of this specialized service. We are partnering with Healogics in this program. You may have already seen some of the promotion of HH VIVA Medicare, a new insurance product that is being offered through a partnership we have with VIVA Health, a sister company of UAB Health System. The new Medicare advantage plan will be available in 2021 for persons in

Madison, Morgan and Limestone counties. The cover story of this issue of Source is a feature on Dr. Patricia Martin who recently retired from medical practice in our community. As you will discover, her life story is quite remarkable and inspirational, both personally and professionally. We thank Dr. Martin for her longtime service to our hospital and our community. Also included in this issue is an introduction for our new chief financial officer for our Health System. Clinton Carter is a native of Madison County and we’re very pleased to have him join our team. He succeeds Kelli Powers who was recently named president of our Decatur Morgan Hospital. Thank you Kelli for your service as CFO, and welcome aboard Clinton. One of the many events impacted by the pandemic of 2020 was our intended celebration of Huntsville Hospital’s 125th anniversary. The milestone was achieved earlier this summer without any fanfare. We are grateful for the community’s ongoing support of your hospital throughout our history, and especially during the recent months. It is our privilege to serve you.

David Spillers

CEO, Huntsville Hospital Health System

David Spillers Chief Executive Officer Jeff Samz Chief Operating Officer Health Care Authority of the City of Huntsville Philip W. Bentley, Jr. Chairman Mike Goodman Vice-Chairman Frank Caprio Secretary-Treasurer Amit Arora, MD Kerry Fehrenbach Bhavani Kakani Macon Phillips, MD Beth Richardson David Smith OUR MISSION Provide high quality care and services that will improve the health of those we serve. OUR VISION To be one of the best health systems in America and consistently strive to provide clinical and service excellence. OUR VALUES Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, Accountability, Compassion and Safety

Be Safe. Be Caring. Be Kind.



Up, up and away

“Everything in the tower is tailored for our patients. It’s going to enhance every aspect of our program.” — Huntsville Hospital Surgical Service Line Administrator Catherine Brown

Left, Surgical Service Line Administrator Catherine Brown surveys progress on the tower's soaring main lobby. Above, an architect's rendering of the completed lobby.


untsville Hospital’s skyline-altering Orthopedic & Spine Tower is on track to open next summer. Construction on the seven-story, 375,000-squarefoot tower is well past the halfway point. Crews from Robins & Morton, the general contractor, are busy installing the remaining wall panels, windows and roofing. Inside, workers are turning attention to elevators, ceilings, flooring, tile, cabinets and other finishing details. An important milestone happened in August when crews safely raised the tower’s 50-ton pedestrian bridge into place over Gallatin Street. The enclosed walkway ties the tower to Huntsville Hospital. The construction footprint takes an entire city block at the corner of Gallatin Street and Sivley Road. The 24 operating rooms will cover two floors of the new tower for a wide range of spine, orthopedic and sports medicine procedures including: • Knee, hip and shoulder replacement • Ligament and tendon reconstruction • Spinal fusion • Discectomy • Spinal decompression • Arthroscopy • Repair of fractured bones


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Patients will come directly to the admitting area in the new tower and remain in the building during their entire stay, including inpatient physical therapy if prescribed. Several post-surgical nursing units and programs currently located in Huntsville Hospital will move across the street to the tower. That will free up thousands of square feet for the hospital’s nationally recognized cardiology program and other services. Chapman Sisson Architects worked with hospital leaders to think through every detail of the new tower. The 72 patient rooms are customized for orthopedic and spine surgery patients. Because most patients have limited mobility after surgery, bathrooms are close to the bed and recliner. Rooms are also oversized to accommodate walkers to reduce the risk of falls. In the fifth-floor Joint Camp physical therapy room, patients will exercise new knees and hips while enjoying incredible views of downtown and Monte Sano. “Everything in the tower is tailored for our patients,” said Huntsville Hospital Surgical Service Line Administrator Catherine Brown. “It’s going to enhance every aspect of our program.”

Party or no party, 125 is a special birthday Huntsville Hospital operated from a series of houses until 1926, when this 50-bed facility opened. It boasted all the modern amenities of the time, including one of the only elevators in the city.


ometimes birthday parties get postponed or canceled, like the celebration that Huntsville Hospital had planned for 2020. It’s not every year that you turn 125, but thankfully it’s not every year that you have to deal with an uninvited guest named COVID-19. We all know, however, that the pandemic of 2020 has disrupted a lot more than celebrations. Regardless, it’s appropriate to note Huntsville Hospital’s 125 years of service to our community. While the last seven months have indeed been challenging, this season is not unprecedented in our history. In 1918, we dealt with another pandemic — the Spanish flu. Like COVID-19, the Spanish flu was worldwide. But unlike today, the medical resources were not nearly as advanced. There were few physicians in our community; ICUs with ventilators were non-existent; medications were limited in supply; personal

protective equipment was minimal; and testing capabilities were simply not available. The Spanish flu was the deadliest pandemic in history, infecting an estimated 500 million people worldwide — about one-third of the planet's population — and killing an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. Huntsville was not spared, but the community managed to survive along with its fledgling hospital. Since opening our doors in 1895, Huntsville Hospital has made it through pandemics, a national economic collapse, two World Wars, and a whole lot more. Huntsville Hospital is a survivor. You have to be to reach 125 years. You have to have people who are more committed to the mission than to their own success. When you consider the countless thousands of people who have served our patients over this period, you can’t conclude anything

less. It’s an unending relay in which generations of dedicated employees and physicians have taken care of generations of families. Looking back, we have come far, yet some things seem very similar. A snapshot from 1925, for example, shows the construction of a 50-bed facility on Madison Street. Today’s image might be the seven-story Orthopedic & Spine Tower being built on our campus. The times have changed as have the names and faces, but the goal hasn’t. Huntsville Hospital is a community hospital that exists to serve our community with the best health care that we can provide. While we did not have an opportunity to properly celebrate our 125th anniversary, we can pause for a moment and say, “Happy Birthday, Huntsville Hospital, and here’s to 125 more.”


