A Message From Mark
As we come to the close of 2016, I really wanted to thank you for a great year! As a region we continue to face a changing marketplace, unique business challenges and evolving customer demands. I’m grateful and proud of the positive, can-do attitude, living out LIAC as a team to have met these obstacles head on and to achieve strong results. We had a very successful Q3 and I’m looking forward in finishing this year with an outstanding Q4. I believe that we have momentum as we head into the new year.
I know that you have worked very hard this year with passion, dedication and commitment to make an impact on our customers and the patients they serve. I hope that all you have the chance to enjoy your family and friends during this holiday season. I’m trusting that it will be a refreshing and relaxing time, giving you a chance to reflect on your year! I look forward to seeing all of you at the NSM where we will continue planning for our successful 2017!
Finding A New Family
Roseanne Proteau and Mickey Bell Circa 2005
Everyone has a few dates in his or her lifetime that hold special significance. College graduation? Yes. Nuptials? Definitely. Birth of a child? Absolutely. Adopted child finding her birth mother? A single word is insufficient.
Mickey Bell has a plethora of words the describe such a significant day. June 17, 2005 is one of her monumental days, and one she won't forget. That's the day she met Roseanne Proteau, her birth mother, for the very first time.
"I was so excited to finally meet her and have her complete the part of my life that only she could do. It was so surreal to finally meet the woman who gave me life," Bell said. "As we hugged and started talking, I also realized that this reunion was even more about her and getting closure."
And by all standards, it's plausible Proteau also was quite fond of this date.
"I knew from that very moment that this reunion was what she had been longing for and her life would finally be complete as she integrated her past and present together," Bell said. "I can't even imagine what it would be like to love someone so much, have to give them up and then for 41 years, wonder what their life was like, if they had good parents, were they healthy and happy. She said that there wasn't a day that went by that she didn't think of me, especially on my birthday. I remember seeing the joy in her eyes and smile as she introduced me to family and friends over the course of the weekend."
It seems Proteau had quite a bit of the aforementioned 'present' to introduce to the Bell and her husband Doug. There was step father Paul Sr., half brother Paul Jr., his wife Mary, nephew Paul III and niece Ella. There also was Uncle Lou and Aunt Joyce. Finally there was brunch and an introduction to a litany of family friends.
Bell added: "My brother joked and said that he asked his mom when she told him about me, 'what, does she need a kidney or something?' It was quite the whirlwind of a weekend and we had a wonderful time."
There would be another trip back to suburban Chicago, in August. The Bells were introduced to her half sister Susie who flew in from Evergreen, Colorado.
"Susie was so excited to meet us and loved the idea of having a sister," Bell said. "There were more parties for Doug and me to meet more family and friends. It was crazy how smoothly everything went and it was like we had been together for years."
To better understand the path taken by Bell to reunite with her birth family, it's important to begin with a story of implausible love.
It was 1963 and Roseanne Vitullo was beginning her pediatric residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. Adolfo Perez, 28, also had come Rush via Cuba, betrothed to a 19-year-old spouse through an arranged marriage. Vitullo was expecting shortly after they met.
"My mom said that it was love at first sight for the two of them when they met in pediatric residency," Bell said. "They both wanted to be together but my dad couldn't leave his wife. He had been married only a short time when he met my mother."
Vitullo departed her residency shortly after Christmas in 1963 and relocated to the Roselia Center in Pittsburgh, a home for unwed mothers, and stayed there until Bell was born on April 6, 1964. Bell said that only a few people knew Vitullo was pregnant and that others thought responsibilities related to the residency pulled her away from Chicago.
"It was 1963-64 and it was unacceptable to be pregnant and not married. My mom hid it as long as she could," Bell said. "Roselia was one of a few places to go off and have a child out of wedlock."
From that point, Vitullo returned to Chicago to continue her residency and eventually became chief resident. Bell - Lois Michelle Vitullo at the time - was placed in a Catholic Charities orphanage and adopted 30 days later.
Enter Al and Mary Geibel, a middle-aged couple from Butler, PA, a county seat town 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. Al worked long hours at The Silver Dollar, a bar/restaurant he owned in nearby Herman and Mary was a homemaker who was charged with caring for their 2-year-old adopted son Tom.
The Geibels were older, by comparison to other couples, when they married, and unfortunately had a son who died when he was only one month old. Al and Mary adopted Tom from Catholic Charities when they were 49 and 45, respectively. Two years later, at 51 and 47, they adopted Lois Michelle Vitullo and renamed her Mary Alison Geibel.
"I can't imagine having a newborn and a toddler at that age," Bell said. "That wasn't the norm in the 60s."
