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common thread Bringing Together the Saint Joseph Health System Family

May/June 2009

Code at 30,000 Feet Flying nurses act fast to save man’s life

King of Hearts A Global Nurse Magical Adventures

Win a $75 Visa Gift Card! See Details Inside

Inside Our Family A note from Gene Woods

Dear Saint Joseph Family, Springtime has brought good news to the Saint Joseph Health System family. Within the past few weeks, we were notified of new awards and national recognition for several of our hospitals. Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East were recently named among Kentucky’s Top 25 Best Places to Work. Saint Joseph East and Saint Joseph - London were each named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks, by Thomson Reuters. No other hospitals in the London or Lexington areas were included on the list. This marks the sixth time that Saint Joseph East has been recognized as a 100 Top Hospital, and the second time for Saint Joseph - London. Collectively, Saint Joseph Health System facilities have been included in the 100 Top Hospitals listing a total of an impressive sixteen times. All of our hospitals are now accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, which is currently the focus of a promotional campaign in all of the communities that we serve. Finally, the new public patient satisfaction data recently released by the federal government at validates that all of our hospitals provide outstanding service to our patients on a daily basis, often exceeding the satisfaction scores of nonSaint Joseph Health System hospitals in our markets. Saint Joseph - Jessamine RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center continues to exceed its budgeted volumes since opening in January, and has been embraced by the wonderful residents of Nicholasville and the surrounding communities. In a time of national economic turmoil, Saint Joseph Health System is pleased to be exceeding its current financial projections. This is the direct result of the tremendous work and attention to detail

Publisher Saint Joseph Health System

Executive Editor Jeff Murphy

that is being performed across all of our facilities on a daily basis. Because of this work, we are able to sustain our healing ministry in the communities that we serve, and look forward to the opening of new facilities at Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph - London and Saint Joseph - Mount Sterling.


This issue of Common Thread contains more inspiring stories about our unique and compassionate employees, including the details about a life-saving incident at 30,000 feet, when Saint Joseph Hospital nurses Teresa McKenney and Shannon Evans assisted a man during an airplane flight from Blue Grass Airport. This and many other situations that happen on a daily basis which are unexpected or call us to assist others outside the walls of our hospitals are the reasons that Saint Joseph Health System is so special. These are also the reasons that together, we are building a health care ministry unlike any other in the state, and unlike most in the nation.

Angela Florek

Kara Fitzgerald

Production Coordinator Liz Sword

Editorial Contributors Neva Francis Katie Heckman Sharon Hershberger Tonya Lewis Stephanie Sarrantonio

Contributing Writers Kathie Stamps Amy Taylor

Photographers Ron Perrin Lee Thomas Tim Webb

SJHS President’s Council Gene Woods, CEO, SJHS Ed Carthew, CHRO, SJHS

Gene Woods CEO

Gary Ermers, CFO, SJHS Jackie Kingsolver, Associate Counsel Jean Lambert, VP, Mission Integration Mark Streety, CIO, SJHS Daniel Varga, MD, CMO, SJHS Tom Wittman, Regional CIO Virginia Dempsey, President, SJL Greg Gerard, President, SJB Ken Haynes, President, SJH/SJE/SJJ Bruce Klockars, President, FMH/SJMS Kathy Stumbo, President, SJM

Common Thread is published bimonthly by the Communications/Public Relations/ Marketing department of Saint Joseph Health System for employees and their families. Visit to submit news, story ideas or photos. Or, write to us at Saint Joseph Hospital, C/O Kara Fitzgerald, 1590 Harrodsburg Rd., Lexington, KY 40504. You may reach our office at 859.313.1845.


common thread Volume 2, issue 3

on the cover

On the cover: Teresa McKenney and Shannon Evans provided emergency medical aid to a passenger on board a Dallas-bound plane from Lexington. Read about their adrenaline-filled experience 30,000 feet in the sky on page 6.


table of contents


2 Inside Out View snapshots of Saint Joseph events and happenings inside and outside our walls. 4 New Threads Keep informed of late-breaking news. 6

Feature Nurses Teresa McKenney and Shannon Evans rushed to the aid of a fellow passenger in need on board a plane en route to their Key West vacation.

8 Mission Moments Ami Dale takes her nursing skills and compassion overseas.


10 Health Care Hero Tiffany Mynheir uses her imagination, and a little magic, to ease kids’ fears.

11 Role Model Jerri Passo speaks about the “heart” of the matter when educating women.

14 Noteworthy Celebrate news, notes and praiseworthy accomplishments.

12 Welcome to My World Mary Durham provides five-star service to patients, families and staff.

16 Common View Farmer Jeff Brother nurtures his community.

13 King of Hearts Dr. Richard Crutcher paved the way for open-heart surgery in the region.


To submit your story ideas or news to Common Thread, visit

Reader Reward

A $75 Visa gift card could be yours if you can answer this question correctly: Who enjoys playing Wii Golf? Somewhere in this issue of Common Thread you’ll find the answer. Submit your answer at Correct answers will be entered into a drawing on June 1 for a chance to win one of three $75 Visa gift cards. Only employees can enter this challenge. Congratulations to previous winners Carol Dooley (Berea), Debbie Davidson (Lexington) and Nora Ross (London).





5 6


1 The outpatient surgery staff at SJH donated needed supplies to The Salvation Army. Pictured, from left, are Diana Beckett, Jeanette Smiley, Vickie Gahafer, Tammy Brigsby, Regina Day, Beulah Lucas, Sheila Sargeant and Judy Haboush.