#2 in Alabama

#1 in the hearts of our patients


untsville Hospital has been named the best hospital in North Alabama, and No. 2 in the state, by U.S. News & World Report. We were also recognized as High Performing in 8 of the 10 adult procedures or conditions evaluated: • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair • Aortic valve surgery • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) • Colon cancer surgery • Heart bypass surgery • Heart failure • Hip replacement • Knee replacement For its 2020-21 Best Hospitals rankings, U.S. News evaluated all 113 acute-care hospitals in Alabama. Only UAB Hospital in Birmingham was rated higher than Huntsville Hospital. The rankings are based on several factors including risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, patient experience surveys, patient volumes and nurse staffing levels. “This recognition is evidence of the great work done by thousands of Huntsville Hospital employees in the midst of unprecedented challenges,” said Tracy Doughty, Senior Vice President of Operations. Huntsville Hospital has the region’s largest

and most comprehensive cardiovascular services program, with more than 60 physicians and 1,000 staff professionals devoted to cardiac care. Our orthopedic surgery program is also busy, performing about 2,300 joint replacement procedures in a typical year. Next summer, the program will move to its new home in the Orthopedic & Spine Tower now under construction along Gallatin Street. Huntsville Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is an independently certified, medically supervised exercise and education program designed to improve quality of life for people with COPD and other chronic lung conditions. Our standardized, evidence-based colorectal surgical care has multiple benefits including shorter hospital stays, fewer readmissions due to complications, and less risk of surgical site infections. Most colon cancer procedures at the hospital are performed using the da Vinci XI robotic surgery system. The da Vinci has a greater range of motion than the human hand, allowing for more precision in hard-to-reach spaces. U.S. News & World Report is considered a global leader in quality rankings. The Best Hospitals rankings were introduced in 1989 and are updated annually to help consumers find the best care for themselves and their loved ones.

The evaluation also includes data from Madison Hospital and Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.


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Tomorrow’s pediatric infectious disease care today


he young patient’s symptoms are consistent with measles. Kelli Stringer, MD, a board-certified pediatric hospitalist at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, is confident about her diagnosis. But she needs to be 100 percent sure. When she clicks on the bedside computer, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UAB Hospital appears. As Dr. Stringer examines the patient, state-of-the-art telemedicine tools transmit live images and data to the specialist looking on from Birmingham. From 90 miles away, the specialist can see inside the patient’s mouth, observe a magnified view of the red blotches on her skin, listen to her heartbeat. Along with confirming a diagnosis, physicians involved in the Huntsville Hospital-UAB Hospital telemedicine partnership are using video conferencing to develop treatment plans and monitor the progress of children hospitalized with infectious diseases ranging from measles, mumps and chickenpox to hepatitis, staph and meningitis.

Dr. Kelli Stringer, a pediatric hospitalist at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, demonstrates the new telemedicine system.

“This new program is an amazing opportunity for patients on our Pediatric floor and Pediatric ICU to get a ‘close up’ encounter with some of the country’s leading pediatric infectious disease experts,” said Elizabeth Sanders, vice president of operations at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. “It’s another way we can continue to provide excellence in pediatric care.”

Teaming up to care for chronic wounds


new wound care clinic on the edge of the Huntsville Hospital campus is primed for a late October opening. Managed by Healogics in partnership with Huntsville Hospital, the clinic will provide physiciandriven care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with chronic, non-healing wounds. It will occupy a building on Whitesburg Drive that last housed the hospital’s Employee Assistance Program. Other wound care centers include Athens-Limestone Hospital, Helen Keller Hospital and Marshall Medical Centers. Another is under construction at Decatur Morgan Hospital. Dr. Timothy Howard, a longtime family physician, will be medical director of the Huntsville clinic. The clinic will serve those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps, and wounds that haven't healed within a reasonable time frame. The hospital's current Wound Care Clinic in the 420 Lowell Drive professional building and hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Our former Employee Assistance Program building on Whitesburg Drive is being converted to a Healogics Wound Care Center.

services at Franklin Medical Tower will both relocate to Whitesburg Drive. The clinic is opening in a recently renovated, freestanding clinic on Whitesburg Drive and Longwood. With new equipment, more space and parking this new location will help provide a better patient experience for this growing program.


Piloting new relief for back pain “With the stimulator, I’ve had a tremendous improvement in pain and quality of life.”