Bell passed time in what she called a exceptional upbringing as a bit of a Renaissance Woman, playing multiple sports while finding time to participate in tap, ballet, jazz and student council. An admitted tomboy, Bell earned the nickname Mickey when she was a few years old due to her affinity for Mickey Mouse. Bell spent her formative years at McQuistion Grade School, survived adolescence at Butler Junior High and Butler Intermediate and prepared for adulthood at Butler Senior High, class of 1982.
"It was great growing up in Butler because it was between country and city living," Bell said. "You could get to either very easily. When my dad retired my parents took me out of school for a month to travel the US in one of those Chevy Chase (think National Lampoon's Vacation) type station wagons with the wooden panels on the side. We had to keep a journal to turn in to school since we were going to miss so much."
Being adopted certainly wasn't lost on neither Bell, nor Al and Mary.
"I knew I was adopted from the time I was about 5 years old," Bell said. "My parents always presented our adoption as a wonderful thing, that we were special because we were chosen and our moms wanted us to have two loving parents. I was always curious about my background - what do my parents look like, medical history, do I have any siblings etcetera - but I had such a wonderful life with my parents and family that I didn't have any sense of urgency to find my birth parents."
Bell enrolled at West Virginia University in the Fall of 1982, transferred to University of Pittsburgh in 1983, graduated in 1986 and flirted with medical school. After a year of dental school at Pitt, she sold copiers for six months and then took a job with Pfizer in York, PA. She lost her father suddenly in 1989, returned back to Butler to care for her mom (who had an ischemic stroke in 1983), accepted a job with Bristol Myer Squibb in May of 1990, met Doug in 1991 and married him in Ochos Rios, Jamaica in 1994.
"I always said that I was a package deal - my mom and me," Bell quipped. "He willingly and happily took both of us."
The Bells started their married life in Butler. Doug was a carpenter at Butler Hospital until 1998 when he started Bell's Custom Interiors, specializing mostly in home additions. Doug began construction on their dream home in January of 2001 and the move in date was June. Mickey worked for BMS until 2001 when she joined Genentech in August. She said a year later the lack of urgency to find her birth parents changed.
"I felt that if I didn't do it soon I might not have the opportunity," Bell said. "I was getting older and my birth mom and dad would be in their late 60s or early 70s."
Bell's quest to find Vitullo - now Proteau - began where her life started: within Catholic Charities. First she had to petition the court to open her file, and secondly she had to pay Catholic Charities a small fee to begin the search. Catholic Charities had some information and sent letters trying to find Proteau.
Bell said the two-year search was delayed by the fact that Proteau had received a letter from Catholic Charities but didn't open it because she thought it was a solicitation from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Bell also learned later that during the time she was searching, Proteau and Susie had discussed seeking her out.
"It was my birth mom's care taker, Barbara, who suggested that she open another letter that was sent in late 2004 from Pittsburgh Catholic Charities," Bell said "It stated that I was searching for her."
It was January 14, 2005 and Bell was working at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Shadyside when she received the call from Catholic Charities. They had found Proteau, and better yet, she was excited to meet Bell.
"I was so excited and also nervous," Bell admitted. "I had the most wonderful life and parents and yet there was the curiosity of my biological family. I remember telling my contact at Catholic Charities to tell my birth mom, '"Thank you and that I had two wonderful parents and a great family and life."'
The first conversation took place on January 22, 2005. During this fact-filled, two-hour reconnection Bell learned many things. Roseanne married Paul Proteau Sr. in 1967 and became parents to Paul Jr. and Susie. She had become a successful pediatrician in Chicago and the long-time medical director at Misrecordia Home, a nationally respected facility for adults with disabilities. Adolfo Perez was 55 when he died from Pancreatic Cancer, and had four children with his young Cuban wife.
Clockwise: Paul, Mickey, Roseanne and Susie
Dr. Roseanne Proteau Circa 1971
Unfortunately Bell learned that Proteau had been relegated to a wheelchair because she was paralyzed from the waist down due to a misdiagnosed Arteriovenous Malformation when she was 56.
"It's crazy how both of my mom's suffered strokes that debilitated them," Bell said.
There were regular, subsequent conversations moving forward. Because Vitullo wanted to make sure she could arrange everyone to be available for Bell's visit, they agreed to meet in June. Complicating this situation was the fact that the Bell's were still caring for Mary Geibel and they needed to arrange for care while they were gone. Unfortunately this issue was resolved when Mary passed away in March.
This set the stage for Bell's moment of significance on a mid-summer day in Riverside, IL.
"I remember walking up to her and giving her a hug and telling her how happy I was to finally meet her," Bell said. "She had tears in her eyes, hugged me and made me stand back so she could look at me."