2 SJM assembled care packages for a medic unit of 85 soldiers, deployed from Shelbyville, serving in Afghanistan. Left to right are Evelyn Smith, Judy Parsons (background), Leigh Ann Carroll and Vickie Fry.





FMH admitting team members, from left, (front row) Cheryl Clayton, Gail Hardin, Ashley Tucker, Dedra Maddox, (back row) Carol Cothern and Carol Sue Parr celebrated National Patient Access Week.

During a SJB management retreat, President Greg Gerard (front) invited managers to get on board the love train as a bonding exercise. A discussion and brainstorming followed.

Daisy Award winner Sue Raney, R.N., celebrated with fellow nurses Kim Adams, left, and Susan Centers, right, who work with her in same day surgery at SJE.

During Cover the Uninsured Week, FMH set up a booth at the Bardstown Wal-Mart to provide the community with information on how the uninsured can increase access to health care services.






7 PACU employees, from left, Donna Hagan, Patty Brandenburg, Beth Hill, Rebecca Miller, Sarah Armstrong, Myra Clark and Thelma Warren (outpatient surgery) won the Patient Safety Awareness Week poster contest at SJH.




SJMS staff celebrated receiving chest pain center accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers on March 12.

Recent graduates of SJL’s nurse extern program are (standing, from left) Cherlynn Cheek, Amanda Sikes, Kristie Jordan, Tommie Griffin, (seated, from left) Krista Matthew and Erin Greer.

10 Kelly Haskins, outpatient surgery, enjoyed SJMS’s first employee birthday breakfast, which will be held each quarter.



Carole Richardson, an R.N. on the Eastern Kentucky Mobile Health Service, talked with Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz (center) and Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington during a visit to the state Capitol.

At FMH’s Employee Awards Banquet, Gail Hardin, admitting, received an award for her 40 years of service. She is pictured with husband Eddie.



Stay informed on the latest Saint Joseph Health System news by reading “New Threads” in every issue of Common Thread. have been proven to save lives through the rapid treatment of patients showing signs of acute myocardial infarction. SJHS has treated more heart patients than any other in the region. Its accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers is the focus of its current advertising campaign; watch for television, print and outdoor billboards in your community touting our excellence in cardiovascular patient care and a new Web site,, that allows people to type in their zip code and find out which SJHS facility is closest to them. Saint Joseph - Jessamine RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center will apply for accreditation in the near future.

Technology Words from Woods Saint Joseph Health System CEO Gene Woods will share news and insights with employees through his new blog, called “Words from Woods.” You can access his blog at WordsfromWoods. Mr. Woods plans to blog on a regular basis as he travels to all eight facilities within the system, so bookmark this Web site and check back periodically for his latest entries. Our Story Watch a new Saint Joseph Health System video that celebrates our unique heritage and histories of all eight facilities, and how important it is that we came together. This 4

video will be used in the new employee orientation process across the system and includes an introduction from Gene Woods. You can find the link to the new video at

Awards Centers of Excellence All the hospitals in Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) are now accredited chest pain centers. Receiving accreditation means our hospitals are fully prepared to care for patients with heart attack symptoms. Patients treated at an accredited chest pain center can expect better care and response time when seconds count. Nationally, accredited chest pain centers

Raising the Bar Saint Joseph East (SJE) and Saint Joseph - London (SJL) were recently named two of the nation’s “100 Top Hospitals” by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. The award recognizes hospitals that have achieved excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient satisfaction, financial performance and operational efficiency. This is

the third time SJE has been recognized with this honor and the first time for SJL. Earlier this year, SJL was named a “100 Top Cardiovascular Hospital” in the nation by Thomson Reuters. The winners were identified through an in-depth analysis, the 2008 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks study (released in March). The study evaluated 3,000 short-term, acute-care, non-federal hospitals. Based on the findings, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as Medicare patients treated in the winning hospitals, more than 107,500 additional patients would survive each year; nearly 132,000 patient complications would be avoided annually; expenses would decline by $5.9 billion a year; and the average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day. More information on this study is available at Collectively, Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) has received a total of 16 national 100 Top Hospital awards. Refer to the 100 Top Hospital list on page 5 to see SJHS’s impressive performance.

Milestones The Heart Hospital On March 3, Saint Joseph Hospital (SJH) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first open-heart surgery in central Kentucky, performed at the hospital by Dr. Richard R. Crutcher and a team of 15 people. At the time of the

- London with about 100 workers there daily. For weekly updates, visit Click on “Weekly Construction Progress Report” and you will find a list of projects being completed as well as a few photos. A webcam gives you a real-time peek at the site.

Service Excellence

In 1959, Dr. Richard Crutcher (right) performed the first open-heart surgery in central Kentucky. Dr. James B. Holloway (left), who assisted him, and nurses (back row, left to right) Peggy McFadden, Shirlie Isaacs and Mary Ellen Amato joined him in marking the 50th anniversary of their history-making procedure. history-making surgery in 1959, SJH was located in Lexington’s downtown district, on West Second Street. Dr. Crutcher, 96, was honored at a ceremony and he shared with employees, physicians and executive team members the story of his groundbreaking procedure. During the event, a few of his original surgery team members stood by his side once again and recalled the glory days. Read more about Dr. Crutcher on page 13.