Tony DeRossett

Tony DeRossett


s a United States Naval Flight Officer, Tony DeRossett served his country traveling at speeds greater than 1,300 miles per hour in the cockpit of the world’s fastest fighter jets. DeRossett logged more than 3,000 hours of rigorous flights, which over time took a substantial toll on his spine. The continual jarring force of flight maneuvers ultimately compromised the discs and vertebrae, resulting in severe back and neck pain. “Many people don’t realize the strain it takes on your spine when you’re up there, twisting and turning,” DeRossett said. He had two spinal surgeries which allowed him to continue flying for a few years, but the pain never completely dissipated. He ultimately retired from the service and moved to Huntsville. DeRossett consulted with Dr. Ronald Collins at Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants and Huntsville Hospital. Dr. Collins is an anesthesiology and pain management physician specializing in the minimallyinvasive treatment of common spinal, nerve and joint conditions. Dr. Collins diagnosed DeRossett with degenerative joint disease and offered non-surgical treatment options including spinal injections and radiofrequency nerve ablation. These treatments provided relief initially, but the pain kept coming back. At that point, Dr. Collins recommended trialing an innovative therapy called neuromodulation, which controls pain through a small implanted device called a neuro-stimulator. The stimulator acts like a pacemaker for the spine, disrupting pain signals


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traveling between the spinal cord and brain. “Impulses travel from the device to the spine over thin insulated wires called leads,” Dr. Collins explained. “The leads deliver mild electrical impulses to an area near the spine interrupting pain signals.” Neuromodulation offers individualized pain relief where patients control the settings to meet their unique needs. “For the appropriate patient, a stimulator can provide long-term therapy for chronic pain conditions and can help reduce the need for oral pain medication,” said Dr. Collins. Dr. Collins coordinated with colleague Dr. Thomas Kraus to trial Medtronic’s new Intellis stimulator. Unlike most medical procedures, patients are able to try the technology first to experience how well the neuro-stimulator relieves their pain. “After my first good night’s sleep, I was sold,” said DeRossett. A few weeks later, Dr. Kraus implanted the permanent device at Huntsville Hospital. “With the stimulator, I’ve had a tremendous improvement in pain and quality of life,” DeRossett said. “I was miserable for a long time, and I didn’t need to be.” His stimulator works off Bluetooth technology and is paired with a small wireless handheld device. Dr. John Roberts, also with Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants, implanted the first Intellis stimulator in Alabama at Huntsville Hospital in October 2017.

Around campus COVID collaboration

Huntsville Hospital, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and iRepertoire Inc. are working together to develop a treatment for COVID-19 until a vaccine is available. Patients are asked to provide blood samples at four points during their illness to gauge how their immune system is responding to the virus. “By understanding the immune system of patients who have effectively fought the pathogen, we can pinpoint the exact identity of cells that effectively eliminate the virus out of millions of possibilities,” says Jian Han, MD, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer of iRepertoire. The proteins that these cells produce, known as antibodies, can potentially serve as a therapeutic vaccine that is administered after infection.

Carter named Health System CFO

Clinton Carter, who served as Alabama state finance director under Govs. Kay Ivey and Robert Bentley, is Huntsville Hospital Health System’s new chief financial officer (CFO). Carter spent the past two years as CFO of the University of North Carolina System, which includes 16 public universities, UNC Hospital and two medical schools.

Raising the bar for bariatric surgery

Bright idea

Huntsville Hospital’s efforts to reduce energy consumption are being praised by the Association of Energy Engineers. The association awarded the hospital its 2020 Energy Project of the Year prize for retrofitting more than 1,100 light fixtures at the Heart Center with long-lasting LED bulbs. They are brighter than incandescent bulbs while slashing the Heart Center’s lighting power usage by almost 80 percent. Huntsville Hospital Health System Energy Manager Patrick Curtis accepted the award on the hospital’s behalf.

Huntsville Hospital’s bariatric surgery program has been certified as the region’s only UnitedHealthcare Optum Bariatric Center of Excellence. Centers of Excellence programs generally have a higher success rate, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays following surgery. The bariatric surgery program was also recently re-certified as a BlueCross BlueShield Blue Distinction Center Plus for expertise and efficiency in specialty care, and with the Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Accreditation & Quality Improvement Program.

Bariatric surgeons (left to right) Jay Suggs, Ravindra Mailapur, Daniel Boyett and Darrell Doucette.


Heartfelt recognition

HH teams up with




untsville Hospital’s cardiac surgery program has again been ranked among America’s 50 best by Healthgrades. We are the only hospital in Alabama to make the top 50 list for cardiac surgery for six straight years. Here are our other 2020 clinical recognitions from Healthgrades: • Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award for seven years in a row (2014-2020) • Top 5 percent in the nation for cardiac surgery for seven years in a row (2014-2020) • Five-star recipient for coronary bypass surgery for 13 years in a row (2008-2020) • Five-star recipient for valve surgery in 2020 • Five-star recipient for defibrillator procedures in 2020 “I am thrilled to see our cardiac surgery program recognized for the incredible care our staff provides,” said Huntsville Hospital Heart Center President Josh Hewiett. “Our region is fortunate to have a five-star cardiac surgery program.” Each year, Healthgrades analyzes the performance of nearly 4,500 U.S. hospitals as measured by risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates. This analysis identifies the top-performing hospitals where outcomes are statistically significantly better than expected.