The Bells made two subsequent visits to Roseanne between June and November. They visited in August to meet Susie for the first time and then made an unfortunate return on November 14. Proteau was rushed to the hospital that day with a failing heart. Unable to wean off her a breathing vent, she passed away three days later with her family, both old and new, accompanying her. The Bells were slated to see Proteau for Thanksgiving dinner a week later. After returning to Butler to attend the funeral of Doug's aunt, they traveled back to Proteau's funeral on November 22 and had dinner with her new family two days later.
"I think that my mom's sudden death brought the family closer. We were thrown into this devastating situation and needed to lean on each other for comfort.," Bell said. "They welcomed Doug and me into their life from the very beginning and it is like we have been together all of our lives."
Paul surmised that his mother, similar to when she put Bell up for adoption in a boarding house 41 year prior, battled her medical circumstances long enough to provide a final selfless act.
"He felt like she was probably hanging in there those last few years, hoping to finally meet me," Bell said. "She lived her last 13 years in a wheelchair with many health issues stemming from her being paralyzed and her health was declining. Paul told me when I met my mom that she probably wouldn't live much longer. I have no regrets but wish we all would have had more time to spend together with her.
"My mom who raised me was my mom and always would be and I was still mourning her death. My birth mom gave me life and while I was excited to meet her, she would never hold the same place as my mom who raised me. On the flip side, my birth mom had loved me for 41 years and a day never went by that she said she didn't think of me. I am thankful that my birth mom made the selfless decision to give me life and put me up for adoption."
To better understand the impact that this experience has had on Bell's life, it's important to finish with the continuance of family members who once were strangers. Paul Sr., who had a stroke four years ago, lives with a caregiver in Riverside. Paul Jr. and his family also live in Riverside, and Susie and her husband Rob added to Bell's second family with the arrivals of Arden and Sydney and live in Evergreen still. Uncle Louie and Aunt Joyce are still doing well at 72 and 66, respectively.
Bell said the similarities of the siblings are quite interesting. Mickey shares Susie's fondness for cooking and skiing, and they have similar handwriting. Paul and Mickey both have issues with claustrophobia. All three have have a similar penchant for cleanliness, yet Mickey is the most OCD.
Bell says she sees her siblings a few times a year and speaks to them weekly. She added that despite the short period of time she had with her mother, she has no regrets about where her search has brought her.
"Because of my faith in God, I know that none of this was by accident and I am so thankful for all of the many blessings in my life, even through many sad and difficult times," Bell said. "I believe that there are blessings through both good and bad if you have faith and are open to finding them. My story is a wonderful one and I don't take that for granted. There are so many people that don't have one loving family let alone two."
In the end, perhaps we should see the singular good days for what they are: a precursor to the many great days that follow. Or, better yet, maybe this isn't the end of the story, but rather a new set of continuous beginnings.
Year To Date Sales Results
Welcome to another addition of "Kenny's Korner". I want to highlight the new Northern Edge speakers and also share a success story from one of our peers.
As some of you may know, we have made some changes to our 2017 Activase Speakers Bureau speaker list. I'd like to highlight some of our new additions as we start to think about our programs for 2017. I would like to thank Heidi Kay - our Northern Edge Thought Leader Liaison - for sharing her insights on these new additions.
Northern Edge new speakers:
1. Mark Alberts
While he is not a new speaker to Lytics, he is now located in our region at Hartford Hospital . Dr. Alberts comes to us from University of Texas Southwestern, where he was recruited to help them achieve advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center status.
He is best known for his work as the co-chairman of the Brain Attack Coalition. He is a Fellow of the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association, and a member of The Joint Commission's Technical Advisory Panel on Comprehensive Stroke Centers. Dr. Alberts is board certified in Neurology and Vascular Neurology.
2. Robert Felberg
Dr. Felberg is Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Program at Overlook Medical Center (acts as a hub for 6 spokes). He is an authority on telestroke on the rig, and recently published on significant reduction in DTN times where NIHSS is done remotely, via telestroke. He has a passion for cryptogenic stroke.
Dr. Felberg completed his undergrad at Tulane, medical school at Jefferson, residency at Yale and Cerebrovascular Fellowship at University of Texas, Houston where he worked closely with Dr. Grotta.
3. Stacie Demel
Dr. Demel recently completed her Vascular Neurology Fellowship at University of Cincinnati under Dr. Dawn Kleindorfer. She had more than 100 Activase acute stroke treatments in 2015, which was the most ever treated by any single member of the UC stroke team.
She is an attending at Sparrow Hospital, a CSC, and an active member of SVIN, AAN, and AHA/ASA. Dr. Demel is dynamic & energetic.