Spirituality Sacred Stories Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) recently published its tenth edition of Sacred Stories, a collection of stories capturing the spirituality of CHI workplaces across the country. These stories, written by CHI employees, physi-

cians, volunteers, board members and others, are read in public waiting rooms and in private homes, as reflections in meetings and in prayer services, for employee recognition and for personal inspiration. Saint Joseph Health System’s Deborah Cowles, vice president of human resources, and Katie Heckman, manager of community relations for Saint Joseph - Berea, shared their sacred stories in the latest edition. Read their inspiring stories and the others that appear in this tenth edition at (under “About Us”).

Comparing Hospitals The new public patient satisfaction data recently released by the federal government at validates that all Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) hospitals provide outstanding service to patients on a daily basis, often exceeding the satisfaction scores of non-SJHS hospitals in the same markets. For example, Flaget Memorial Hospital scored better in most categories than many Louisville hospitals. Likewise, Saint Joseph Martin scored significantly better in most categories than nearby hospitals such as Pikeville Medical Center and Highlands Regional Medical Center. Additionally, SJHS’s scores for overall hospital experience and likely to recommend often exceeded those of hospitals in the same market, as well as exceeding state and national averages.

100 Top Hospital Awards

National Benchmark Winners

Saint Joseph - London ......... 2008 Saint Joseph East ................. 2005, 2007-08 Flaget Memorial Hospital ... 2004-07 Saint Joseph - Martin .......... 1999

Cardiovascular Benchmark Winners Saint Joseph - London ......... 2008 Saint Joseph Hospital .......... 2001

Performance Improvement Leader

Saint Joseph East ................. 2005-07

Stroke Benchmark Winner

Saint Joseph Hospital........... 2001

Orthopedic Benchmark Winner Saint Joseph Hospital........... 2001

Growth Construction Update Construction continues at the new hospital site for Saint Joseph 5

Code at 30,000 Feet

Flying nurses act fast to save man’s life By Kara Fitzgerald


Shannon Evans (left) and Teresa McKenney (right) visited Blue Grass Airport to recall their adrenalinefilled adventure in the sky, which occurred in January.


eresa McKenney and Shannon Evans had just settled into their early morning flight from Blue Grass Airport when unbeknownst to them a fellow passenger slumped over in his seat and lost consciousness. While Evans added cream to her coffee and McKenney sipped her Diet Coke, they looked forward to the warm weather in Key West, where they would celebrate McKenney’s 50th birthday. When a flight attendant and a first officer ran down the aisle, the women’s thoughts quickly changed. “It’s like when you see someone running in a hospital,” said Evans, an R.N. and unit manager of the cath lab and electrophysiology lab at Saint Joseph Hospital. “It’s never a good sign.” “I thought the back of the plane was on fire,” said McKenney, an R.N. and a wound, ostomy and continence nurse at Saint Joseph Hospital. “Then I saw the man,” Evans said. “And Teresa said, ‘They’re getting the AED, we gotta go.’” “We flipped those trays up and threw all of the cans of Coke and coffee to the side and probably on the man sitting next to us,” McKenney recalled.

Without hesitation, the two nurses ran to the passenger’s side. With the help of the flight attendant and first officer on board, they laid the man down in the aisle and prepared the AED (automated external defibrillator). “We struggled with getting his clothes off,” McKenney said. “He had on so many layers … a T-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt and a sweater.” “She asked him, ‘Jeffrey, where are you going?’ and he said, ‘Denver.’ She said, ‘Well Lord, you’re dressed for it,’” said Evans, laughing at the memory of that moment. “He was really wet, like he just came out of a swimming pool,” McKenney said. “We had to dry him off. Kurt (the flight attendant) brought me like 100 cocktail napkins.” The man had regained consciousness once he was lying down. “He went out on us twice, where he didn’t have a pulse,” Evans said. “Then we’d lay him down and he started coming to again.” Evans monitored his blood pressure and connected him to the AED to monitor his heart rhythm. She described the

comical way the “by-the-book” flight attendant kept telling her to read the directions to the AED, obviously unaware of her day job. “We never had to shock him,” Evans said. “I was so thankful when I hooked him up and was able to see his rhythm and heart rate; that shows the world in my eyes.” “This experience was pure adrenaline,” McKenney said. “I haven’t worked hearts for seven and a half years, but it all just came back.” McKenney and Evans have been friends for several years. Their friendship started in 2000 when McKenney served as Evans’ preceptor during the start-up of the 5A post-interventional unit for the cath lab at Saint Joseph Hospital. Before specializing in wound care, McKenney worked the telemetry floors; she’s worked at the hospital since 1986. “It was nice to have another nurse there, and not to be the only one in this situation,” McKenney said. “We could yell orders, and she knew I was at the foot and if CPR was needed I would do chest compressions and

she would breathe.” McKenney and Evans told the pilot he needed to make an emergency landing. The closest location was Nashville, where coincidentally the man and his wife had lived prior to moving to Lexington. The nurses escorted him off the plane where EMS was waiting. The man was released from a local hospital later that evening. A combination of a new blood pressure medication, sinus medications and the high altitude is a possible explanation as to why his blood pressure dropped dramatically. “We were exhausted,” McKenney said. “And a bit giggly. Shannon always likes to sit in the emergency row because there’s more leg room. After they were off the plane, she said, ‘I knew we’d get these seats sooner or later.’” “We just needed to relieve our stress after that,” Evans said of Continued on page 17