“Our region is fortunate to have a five-star cardiac surgery program.” 10

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untsville Hospital Health System and UAB Health System (UABHS) are partnering to expand health insurance options for seniors and others with Medicare in North Alabama. Together, the organizations are offering a new Medicare Advantage product through VIVA HEALTH, a sister company of UABHS. Starting in 2021, the new Medicare Advantage product will put patients, doctors, hospitals and the patients’ insurance company all on the same team, with the shared goal of better health for patients. VIVA MEDICARE is introducing three Medicare Advantage plans cobranded with Huntsville Hospital Health System in Limestone, Madison, and Morgan counties. The health system’s facilities and clinics and the affiliated North Alabama Managed Care, Inc. (NAMCI) network of physicians comprise the core network for the plans, which offer lower out-of-pocket costs and close coordination of members’ health care needs. The relationship among Huntsville Hospital Health System, the physicians and VIVA MEDICARE makes the new plan choices unique in the Huntsville area. All of the cobranded VIVA MEDICARE 2021 plan choices in the Huntsville area offer primary care visits at a $0 copay, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, and extra benefits beyond what traditional Medicare offers including dental care, eyewear, over-the-counter items, and access to local gyms and at-home fitness programs through the Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise Program. Medicare recipients have from Oct. 15 until Dec. 7 to make their health plan choices for 2021 under Medicare’s annual open enrollment period. For more information about the new plans, call VIVA MEDICARE toll-free at 1-888-8308482. TTY users dial 711. Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., 7 days a week (Apr. 1 - Sept. 30: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Mon. - Fri.).

Carrying on a community tradition


untsville Hospital is pleased to continue providing critical support to local nonprofit agencies through our Jean Wessel Templeton Community Heath Initiative (CHI). Since 1996, the CHI program has awarded $11.3 million in community health grants to dozens of nonprofit organizations working to keep Madison County residents healthy. This year’s recipients will share $500,000. Many nonprofit agencies operate on shoestring budgets, and CHI funding is crucial to fulfilling their missions – whether it’s free health care for the homeless or an exercise program proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. “Considering the significant challenges that have resulted from COVID-19, we are very pleased that Huntsville Hospital can offer these grants,” said Beth Richardson, co-chair of the Community Health Initiative Committee and a member of the hospital’s governing board, the Health Care Authority. “We know it’s an extremely difficult time for all notfor-profit agencies.”

Community Health Initiative grant recipient Thrive Alabama has partnered with Huntsville Hospital to offer drive-through COVID-19 testing throughout Madison County.

Here’s a rundown of how our 2020-21 grant recipients intend to use their funding: • ARC of Madison County – $16,500 to provide gap coverage for health needs within the disabled population. • CASA of Madison County – $47,500 to support the Safety Net program, which allows aging and homebound seniors to age in place safely. • Community Free Clinic – $100,000 to continue providing medical care to uninsured residents of Madison County. • Community Free Dental Clinic – $40,000 to continue providing free dental care to low-income, uninsured adults in Madison County. • First Stop – $10,500 to provide first aid, dental and optical needs to unsheltered and underserved individuals in Madison County. • Free 2 Teach – $5,000 to provide area school teachers with free paper towels, facial tissue, disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes, soap and hand sanitizer for their classrooms. • HEALS – $72,500 to provide medical, dental and optometry care to underserved children at Huntsville schools. • New Hope Children’s Clinic – $75,500 to provide children in southeast Madison County with access to affordable, comprehensive health care. • Rock Steady Boxing – $27,500 to support a non-contact boxing program that has proven clinically effective in delaying the progression of Parkinson’s disease. • Thrive Alabama – $10,000 to support an outreach program that sends medical providers to homeless organizations around Huntsville. • Village of Promise – $10,000 to support the Infant University program for at-risk children. • WellStone Behavioral Health – $85,000 to expand behavioral health outpatient services to clients ages 3 to 18 at local schools.


Overcoming great odds

A Eugene and Earnestine Martin instilled a love of learning in their children.

Patricia Martin with her grandfather in 1979.

Dr. Martin's UAB nursing school graduation photo.


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lmost 60 years later, the memories still sting. Dr. Patricia A. Martin can picture the children spitting at her from the whites-only school bus. She can hear the hospital supervisor suggesting that she forget about caring for patients and stick to cleaning bed pans. Indignities like these were common for black Alabamians in the late 1950s and early ‘60s – but that didn’t make them any less painful. Fortunately, Martin had great role models at home who refused to let her give up on her dreams of working in science or health care. Her parents, Eugene and Earnestine Martin, spent a big chunk of their modest yearly farming profits on schoolbooks for Martin and her seven brothers and sisters. “My mother,” she said, “knew that education was the only way out of what we were denied back then as black individuals.” After earning her nursing degree and working for several years as a registered nurse, Martin felt called to do more. She put herself through medical school and chose internal medicine as her specialty, showing such promise that she was appointed chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital/University Health Center. Martin went on to become both the first female and first African-American hospitalist physician at Huntsville Hospital. She later opened a thriving internal medicine practice at HH Physician Care – Lowell Drive. She retired in July. Even as a small child in Orrville, Ala., a hardscrabble farming community near Selma, Martin seemed destined to become a doctor. One of her earliest memories is making a popsicle-stick splint for a chicken with a broken leg. Despite her obvious gifts for healing, it was rare in those days for a black person to practice as a physician in Alabama. “I’d never seen a black doctor growing up,” Martin says. “I didn’t even know that was a possibility for me. During career day at my school, nurses and teachers were presented as the options for girls.” Martin usually rose before dawn to help with laundry and milking cows. When the morning chores were done, she would walk several miles to school and spend all day learning. After school, she had to hustle home to pick cotton. The experience honed a strong work ethic. In nursing school at UAB, Martin studied and volunteered to spend Saturdays in the lab practicing dissection while other students went to parties. The path to becoming a physician was long, and there were times Martin considered giving up. But she believes God sent special people like Marjorie Edwards into her life to keep her on track.

