A miraculous recovery prompts Tucson stroke patient to give TMC staff a heartfelt thank you

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Tucson Medical Center clinical staff will tell you that simply helping people when perhaps they need it most is all the reward they need in their noble profession.  So when a patient comes back to say ‘thank you’ following an extraordinary recovery, it is instantly uplifting for them.

Sandy Goodsite recently came back to say ‘thank you,’ and hug the people who she credits with not only saving her life, but also giving her the quality of life she essentially had before April 22, 2014.

That’s when Goodsite, 72, suffered a significant stroke. She was rushed to TMC and received a clot-busting drug called tPA just 22 minutes after hitting the doors of the Emergency Department (ED), one of the fastest response times in the city.  You can read about her incredible ordeal here.

Goodsite is now about 95 percent recovered, as she continues speech and occupational therapies.  She and her husband, semi-retired pediatrician Dr. Ron Goodsite, felt compelled to come back and personally thank those who were working the day she was brought in via ambulance.  They were armed with thank you notes, addressed to every staff member who helped care for her.  As the Goodsites were ready to make their way to their first stop, they were greeted in the lobby by two members of the Neuro Red team, which responds to stroke victims.  “Talking to her, and seeing how well she’s doing reminds me why we do what we do,” said Shannon Bachman, RN.

The Goodsites headed inside TMC’s ED where staff was just as touched that Sandy is not only doing so well, but also took the time to come back.  “It is so fantastic that she came back because it’s typically very rare that we get to see a patient after they leave the ED,” said Heather Williams, ED clinical nurse lead.  Melissa Ritchey, director of TMC’s ED, echoed that sentiment.  “It reminds us why we come to work each day.  I’m so grateful that she came back to say thanks.  You only need to hear that one time to remember each and every time why we do what we do.”

Next stop: TMC’s Intensive Care Unit where Goodsite was greeted and immediately recognized by staff who hadn’t seen her since her two-day stay there in April.  “It’s so nice to see you up walking and talking!” said Jenny Tuttle, ICU clinical nurse lead.  “We always appreciate when people take the time to come back because we see them in a bed, in an acute setting.  It’s not very often we get to see the progress they’ve made, so it means a lot to us to see her doing so well,” she said.

On the neurological unit, clinical nurse lead Nancy Box said she was in awe.  “It’s so neat to see somebody come back and look so good because we rarely get to see the end result.  When they leave here, they typically have some sort of deficit, so it’s amazing to see Sandy talking and moving so well, and how her hard work during rehabilitation has paid off.”

The Goodsites are also catering a savory dinner for the three departments involved in Sandy’s care.  “We wanted to provide a little something for them – to do more than just say thank you,” she said.  But they realize that her incredible care started with the lightning fast response by Tucson Fire paramedics Bill Nielson and Robert Smith.  The Goodsites paid the boys in blue at station No. 7 a visit, and catered a dinner for the crew that was covered by the Arizona Daily Star and KGUN 9 On Your Side.

*Special thank you to TMC volunteer Mary Goeke who stayed late to accommodate the Goodsite’s visit.  Goeke helped transport the Goodsites from the different departments at TMC and said she felt honored to be a part of something so special.

Whooping Cough cases on the rise

Peds ED Logo_RGBTMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department is issuing a heads-up about a recent increase in cases of pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough.  So far this year, nine cases have been confirmed – eight of those coming in just since May.

At this point, the Pima County Health Department is NOT considering this an outbreak or epidemic.  TMC simply wants to make people aware, and take the opportunity to educate the public.

Symptoms are similar to an upper respiratory infection:  Cough, cold, congestion and fever.  How can you tell if your child’s cough is caused from a cold?  Could it be croup?  How do you know if it’s whooping cough?  You may hear a croup cough described as a barking cough that sounds like a seal.  Whooping cough is a cough that does not stop.  It’s especially dangerous to those with compromised immune systems – the very young, and the very old.

“It’s very dangerous for young children, especially babies, as it affects their ability to breathe,” explained Tammy Myers, RN.  “Babies can cough so hard and so long that oftentimes they appear to be choking, and can turn blue.  They come into TMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department, and can end up in the ICU with pneumonia where they may need help breathing.  We especially want to protect the little ones who don’t have much immunity on board yet.  We also want to protect our elderly and make sure they are vaccinated and seeing their provider regularly.  They too can get very ill.”

The good news – pertussis is preventable.

The best way to avoid it?  Get vaccinated.  There are vaccines for infants, children, preteens, adults and seniors.  The childhood vaccine is called DTaP.  The pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.  It’s a combination of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.

Make sure everyone in your family has immunizations that are up to date, and that everyone is receiving regular checkups.

Rest assured that TMC takes care of these patients quickly, and in a manner not to expose others.  All safety measures are strictly followed.  If a patient comes in with a suspected case of whooping cough, masks are immediately placed on everyone.  The patient is placed in a negative pressure room that is like an isolation area so that others are not exposed.

In the event you are exposed to pertussis, or start to develop symptoms, let your physician know right away.  Your provider may prescribe medication to treat you.  Also, it’s imperative that you wear a mask to the doctor’s office, or ask them to provide you with one immediately so that you are not spreading it to our community.

Click here to see KGUN 9 On Your Side’s coverage of this story.

TMC surgeon’s Afghan deployment detailed by KGUN 9 On Your Side

KGUN 9 On Your Side’s Greg Gurule recently shared with viewers the story of TMC Vascular Surgeon Dr. Michael Lavor from Saguaro Surgical.  Dr. Lavor spent several months in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy directing medical operations and saving lives.  Click here to find out why he can summarize his experience as the good, the bad and the ugly.  Or check out some incredible video from his trip by clicking on the link below.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461