This experience was pure adrenaline … [afterward] we were exhausted.” Continued on inside back cover


mission moments

A Global Nurse

Ami Dale takes her nursing skills overseas By Kara Fitzgerald

Ababies in a small village mi Dale has delivered

in the Middle East, cared for the sick in clinics throughout Mexico, mentored midwives in North Africa and taught English in India. She’s lived


with no electricity or running water and endured swarming insects and the sweltering heat to fulfill her mission work, which she says is a “calling from God.” “From the time I was 14, I

knew that I wanted to be a nurse overseas,” said Dale, an R.N. in the emergency department at Saint Joseph East. “That’s really when God started to stir my heart. I feel nursing is a calling that he

gave me. I’m glad he’s led me to it.” Dale, 32, has used her nursing skills on volunteer medical mission trips to the Middle East, North Africa, Haiti, Mexico and India. “I’m

I became more aware of my dependency on God to get me through each day.”

f s ges o a l l i onth v m n i e re ren nt th ves. child e p h s t i i e ted w here sh ning midw i s i v i w Dale d tra rica, n f a A c i h Nort a clin n i g in work

a little nomad,” she said of her travels. “It would be nice if everyone in America could travel to another country for a week. It helps you appreciate your own culture and the blessings we have here.” Dale’s first mission trip was in 1998 in between her junior and senior years of nursing school at Oklahoma Baptist University. She spent 10 weeks in the Middle East. “I worked in a hospital helping in the nursery and in a clinic. That was my first exposure overseas and God really confirmed my calling to do that.” She said she chose the Middle East by happenstance because there were opportunities to serve there for the summer. It ended up being her favorite mission experience. In fact, after she graduated from nursing school, worked for a year on the 3A surgical post-op floor at Saint Joseph Hospital, and graduated from South-

western Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, she returned to the Middle East in 2005 for a two-year stint to learn more about Desp ite th the culture and e pov t h e peo language. erty p le ha in No “I studied of ten gathe ve a lot o rth Afric Arabic there r an d a f jo y for about . Chi , Dale sa try t id ld o ma nine months ke he ren woul before I did d r lau gh. any nursing. Then I moved to a village and worked pain in a hospital in the labor medicine. and delivery room with local We would hang Pitocin midwives,” said Dale, who had to make the labor go faster gained experience as a labor without an IV pump to control were breech.” and delivery nurse at a county the drip. You do things you’d Dale still keeps in touch with hospital in Texas. “We probably never do here. I tried to teach the friends she made in the had 250 deliveries a month. the midwives different things. Middle East. In January of this The busiest day was when we It was hard to see babies die year, she visited one particular delivered eight babies in eight during delivery family she grew close with. hours.” and after delivery. You think “They took me in under their Dale recalled the challenges if they were in America they wing. I spent lots of nights at of delivering babies in the wouldn’t. I saw three babies die their house, ate lots of meals village. “There, they don’t have during delivery because they with them. That’s why I wanted Continued on page 17


health care hero

Magical Adventures Tiffany Mynheir uses her imagination to ease kids’ fears By Amy Taylor

T how to comfort crying kids iffany Mynheir knows just

who are separated from their moms and dads and wheeled into surgery to have their tonsils out. She takes them on magic carpet rides. “It starts when they’re in outpatient services,” said Mynheir, a surgery tech and L.P.N. at Saint Joseph - Mount Sterling. “When I come to get them and wheel them down the hall on a gurney, I tell them they’re going to open a magic door with a magic word. I whisper the magic


word to them. Then they use ‘magic’ to open the door.” The magic word is abracadabra. When children reach the surgery door, Mynheir tells these little ones to wiggle their fingers and speak the magic word. When they say it, the tech pushes the access button on the wall with her back. Lo and behold, doors open! “I hate to see kids cry,” Mynheir said. “So I use my

imagination to ease their fears. When they think they’ve opened the doors with magic – we all clap for them.” If children come without a teddy bear, volunteers will bring stuffed animals to them. The bears get a surgical hat “just like we put on the child,” the tech said. “While they’re asleep, we put a surgical mask and gloves on the bear, so it sort of looks like us. When they wake up, it’s been decorated for them.” Children are usually afraid of the anesthesia mask, Mynheir said.

“To get them to breathe the gas, we let them watch the balloon on the side of the anesthesia cart. You can see the balloon going up and down. We tell them to try their hardest to blow up that balloon.” As they’re falling asleep, Mynheir tells them they’re being sprinkled with fairy dust. When they awaken, their decorated bear is waiting for them. Sheila Barnes, unit manager of the surgery department at Saint Joseph - Mount Sterling, is grateful to Mynheir for comforting children with imaginative distractions. “This has carried over to the other techs, too,” Barnes said. “I see a lot of other people using the magic button thing.” The hospital staff is treating more and more young patients on pediatric oral surgery clinic days, the nurse said. Mynheir makes a tremendous contribution to children, parents and staff. “She really enjoys working with the children,” Barnes said. “She’s always the one who will dress up the teddy bear for them. That’s just her personality.” The tech has been known to take little boys on gurneys on wacky race car rides, or warn staff members to stand aside because “here come the crazy women drivers!” “I love kids,” Mynheir said. “I don’t want them to be scared. We try to keep it fun. That keeps the tears down.”

role model

a heart to heart

Jerri Passo uses personal experience to educate women about heart disease By Amy Taylor

Having heart disease has made me a better nurse and a better person.”