Martin met Edwards in the early 1980s while inquiring about medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit. Edwards, a university counselor, informed her that she would have to pass anatomy, inorganic chemistry and more before even applying. At the time, Martin was in her late 20s and working as an intensive care nurse. “I said to Mrs. Edwards, ‘My God, I’ll be almost 40 years old by the time I’m an attending physician,’” she recalled. “I’ll never forget her reply. She said, ‘Young lady, you’re going to be 40 anyway. The only question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to be a 40-year-old doctor or a 40-year-old nurse.’” “That advice affected the rest of my life. It was truly a lightbulb moment.” Martin had to give up her nursing job – and only source of income – to focus all her energy on studying for medical school. Money was so tight that she would hunt for aluminum cans on the Wayne State campus.

"I can’t say I’ve been a perfect doctor, but I can say that I did the best I could for every patient that I encountered."

{continued on page 14}

r ith othe . m left) w o tes fr a u d d n , seco ool gra (top row ity medical sch in rt a M Dr. nivers State U Wayne

Dr. Martin with her parents, siblings, niec nephews du es and ring a family reunion in 19 77.


{continued from page 13}

Before coming to Huntsville Hospital, Dr. Martin worked at Sinai Hospital in Detroit.

Dr. Patricia Martin at a medical school graduation party.

“The other students thought my backpack was full of text books; it was actually soda cans that I could sell for about 10 cents apiece to pay for groceries.” When she finally earned her MD degree in 1988, she chose to go by her maiden name — Dr. Martin — as a tribute to her parents. “I thought I owed that to them,” she said, “for their hard work and the values they instilled in me.” Dr. Martin joined Huntsville Hospital’s then-new North Alabama Hospitalists program in 2008 and quickly rose to co-medical director. Hospitalists are physicians who only care for patients in a hospital. “Day after day, week after week, patient after patient, I had to explain what a hospitalist does,” said Dr. Martin. “It could be frustrating, but it was a perfect fit for me because I love educating people.” Thanks to her pioneering efforts, North Alabama Hospitalists is now the biggest program of its kind in the region with almost 50 hospitalist physicians providing roundthe-clock care at Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital. “At this point in life, I feel satisfied,” said Dr. Martin. “I can’t say I’ve been a perfect doctor, but I can say that I did the best I could for every patient that I encountered. I thank God for the privilege of being a doctor.”

New technology for pulmonary embolisms


untsville Hospital continues to invest in the latest technology and evidence-based treatments to improve lives. One recent addition is the Inari FlowTriever, the first FDAapproved mechanical thrombectomy device for treating pulmonary embolisms. The device helps physicians remove life-threatening blood clots from the pulmonary arteries that deliver blood to the lungs. The procedure typically restores normal blood flow and provides immediate symptom relief. Some patients improve so quickly that they don’t even require an ICU stay. “This device can be used in patients who are at high risk of bleeding, such as post-operative patients who represent about 30 percent of the pulmonary embolism population,” said Dana Tomalty, MD, a Huntsville Hospital interventional radiologist. The FlowTriever device has even been used to successfully remove blood clots from COVID-19 patients, Dr. Tomalty said.


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Dr. Dana Tomalty is a senior member of our interventional radiologist group.

Flu and COVID-19 are both circulating ... so get your flu shot!


all 2020 is not the year to skip your flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as infectious disease experts, warn this fall may be precarious as both flu and COVID-19 will be circulating. According to the CDC, efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. “There has never been a more important year to get the flu vaccination,” stressed Urgent Team Chief Medical Officer Matthew Browning, MD. “With many states continuing to show high rates of COVID-19 infection, risking contracting both the COVID-19 and flu virus this season may lead to serious medical complications.” While there is currently not a vaccination for COVID-19, there is a flu vaccine and it has many benefits. Although a flu vaccination will not protect you from COVID-19 — and it’s not a guarantee you won’t get the flu — the vaccine has been shown to reduce the severity of flu. “Staying healthy by getting a flu vaccination this year will also help to conserve potentially scarce health care resources,” Browning explained. “September and October are the best times to be vaccinated to obtain immunity throughout the flu season,” Browning urged. All five Huntsville Hospital Urgent Care centers now offer the 2020-2021 flu vaccination for the A (H3N2), A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses, including the high dose for patients 65 and up. For more information about the flu visit:

The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot. Here are the top reasons: • Decreases your chances of getting the flu by more than half. • Even if you do catch the flu, it can make symptoms milder. • Last year’s flu shot doesn’t count. The virus from last year might not be the same as this year’s vaccination. • By getting vaccinated, you’ll slow the spread of the flu virus and help protect those around you.

