Sherry Hildebrand was Inspired by the Care Her Mother Received
Holding a framed photograph of her smiling parents, Sherry Hildebrand starts to tear up as she remembers her late mother, Paula. “She loved meeting and talking to new people,” Sherry explained. “It was hard to see her starting to forget who she was.”
Paula first visited Good Samaritan Hospital when she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. After having a radical mastectomy, they both decided that she should go to the Good Samaritan Hospital Cancer Center for her radiation treatments. “My mother had to have treatments every day for six to eight weeks, so we chose to go there because it was closer to home and less of a drive for everyone,” Sherry said.
While convenience may have initially been their first priority, they quickly became impressed with the level of care and expertise that Paula received from Dr. Subashini Furman and her staff. “Dr. Furman and all of the nursing staff were really awesome. Everyone was so compassionate, caring and understanding of our situation.”
Sherry’s mother had early stages of dementia and was beginning to become confused, disoriented and forgetful more each day. “The dementia was getting worse, so we ultimately decided to place her in a nursing home because she was becoming a danger to herself,” she said.
In the nursing home, Paula began to suffer from acute respiratory distress and needed to be transported to her local hospital, Crawford Memorial. With no pulmonologist on staff and her condition worsening, it was decided that she needed to be sent to another facility. The decision was simple: Good Samaritan. “We had already witnessed the excellent patient care at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Sherry said. “When she arrived at GSH, she was confused and in a state of panic. The nurses were great at consoling and comforting my mother until I got there.”
However, Paula’s prognosis was not good: Her cancer had spread. She was given six to eight weeks to live. “I remember just feeling overwhelmed and started to have a meltdown. The patient advocate, Pam Morgan, rescued me. She got me something to drink and gave me directions to multiple services available at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was my lifesaver,” Sherry said.
Sherry also praises the Patient Sitter program at the hospital. “I have never seen a Patient Sitter program in any other hospital, not even in Chicago where I am from. You do not know how comforting it is having someone there to watch over your family member when you are gone. If any member of our family called for an update on my mother’s condition, the nurses told us everything we needed to know and more. They were extremely patient and understanding.”
Paula’s entire family was impressed with the level of care she received in every department. They had high praise for the hospitalists – Dr. Joseph Russo, Dr. Felicitas Gatchalian and Dr. Robert Avena – and how well they worked with all departments. “My mother saw a lot of different people. Even though she had dementia and wasn’t always coherent, they all treated her like a human being and not a number,” said Sherry, who was moved to write a letter to hospital administration praising the level of patient care throughout the hospital, but singling out Laboratory, Radiology, Respiratory, Physical and Occupational Therapy staffs as well as social worker Leanne Sievers and Dr. Charles Hunt and Dr. Philip Watson.
Because of her experience with her mother at Good Samaritan Hospital, Sherry has decided to enroll at Lincoln Trail College to become a medical assistant. “I know what it is like to be scared and worried about the well-being of a loved one, and I want to help others who are going through the same situation,” she said. “I have seen what competent, compassionate patient care looks like at Good Samaritan Hospital, and it has made me want to do my part and help others as well.”