Eexperienced cardiac care ven though she was an

nurse engaged to a cardiologist, when Jerri Passo was told she needed heart surgery, she postponed treatment. “I didn’t like the eight percent mortality rate I was quoted,” the Flaget Memorial Hospital surgery department nurse said. “I guess I was in denial. It’s hard to be objective when it’s your own body.” At her fiancé’s insistence, Passo, an R.N. and B.S.N., had a heart valve replaced a few months before her wedding. Dr. Tom Passo “handpicked the surgeon, and he picked the hospital.” The nurse had known since

her teens that she had mitral valve prolapse, which is often a benign condition. She never dreamed that one day she would have her chest split open, then carry the scars to prove it. Today the Bardstown resident is an ambassador for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, giving talks to women about heart disease. She lets them know that their heart attack symptoms may differ from those of men. “They may or may not have pain or discomfort in the chest, or one or both arms, or in their back, neck, jaw or stomach. They may or may not go through cold sweats, nausea or lightheadedness. Women don’t have to feel chest pain to be having a heart attack.” Passo sees her experience with cardiac care, and with heart disease, as no accident, she said. “I believe in synchronicities. Like when I first got out of nursing school – I wanted a job in OB, but there were no jobs. I ended up in a cardiac care unit in a Bloomington, Indiana hospital, and worked in cardiac care for years.” The nurse looked the picture of health at the time, she said. She was satisfied that she led a

heart-healthy life – but she was forgetting her genes. “My grandfather died at 52 of a myocardial infarction,” Passo said. “My brother died at 46 – a sudden death presumed to be from a heart attack. My mother had a heart attack nine months after my brother died. My two living brothers have hypertension, and one of them has had a stroke.” Still, taking good care of herself all her life helped Passo have a better outcome after heart surgery, she said. “If you take care of yourself, even if you have a congenital problem, you’re going to be able to manage it better.” Today, although Passo works in Flaget’s general surgery department rather than in cardiac care, she still gets the chance to counsel patients, co-workers and friends. “I get to use my gifts. Having heart disease has made me a better nurse and a better person. I was a good advocate before – but having personal experience gives you added insight.” Since she’s on blood thinner, Passo gets regular blood tests done. She also gets an echocardiogram every year. She doesn’t feel limited by her heart disease, she said. Except “my husband won’t let me use the chain saw,” the nurse said with a smile. “He took it away from me.” 11

welcome to my world

five-star service Mary Durham, Hospitality Services Manager By Kathie Stamps


native of Madison County, Mary Durham, CDM, started working at Saint Joseph - Berea, then Berea Hospital, out of high school. She began as a dietary aid 32 years ago; today she is the Hospitality Services manager and supervises a staff of 12 in the dietary department and 16 in housekeeping.

What do your duties include? I work with supervisors in both the dietary and housekeeping departments. We do a lot of catering in the dietary department. I can cook if I need to. There are 8 to 10 different daily diets. Some patients need to have their meat ground, others need pureed foods. There are people on liquid diets and cardiac (heart-healthy) diets. Each floor has a housekeeper, even the floors that don’t have patients. The nursing staff changes the patients’ beds, and we send the linens out to be cleaned. I am on several committees, including the Performance Improvement (PI) and the Living Green committees.

What makes you good at your job? A positive attitude and good communication skills. I try to make people feel included and make a team out of them. I’ve been around some of these people since they were babies. We’re like a family. Half the dietary department

has been here over 10 years. I’ve not hired a person in the last two years in dietary and over a year in housekeeping. I try to make it fun for the staff. Everybody has to work, so make it as fun as you can.

What changes have you noticed over the years? We’re doing more services than we did before. Diets are not as strict as they used to be. For diabetic patients, we used to count every calorie and now we’re counting carbs instead of how much sugar is in each item. Technology has changed, of course. When I started here, everything was handwritten. Now we get diet orders on the computer. In the cafeteria we have gone to green products and fewer disposable products. We are recycling aluminum cans and plastic. We recently added healthy food choices to the cafeteria menu for employees and the public.

What inspires you? My mom and dad always raised me to work. I come from a family of 10 kids, so we were raised to work for what you want. It gets you out of bed in the morning when you know someone depends on you. My family inspires me. My husband and I have been married for 30 years. Our daughter is 23 Continued on page 17


King of Hearts Dr. Richard Crutcher paved the way for open-heart surgery in the region By Kathie Stamps

Sis known as “the heart aint Joseph Hospital

hospital” in the region and it all started with Dr. Richard R. Crutcher, who performed the first open-heart surgery in central Kentucky on March 3, 1959. It’s been 50 years, but Dr. Crutcher remembers the successful operation today. “We did training on animals in preparing to do heart cases,” he said. “We prepared about a year. We didn’t know who the patient was going to be at the time.” The first heart surgery patient was an 8-year-old boy who had a hole in his heart, in the septum between the left and right ventricles. “We kept tabs on him till he completely recovered,” said Crutcher, who was assisted by a team of 15 in the procedure. Dr. Crutcher was born on July 4, 1912, in Frankfort and moved to Lexington when he was six. He studied engineering and took arts & science courses at UK. “One day my mother suggested I try pre-med,” he said. “She thought I would be a good doctor.” He graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1937 and did his post-graduate training there. “During my senior year of med school, I was substituting