#1 way to avoid the flu? Get your flu shot!

 Walk in or schedule online with Hold My Spot®

Five Locations


Behind the mask Devin Rudd

Meredith Pettey

Christy Goodwin


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Devin Rudd, LPN, has spent the past two years caring for orthopedic trauma patients at Huntsville Hospital. Everything changed this spring when her unit was converted to COVID-19 care. “Treating these patients is the most humbling thing I have ever experienced because they have no face-to-face contact with family and friends. For the time they are in the hospital, we are their family.” It’s a responsibility she takes seriously. Orthopedic Trauma Unit Director Jennifer Williams says Rudd has even set up Zoom video calls to make sure COVID-19 patients can see and hear their loved ones. “The families and patients are Devin’s focus without fail,” Williams said.

How does COVID-19 affect our kids? What can parents do to keep kids safe? These are some of the questions Meredith Pettey, RN, has faced while working in our Pediatric Emergency Department. “We had to develop a game plan of how to separate patients when they visit the ER,” said Pettey. The plan included dividing the Pediatric ER into two areas: one for potential COVID-19 patients; the other for kids with injuries or other illnesses. Pettey implemented a new triage screening area and also facilitates staff education training, including up-to-date information on COVID-19 as it is released. Thanks to Pettey and her co-workers, parents who bring their child to our Pediatric ER can have a peace of mind knowing their most prized possession is in capable hands.

Meet Christy Goodwin, lead respiratory therapist at Madison Hospital. Her manager, Lavonia Dickerson, says Goodwin has an amazing work ethic. “Christy is always willing and available to help with any task and will rise to any challenge.” As she finished the necessary therapies for her COVID-19 patients, Goodwin took time to care for them in other ways like combing hair or helping with brushing teeth. Asked why she wanted to become a respiratory therapist, Goodwin says it stems from a deep desire to help others — not only her patients but their families and her co-workers. “I love being part of such a great team at Madison Hospital,” she said. “It helps me strive to always do my best.”

Joint replacement surgery: JUST DO IT.


olanda Davis had her first joint replacement surgery in 2016 after degenerative osteoarthritis destroyed the cartilage in her left hip. About a year ago, her right hip started acting up. A dull ache soon progressed to shooting pains. At 60, Davis found herself hobbling around with a cane. The Huntsville resident knew she probably needed a second hip replacement but wanted to try a non-surgical fix first. When stem cell injections provided “zero relief,” Davis went to The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) on the Huntsville Hospital campus. X-rays confirmed

that the cartilage in her right hip was almost gone. “As soon as they showed me the X-ray, I knew I couldn’t put off surgery any longer,” she said. Davis chose to have the procedure done by TOC orthopedic surgeon Christopher Parks, MD, based on “rave reviews” from a friend. Then COVID-19 arrived in North Alabama, and Davis hesitated. She wondered if it would be safe to have joint replacement surgery in the middle of a pandemic. But when she reported to Madison Hospital on July 21, the surgical team’s

obvious commitment to safety and cleanliness eased her mind. “Once I met the staff, I wasn’t concerned at all,” Davis said. “They were beyond great and made me feel very safe.” Dr. Parks used the anterior surgical approach, accessing Davis’ damaged hip joint from the front which allowed for a smaller incision and less muscle trauma. Barely a month later, she is walking on her new titanium hip without a cane and getting stronger every day. “I tell people now that there’s no reason to put off joint replacement surgery,” Davis said. “Just do it.”

Yolanda Davis feels good as new since hip replacement surgery. For the first time in months, she's walking without pain.

Focused on a better you 256-539-2728


GET TO KNOW OUR NEWEST PHYSICIANS More than 800 physicians have privileges to see patients at Huntsville Hospital. Here are some of the physicians who have joined our medical staff in 2020.

Noaman Ahmad, MD Specialty: Internal Medicine Practice name: North Alabama Hospitalists Medical school: Khyber Medical College, Pakistan Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Sujatha Baddam, MD Specialty: Internal Medicine Practice name: North Alabama Hospitalists Medical school: MNR Medical College, India Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Katherine Harkess, MD Specialty: OB/GYN Practice name: Women4Women Medical School: University of Louisville School of Medicine Residency: Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Grant Harrison, MD Specialty: Pathology Practice name: Pathology Associates Medical School: UAB School of Medicine Residency: Duke University Medical Center Fellowships: University of Virginia Health System

and Mayo Clinic Board certifications: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology,


Vani Basireddygari, MD Specialty: Internal Medicine Practice name: North Alabama Hospitalists Medical school: Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and

Research Centre, India Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Kent W. Boydstun II, MD Specialty: Family Medicine with Obstetrics Practice name: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus Medical School: Medical University of the Americas,

Nevis, West Indies Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Zohra Chaudhry, MD Specialty: Transplant Infectious Diseases/

General Infectious Diseases Practice name: Alabama Infectious Disease Center Medical School: Lahore Medical and Dental College, Pakistan Residency: Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center Fellowship: Henry Ford Hospital Board certifications: Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease

Ashlyn Everett, MD Specialty: Radiation Oncology Practice name: Alliance Cancer Care Medical school: University of Alabama at Birmingham Residency: University of Alabama at Birmingham


FALL 2020

Kevin Heath, MD Specialty: Occupational/Preventative Medicine Practice name: Occupational Health Group Medical school: Tulane University School of Medicine Residency: Carraway Methodist Medical Center