4. Brian Katz
Dr. Katz was recently recruited by Ohio Health, from Univ of Cincinnati, where he trained under Dr. Dawn Kleindorfer for his Vascular Neurology Fellowship. He has treated just under 200 acute strokes with Activase.
He co-created the novel UC prehospital stroke severity scale, C-STAT, and is a principal investigator of several large-scale trials at Ohio Health.
Dr. Katz is currently practicing at Riverside, a CSC. Dr. Katz is very well published and has an intense passion for teaching, which he does remarkably well.
Success Story highlighting NE ASB Speaker:
Speaker Deck: Taking Your Stroke Program to the Next Level (Quality)
Speaker: Maureen Deprince
CS: Tom Pipoly
Tom had a chance to have Maureen Deprince join him in his territory (Cleveland Clinic). Some highlights from Tom:
Maureen did an amazing job with the new quality deck. I will for sure be using her more in 2017 with this deck, more specifically for the ED doctors.
Maureen won the crowd over right out of the gate by setting the stage that this was a new deck and some very good slides that he was very happy to present to them. From the start until the end she was able to challenge them to think and react differently to their staffs then what they are currently doing now.
Maureen did a great job of asking the question on the slides and getting the Cleveland Clinic staff coordinators to answer them before she moved on. Maureen was able to speak from a "systems perspective".
DTN- <45min slides went over very well. Many coordinators asked for this slide in a poster to use in the ED’s. They need to push the staff to get better within each area and they loved this slide and saw value for their hospitals.
Also what went over well was the slide and area that focused on – Identifying Poor Trends (slide). Many of the coordinators want to use this type of slide in chart form to be able to show the ED teams some of poor trends—talking points as to why this is happening within the hospital and sometimes with the same physician over and over.
Maureen discussed putting specific action plans in place. She spoke a great deal about what her system does and how they use telemedicine to help touch more people on a regular basis with training and educational points.
Maureen was very conversational & knowledgeable.
Do you have a best practice/success story to share around one of our speakers? Please pass along to me or the utilization point person on your team. Speaking of which.......a special THANK YOU to Rusty Smith, Chris "Haymaker" Hamacher, Amy McCarthy, Theresa Bommarito and Mike Kligerman for their help in 2016. There was a lot of important information gathered and passed along, as they did a great job in representing your thoughts.
This Holiday Season, Eat Mindful, Not Mindless
It’s the holidays and for most Americans, that means eating – lots of eating – followed by weight gain and a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
But why not take a healthier approach to what we eat during this holiday season and beyond?
According to a recent website survey, about 18 percent of people say it’s hard for them to eat healthy because they don’t want to stop eating their favorite foods. The good news is you don’t have to. You can still enjoy your favorite occasional indulgences, but in moderation. It’s all about being mindful of what you eat.
Mindless eating is consuming food just because it’s there. It’s eating while distracted – watching TV, working at a computer or texting on our smartphones. It’s eating for emotional comfort instead of for hunger. Simply put, it’s not paying attention to what we eat which can lead to being overweight and even obesity.
“Mindless eating has always been an issue,” said Riska Platt, M.S., a registered dietitian and certified nutritionist for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. “The key to mindful eating is awareness. Just by paying more attention to what you eat, you’re more likely to make beneficial changes.”
When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. Here are some tips toward a more mindful approach:
Control portions. Especially during the holidays, know that you’ll have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to deprive yourself, just eat smaller portions and less often.
Eat when you’re hungry. Just because the clock says noon doesn’t mean you have to eat. If you’re not hungry, wait until you are – just don’t wait until you’re famished because you might overeat. Also, don’t eat just because the food is available. Learn more about why you might be eating when not hungry.
Plan. Prepare healthy snacks throughout the day. If you tend to get hungry between meals, bring along a 200-calorie, whole grain, high-fiber snack. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Learn how a little planning helps your heart, and your budget.
Slow down. Enjoy each bite and put your fork down while chewing, then take a drink between each bite. This gives your body enough time to trigger your brain that you are satisfied (not necessarily full).
Pay attention. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer, or while standing in the kitchen or talking on the phone. When you do these things, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
Use technology. As we continue to become increasingly distracted by modern technology, our focus on health can fall to the back burner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “We can actually use our smartphones and other electronic devices to help us,” said Platt, a volunteer with the American Heart Association. “There are now apps that manage food records, count calories, help you track what you eat and even provide guidance on healthy food choices at the grocery store and restaurants.”
Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat, look at it, then identify why you ate it – was it hunger, stress, boredom? Then look for areas you can make adjustments and incorporate healthy changes. “Keeping a food diary is really key to awareness,” Platt said. “Most people are surprised at all they’ve consumed when they review what they’ve eaten.”
Northern Edgers On Film