for an intern who was on vacation for two weeks,” he said. “He got depressed and killed himself. I had an additional six-month internship until they replaced him, so I had two internships in surgery and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I thought at one point about internal medicine but I realized I wouldn’t be good at that.” In 1942 Dr. Crutcher served in the army. “We were sent to Naples, Italy, for about a year, then we were sent out in the evacuation hospital. I was a thoracic surgeon.” When WWII ended in 1945, Crutcher was in the mid-Pacific. By 1947 he was back in Lexington. A year later he married Dorothy Hillenmeyer, who passed away last summer. The two of them raised five children: David lives in Mass., Rick is in Seattle, Dan in Louisville, and daughters Dottie and Ann live in Woodford County. “I practiced at Saint Joseph until I retired in 1978 when I was 66,” he said. “It got to the point where medical insurance was getting so high it wasn’t worth my time.” For years he played some golf, and spent time with his investments. These days he plays Wii Golf

with his grandson and enjoys sitting in his chair by the fireplace in the solarium of the Lexington home he bought in 1951. “I used to exercise regularly,” he said. “I’m going to start back.” Dr. Crutcher has great admiration for medical pioneers and the initial work they do, including his own work. “We learn more and more after the pioneer procedures,” he said. He recalls removing an eight-pound fatty tumor from a chest, and another long, 11-hour surgery on a fellow from Paris, Ky. “He bled from everything we touched. We spent a large part of the time

controlling the bleeding.” What was his demeanor in the OR? “Demanding. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it,” he said. “I never thought much about having a bedside manner; I just did what I thought needed to be done.” No, he doesn’t watch medical TV shows, and never has. He does watch sports and news on TV and is a big UK fan. Occasionally he dreams about operating. “They are usually very difficult operations, sometimes impossible to complete,” he said. Rosie, a Jack Russell terrier, has become Dr. Crutcher’s best buddy. He also has a cook Continued on page 17


noteworthy Celebrating news, notes and praiseworthy accomplishments Upcoming Events Jessamine County Health Fair

Saint Joseph - Jessamine RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center (SJJ) is partnering with Jessamine Christian Church to host a free community health fair on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will offer health screenings, educational resources and medical professionals speaking on various healthy living topics. In between awareness opportunities, parents can let their children bounce on the “moonwalk” and play a round of puttputt. All events will take place on the SJJ campus in Nicholasville.

Step Out to Fight Diabetes

The Lexington “Step Out to Fight Diabetes” walk is Saturday, May 30 at the Keeneland Race Course. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., the warm-up is at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:00 a.m. Events include a health and wellness fair, a kids’ play area and refreshments. If you’d like to join the Saint Joseph Health System team, visit Select Kentucky in the “Step Out and Register Today” box, then click on the Lexington walk. Click on the “Join a Team” tab and search for “Saint Joseph Happy Steppers.” If you can’t make it to Lexington,


and want to help, contact Karen McKnight at 859.313.4282. Get Healthy Berea

fundraiser through Bardstown on Saturday, June 20 at 8 a.m.; the race will start and finish at City Hall, where there will be exhibitors, awards and giveaways. All proceeds from “Run for the Health of It” will benefit the clinic, which provides free medical, pharmaceutical and dental services to people who are working but are uninsured and underinsured. Flaget Memorial Hospital supports the Nelson County Community Clinic, providing financial assistance, supplies, and advanced diagnostic tests. Look for the registration form at Flaget. com or contact Suzanne Gude at 502.507.7799 or s.gude@ Relay for Life

Saint Joseph - Berea, in partnership with the Saint Joseph - Berea Foundation, is presenting the first annual “Get Healthy Berea” community event on June 6. Get Healthy Berea will provide educational opportunities and health resources, focusing on areas such as healthy eating, stress relief, green living, nutrition and health screenings. Get Healthy Berea will also feature an 8-K Trail Run/4-K Walk, 2.5-Mile Fun Ride, and 19-Mile Peytontown Ride. Proceeds will benefit the Patient and Family Assistance Fund. To register for the events, visit SaintJosephBerea. org. For questions, contact Greg Gerard at 859.986.6366. T-shirts commemorating the event will be available to individuals who preregister by Friday, May 29! Run for the Health of It

The Nelson County Community Clinic will hold a 5K Run/Walk

Several Saint Joseph Health System facilities are participating in their community’s Relay for Life walka-thon to support the American Cancer Society. Join a team today! Martin: June 12, 7 p.m.-June 13, 7 a.m., Archer Park, Prestonsburg; call 606.285.6590 Berea: June 19, 6 p.m.-June 20, 6 a.m., Church on the Rock; call 859.986.6557 London: June 19, 7 p.m.-June 20, 7 a.m., London Optimist Club Sports Center; call 606.877.6133 Lexington: June 26, 5 p.m.-June 27, 5 p.m., Lexington Christian Academy; call 859.313.4406 Mount Sterling: June 26, 7 p.m.June 27, 7 a.m., Easy Walker Park; call 859.497.7749 Evening with the STARS

The 21st Annual Evening with the STARS will be Saturday, November 14 at the Lexington Downtown Hotel & Conference Center. After 20 years of featuring a well-known musical artist as the cornerstone of the event, the STARS Committee (Saint Joseph Associates for Renowned

Service) has decided to recognize and honor three individuals who have made a real impact: the Physician of the Year at Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East, and a Community Volunteer (to be announced). The event will be black-tie optional, with dinner, dancing and entertainment provided by the Jimmy Church Band. The event benefits the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation and its outreach and mission services such as the Appalachian Outreach Program, Patient and Family Assistance Fund, and the Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship Program. For ticket information, please contact the Foundation at 859.313.1705.