Danielle Henson, DO Specialty: Family Medicine Practice name: HH Physician Care Airport Road Medical School: Pikeville College School of

Osteopathic Medicine Residency: University of Alabama Family Medicine Board certifications: Family Medicine

Timothy M. Howard, MD Specialty: Family Medicine Practice name: HH Wound Care Clinic Medical school: University of Alabama School of Medicine Residency: Richland Memorial Hospital/USC School

of Medicine Board certification: Family Medicine

Jeremy Johnson, MD Specialty: Family Medicine Practice name: UAB Department of Family Medicine

Residency Program Medical School: UAB School of Medicine Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus Fellowship: UT – Jackson Emergency Medicine Board certification: American Board of Medical Specialties

Rachel Jones, DO Specialty: Primary Care Practice name: Huntsville Hospital Physician Care

at Madison (Lanier Road) Medical School: Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Residency: Martin Army Community Hospital Family Medicine Board certification: Family Medicine

Sharad Suryakant Malavade, MD, PhD Specialty: Infectious Diseases Practice name: Alabama Infectious Disease Center Medical school: Terna Medical College,

University of Mumbai, India Residency: Brandon Regional Hospital Fellowship: University Hospitals Case Western Reserve University Board certification: Internal Medicine

John Paul McLendon, MD Specialty: Pediatrics Practice name: Huntsville Hospital Pediatric Hospitalists Medical school: University of South Alabama Residency: UAB School of Medicine Board certifications: Pediatrics

Elizabeth Swartout, MD Specialty: OB/GYN Practice name: Huntsville Hospital OB/GYN Medical School: University of South Alabama College

of Medicine Residency: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Danielle Spallin, DO Specialty: OB/GYN Practice name: OB Hospitalist and OB Emergency

Department, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children Medical school: Touro College Residency: Saint Barnabas Medical Center Board certification: Obstetrics and Gynecology

Armanda Tatsas, MD Specialty: Pathology Practice name: Pathology Associates Medical School: Louisiana State University Residency: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Board certifications: Anatomic and Clinical

Pathology, Cytopathology

Daniel Osula, MD Specialty: Urology Practice name: Urology Specialists Medical School: UAB School of Medicine Residency: UAB School of Medicine

Jefferson Trupp, MD Specialty: Radiation Oncology Practice name: Alliance Cancer Care Medical School: University of South Florida

College of Medicine Residency: Duke University Medical Center Board certifications: Radiation Oncology,

Therapeutic Radiology

Larissa Pierce, MD Specialty: Family Medicine Practice name: North Alabama Hospitalists Medical School: American University of the Caribbean,

St. Maarten Residency: UAB-Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Charles Prickett, MD Specialty: Internal Medicine Practice name: North Alabama Hospitalists Medical School: University of Alabama School of Medicine Residency: Carraway Methodist Medical Center Board certification: Internal Medicine

Benjamin Shepherd, MD Specialty: Vascular Surgery Practice name: Valley Vascular Consultants Medical School: University of South Alabama Residency: University of Mississippi Medical Center Fellowship: University of Mississippi Medical Center

Morgan Tucker, MD Specialty: OB/GYN Practice name: OBGYN Associates Medical school: University of South Alabama College

of Medicine Residency: University of Kentucky College of Medicine Board certification: Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kevin Tyler, MD Specialty: Trauma/General Surgery Practice name: HH Surgical Associates Medical school: Medical College of Georgia Residency: Medical University of South Carolina Fellowship: UAB Board certification: General Surgery

Jessy Walia, MD Specialty: Neurology Practice name: Neurology Consultants of Huntsville Medical School: Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and

Hospital, India Residency: Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Fellowship: University of Pennsylvania Board certification: Neurology


Coming together in a time of crisis The community has rallied behind Huntsville and Madison Hospitals and our frontline caregivers in an amazing way during this time of increased need. Generous individuals, businesses and organizations have contributed essential PPE, homemade masks, meals and more to benefit hospital workers. And, generous donors have contributed more than $900,000 toward Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s Emergency Assistance Fund to help ensure our hospitals are equipped, ready and responsive to this health care crisis.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of food, PPE and words of affirmation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our community rallied around us during a time where we needed them most. Thank you for keeping our bellies full when we didn't have time to pack a lunch. Thank you for every thread you stitched to help us be better protected. Most of all, thank you for showering us with your appreciation and gratitude. Oftentimes, our department can be overlooked, but our staff has felt the support from our community like never before and it truly helped give us the energy to continue to push onward. Thank you!” — Leslie Weismiller,

Huntsville Hospital Environmental Services, Operations Manager of Nursing Services

Because of you, we have...

• Raised more than $900,000 to support our hospitals, community testing efforts and caregivers • Purchased more than $315,000 worth of N95 masks, isolation gowns and needed equipment to care for our community • Provided almost $64,000 in employee assistance • Coordinated the delivery of more than 10,600 meals • Distributed more than 6,670 homemade masks More than 250 generous companies and organizations have provided meals, masks and more for Huntsville and Madison Hospitals. Here is just a small glimpse of this amazing outpouring of community support. The congregation of First Missionary Baptist Church Huntsville donates $5,000 to support the spiritual needs of frontline caregivers through the HH Chaplaincy program.