Announcements Join a Cycling Team

Are you a weekend road warrior and interested in joining a cycling team? Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is looking for cyclists who are interested in joining a SJHS Cycling Team. There are many bike treks throughout Kentucky and SJHS would like to be represented! If you’re interested, please e-mail Stephanie Nelson at or call her at 859.967.5637. ‘I Can Cope’ Program

The “I Can Cope” program, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, offers free classes for adults and family members affected by cancer. Patients, staff, family members and friends of Saint Joseph Health System may register for the free classes, which address a variety

the hospital. The name for the new center is, “Balance Wellness Center … Balance for your body, mind and spirit.” This wellness center, located in the LTC activities room on the 2nd floor, offers exercise equipment and weights as well as resources for good nutrition and lifestyle balance. Calling All Nurses!

of topics relevant to the cancer experience with guest speakers on related topics. All classes will meet at Saint Joseph Hospital in the 6th Floor Oncology Family Lounge from 1-2:30 p.m. on the following dates: May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 7, July 23, August 6 and August 20. Pre-registration is required by calling Melanie at 859.260.8286. Balance Wellness Center Opens

The Saint Joseph - Berea wellness committee is pleased to announce that a wellness center has opened in

Would you like to learn how to read, understand and participate in nursing research? Would you like to relate new knowledge to something relevant in your nursing practice? All Saint Joseph Health System nurses are invited to become part of the Evidence Based Practice for the Bedside Nurse Committee. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month at Saint Joseph Hospital at 8:00 a.m. in the Administrative Conference Room #3. If you

would like to attend by phone, you can call in to the meetings by using a special phone number and pass code. To receive the number and code, e-mail Karen Newland at For more information about the committee, call Wink MacKay at 859.313.1670.

Trivia Bee Team

Congratulations to Saint Joseph - London’s Trivia Bee Team for placing second at a Trivia Bee sponsored by the local Adult Literacy Council. Congratulations to team members Robert Brock, Chris Williams and Ron Horn.

Accolades Daisy Award Winners

Congratulations to the third quarter 2009 recipients of the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses: Sylvia Eversole, R.N. (3 East, SJH); Theresa Gordon, R.N. (CCU, SJH); Shannon Evans, R.N. (Cath Lab, SJH); and Sue Raney, R.N. (Same Day Surgery, SJE). The Daisy Award is a national program that is currently in place at Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph - Berea, Saint Joseph - Mount Sterling and soon to be at Saint Joseph - Martin, Flaget Memorial Hospital and Saint Joseph - London. The award recognizes registered nurses who provide a remarkable patient and family experience. To receive this honor, a recipient’s nomination form must be filled with stories and examples of how the nurse has performed in extraordinary ways. To learn more or to nominate someone, visit

Heart of Saint Joseph Award

Congratulations to Gayle Green, facilities management, for being named the March/April Heart of Saint Joseph Award recipient at Saint Joseph - Berea. The Heart of Saint Joseph Award is currently in place at Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East and Saint Joseph - Berea. Nominate a deserving co-worker under your hospital tab at (“Recognition & Awards” under “Saint Joseph Employees”). Quality Conference Poster Winner

Daisy Award winner Theresa Gordon received a hand-carved stone sculpture, titled “A Healer’s Touch,” created by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe, Africa, during a surprise celebration thrown by co-workers and members of the executive team at Saint Joseph Hospital.

Saint Joseph - Berea (SJB) won the poster presentation competition at the annual CHI Quality Conference in Orlando. SJB’s poster topic was “blood glucose control with the use of evidenced based protocols” and was judged among 13 poster presentations from across CHI. The team consisted of the Diabetes Care Council at SJB: Karen McKnight, director of the Diabetes & Nutrition Center; Dana Graves, diabetes educator; Joanne O’Kane, pharmacy manager; Dr. Thomas Fowles, FP; Dr. Derwood Basham, FP; Todd Callihan, P.A.; Casey Hamblen, performance improvement manager; Christy Anderson, unit manager of med/surg and ICU; and Pat Patton, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer.


common view

Homegrown Farmer Jeff Brother nurtures his community By Kathie Stamps

interest in genealogy. “Both sides of my family have been in Kentucky a long time, since around 1795,” he said. Brother graduated from UK in 1960 with a B.S. in animal science. He served in the army before starting his family and working full time on the farm. A few years ago the Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce named the Brothers the Outstanding Farm Family of the Year. One of his life mottos is to “be the best I can be at whatever I try to do.” There were always high expectations when he was growing up. “I’ve tried to pass that along, with some success.”

A has some early mornings s a farmer, Jeff Brother

and long days. He has worked on the family farm since he was 12 years old. These days he owns 600 acres and looks after 900 more in Mount Sterling. “I remember in high school, horses and mules did a lot of the work. Now it’s strictly tractors,” he said. For years he grew tobacco and corn, but with the tobacco program gone he chose cattle as the farm’s mainstay. He has around 300 head of beef cattle and grows the hay to feed them. March and April are the busiest months on the farm, as the cows are having calves. “We try to have them all come in 60 days,” he said. “Then we have another busy period in November, weaning the calves.”