Mayfair Church of Christ drops off care packages.


FALL 2020

United Launch Alliance provides 5,000 N95 masks to keep HHHS caregivers and patients safe.

The Whitworth family donates coffee and snacks for Labor & Deliver, OBED and NICU teams.

The Temple B’nai Sholom congregation feeds the Fever & Flu Clinic testing team.

The Huntsville Chinese Association supplies almost 400 meals to Huntsville and Madison Hospitals.

The Patel family donates more than 350 meals from their area restaurants within just the first two months of the pandemic.

The Huntsville India Association feeds the entire night shift at Madison Hospital. Parkway Scrubs gifts face masks.

BAPS Charities provides $2,000 to benefit the Emergency Assistance Fund.

In Bloom Floral Design donates a total of $3,345 raised through its white bow campaign.

Raytheon Technologies donates $25,000 and 1,000 face shields to support frontline caregivers.

Want to help combat COVID and make a difference for your community hospital? Visit to get involved.

A lasting legacy: Helen Rose Ream Helen Rose Ream passed away at the age of 91. She had lost her husband Charles 16 years before. After providing for nieces and nephews, her church, and Charles’ alma mater, Helen bequeathed more than $434,000 to Huntsville Hospital — one of the largest individual gifts Huntsville Hospital Foundation has ever received. These funds are providing needed equipment for many departments across not-for-profit Huntsville Hospital, including Surgery, Anesthesia, the Regional Neonatal ICU, the Stem Cell Transplant Clinic and the Pathology Lab. “This gift came as such a surprise to the Foundation. We only wish we could have known about it during Helen’s lifetime so we could have shared our deep appreciation,” said

HHF President Sarah Savage-Jones. Helen also gave generously of her time during her life. She was a devoted Huntsville Hospital Auxiliary member, working in the gift shop and the medical records department for many years. According to Pat Legg, director of volunteer services, “Helen’s consistent service instilled in her a deep love for Huntsville Hospital and its employees and for the services it provides.” Helen Ream will be memorialized

with a plaque in the Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children’s Admitting/Surgical waiting area honoring her generous gift. There are multiple planned giving options available, and any amount makes a difference. To learn how you can make a lasting legacy for your community hospital, please visit huntsvillehospitalfoundation. org/plannedgiving or contact HHF Planned Giving Officer Lynne Berry Vallely at Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers, Audrey Gustafson, Huntsville Hospital Director of Volunteer Services Pat Legg, Dr. Mark Sapp, and Huntsville Hospital Foundation President Sarah Savage-Jones with a mock-up of the plaque that now hangs in honor of Helen Ream’s legacy.


A Mile of Miracles Swim for Melissa and Miracle Bash are the main fundraisers for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at HHF, which has provided the majority of the lifesaving equipment in our Regional Neonatal ICU. Those events looked a bit different this year due to social distancing concerns. The Foundation traded in the pool and party for a drive-through 15th Anniversary celebration, and almost 500 guests joined the fun along the Miracle Mile! Thank you to major sponsors Window World of Huntsville, Robins & Morton, Mix 96.9 and WHNT News 19. Because of their partnership and the generous support of other sponsors and guests, HHF will be able to provide NICVIEW bedside cameras so parents can see and bond with their NICU baby from anywhere.

a’s Rainbows celebrate Teammates from Meliss s. their fundraising succes

Miracle Bash Chairman Kate Nuwayhid and Co-chairman Elizabeth Conner.

Thank you to the 2020 Miracle Bash Hostess Committee! (Partial gro up pictured.)

rful 2020 Swim for Thank you to the wonde volunteering their time to for e itte Melissa Comm 15th annual event. help plan and host the

Melissa’s Fund founders Amy and Chris George, with their daughters Ann Catherine and Lily Baker.

Meggy Sabatini and her son Bradley pose with his yard sign along the Miracle Mile, which feature d dozens of NICU babies’ then-and-now photos.

enting Hero Katie Yenigun, repres up her ks pic , Sponsor i3 Cares Catering by ner din nic gourmet pic ll. rve by Na


FALL 2020

NICU “graduate” Berkley Stutts and his mom Tamra at the 15th Annual Swim for Melissa.

Justin and Tiphani Gay, 2020 Miracle Bash Committee Chair.

A special thank you to Melissa’s Legacy Sponsor Windo w World of Huntsville for serving as our top sponsor for the seventh consecutive year!

Thank you to our major sponsors! Signature Events | Fiscal Year 2020 July 2019 - June 2020

Miracle Bash & Swim for Melissa

Tennessee Valley Neonatology


i3 Cares

| ShineTime Super Wash & Express Polish

Liz Hurley Ribbon Run

Chicken Salad Chick | GFWC duMidi Woman's Club | Fleet Feet | ShortStop Screen Printing Huntsville Utilities

Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, Inc. Chugach Government Solutions, LLC

LG Electronics

Clearview Cancer Institute

REGYMEN Fitness – Huntsville

Colonial Graphics Group

The Mane Choice

Huntsville Track Club

Topgolf Huntsville

BMW Brunch

Party in the Park

Learn more about our annual events and get involved at

PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #40 101 Sivley Road • Huntsville, AL 35801

BEST Regional Hospital and #2 in Alabama

The evaluation also includes data from Madison Hospital and Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.