Brother sits on the finance committee for the Saint Joseph Health System board of directors. He served on the board of Mary Chiles Hospital in Mount Sterling, before the name was changed to Saint Joseph - Mount Sterling. “It’s very educational,” he said. “Health care is an entirely different world from what I do every day. We try to do the best we can to see that everyone has access to good health care.” One of his primary interests is to see that small-town hospitals have health care as good as that in urban areas. “This is one of the reasons that Mary Chiles Hospital merged with Saint Joseph,” he said. “We could get better care for our citizens. I’ve been very pleased with that.” He also participates in

“the usual community involvement.” He is an elder at First Presbyterian Church, serves on the advisory board of Community Trust Bank and is a former city council member. He also belongs to the alumni association of Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honorary society. Brother and his wife, Jane Latta, have a son, three daughters and five (spoiled!) grandchildren. Two of their children live in Mount Sterling, another is in Lexington and one lives in Charlottesville, Va. In his spare time he likes to hunt and has an

Code at 30,000 Feet

King of Hearts

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their slap-happiness. The flight resumed to Dallas where they had a layover before heading to Key West. In the Dallas airport they ate lunch with their new friend, the American Airlines first officer who hovered over them like a guardian angel throughout the experience. They made it to Key West only a few hours later than expected. Although they enjoyed their vacation, they wondered about the man’s condition. When they returned to Lexington, they received a call from the man’s wife, who assured them he was doing fine. She thanked the nurses for being so calm and professional. “They want to keep in touch,” McKenney said. “She’s convinced that it’s part of a bigger plan.” The group reunited at Keeneland in April. McKenney and Evans remembered the difficulty they had when booking their airline reservations. They planned other flights, but for various reasons, they all fell through. “It’s weird how it all happened. It was never working out right,” Evans said. “My mom said that poor man just hadn’t booked his flight yet and I was meant to be on it. It gave me chills.” This was the first time McKenney and Evans came to someone’s rescue outside of the hospital. It made them remember why they are nurses. “What we do we take for granted sometimes because it’s our job and we do it every day,” McKenney said. “When something like this happens we forget how much we do know and are able to help.” American Airlines sent McKenney and Evans ticket vouchers and letters of appreciation for their heroism. Word traveled quickly throughout the halls of Saint Joseph Hospital about their emergency in the sky. “Before it’s over with we’ll have performed open-heart surgery with an ink pen,” McKenney joked. Co-workers, family, friends and members of the Saint Joseph leadership team have expressed their pride in the nurses’ brave actions. “It certainly made my 50th birthday memorable,” McKenney said.

six days a week and someone is in the house around the clock. “I am fairly well content,” he said. “I like Lexington. I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else.”

and she is finishing her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

To submit your story ideas or news to Common Thread, visit

What do you do away from work? I’m big on exercising. I go to a local gym here for kickboxing and aerobics; they are great stress-relievers. My husband and I go motorcycle riding in the summer. Last year we rode with another couple to Panama City. I enjoy life! Welcome to My World provides a brief walk in another Saint Joseph employee’s shoes. Do you know someone who is outstanding in his or her job? Nominate them at

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to learn the language, to build deeper relationships. I’ll always remember the people God brought into my life during my time there.” Her most challenging mission trip was to North Africa, where she spent three months working in a wound care room in a clinic and training midwives in the villages. “The infant mortality rate is really high there and we taught them about safe delivery, reasons for prenatal care, and how to know when they’re high risk,” Dale said. “We also talked about how to prepare their huts for deliveries ... sweeping it out, washing the sheet, having a clean razor to cut the cord.” Dale said she used stories and agricultural examples, and a baby doll, when teaching the midwives about well-baby care and breastfeeding. While in Africa, Dale endured tough living conditions. “We didn’t have electricity … except maybe for two hours a night. There was no refrigerator. A donkey would haul our water. We spent a few nights out in the village in huts. You could hear the field mice run up and down the walls. I had my little iPod going trying to block it out.” Despite the challenges, Dale said the work was rewarding. “The people have a

lot of joy; they love to laugh and joke. But, there was so much poverty. I saw little babies with swollen bellies because they were hungry. What helped me is remembering I’m where God wanted me to be and helping the people that he would bring into my life. When you’re in those places, you rely on God’s strength. I became more aware of my dependency on God to get me through each day.” This summer Dale will either return to Mexico for a medical mission trip or serve closer to home, in Appalachia. In addition to her full-time job at Saint Joseph East and her church work in Lexington, she works with refugees through Kentucky Refugee Ministries. “I work with a family from Iraq and one from the Congo, helping them learn the culture and practice their English,” Dale said. “I love working with internationals. I try to expose them to different cultural experiences. When I was in other countries, I enjoyed that.” Dale said there were a lot of Bible verses that inspired her during her mission trips. A favorite was Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”


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1 Year 1 Year Retrospective


ommon Thread debuted in May 2008 as a new magazine for the employees of Saint Joseph Health System. Its founding purpose was to bridge the divide between the separate facilities and unite our employees through sharing their stories of extraordinary work and awe-inspiring, mission-based experiences. In the publication’s first year, we have traveled throughout Kentucky to spotlight 52 members of our Saint Joseph family. We look forward to bringing more stories into your homes. Visit to share your story ideas.


Pam Douglas’ husband and son have both returned home from Afghanistan!