Frist Awards recognize and honor HCA employees’ extraordinary efforts
Every year, a group of employees at every HCA facility is faced with an unenviable task: How to choose the employee, volunteer and physician who best represent the goals of outstanding patient care, community involvement and going the extra mile every day?
It gets even harder at the division level, when those exemplary people face another round of evaluation, and then finally are narrowed down to three national winners.
But that’s what the Frist Awards are all about. Every employee, volunteer and physician makes a difference, but by singling out these extraordinary talents, everyone around them becomes even more inspired. Meet the 2014 Frist Award winners, as well as the two runners-up in each category.
Redmond Regional Medical Center
When people hear Amanda Bohannon’s story, they feel empathy and compassion. Then they find out what she does for others, and those feelings shift to amazement.
When Bohannon joined Redmond RMC a decade ago, she was the single mother of two young daughters, Marlowe, 11, and Allison, 7. Marlowe suffered from Sanfilippo syndrome, a fatal disease that slowly destroys the brain and other organs. Bohannon’s co-workers were thrilled when Marlowe received a trip to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and then overwhelmed when they saw Bohannon begin to do volunteer work for the organization as her way of paying back the kindness.
Over time, Bohannon’s network of “wish children” grew even as her own family did. In between volunteering for the United Way and many hospital-related events, she read an article about a widowed police officer with two young sons, one with Gaucher’s disease. The two met, and six years ago they married.
Even as her daughter Marlowe passed away in 2012, Bohannon was able, with her family’s support, to return to school and become a nurse. Why this profession? So she could care for others. She now works in Redmond’s Critical Care Unit, where she was so well-loved as a student she received the hospital’s Outstanding Achievement in Clinical and Academic Performance Award upon graduating.
Inspired by Marlowe, Bohannon wanted to find a way to help other families dealing with loss. So she created “The Sweet Cocoon,” a nonprofit foundation building a respite house for families with disabled or seriously ill children. The name comes from a poem she wrote for Marlowe, telling her daughter that she was wrapped in a sweet cocoon, but would emerge a beautiful butterfly in heaven.
Bohannon is seeing to it that children like Marlowe, and their families, have a bit of heaven on earth right now.
Finalist: Elizabeth Dendy
St. David’s North Austin Medical Center
As a nurse, Elizabeth Dendy works every day to bring hope and healing to her patients. On her own, however, she’s expanded that care and compassion to communities around the world.
As a founding member of Drops of Grace, a nonprofit charity begun in 2008, Dendy and others work to provide medical and other assistance in areas where a healthy life may be difficult to achieve. So far, the group has worked in Malawi, the Congo and Nicaragua, and provided relief after natural disasters in Galveston and Round Rock, Texas, as well as Joplin, Mo.
Although her work overseas and domestically has been largely medical, Dendy has learned to do roofing, hang drywall, lay floors and more. She also lends her time and talents to Camp Agape, a summer camp for children who have lost a loved one. At the hospital, she has gotten the nursery department to provide gently used baby blankets, shirts and hats for use in Africa. In short, she goes where she is needed, and does all that she can.
“We are so lucky to have Liz as a valued member of our team,” says Yvette McDonald, MS(N), RNC-NIC, Director of Women’s and Neonatal Services. “She is a talented nurse, a dedicated co-worker and a phenomenal humanitarian. We are proud of her years of service to us as well as the community.”
Finalist: David Hosking
The Harley Street Clinic, London, England
The value of a good education isn’t lost on David Hosking, who has helped 11 students — and counting — with their schooling, including setting up apprenticeships to help disadvantaged young people learn a career skill. He’s also given time and support to adolescents dealing with behavioral and other issues. And as a Sanitation Porter at The Harley Street Clinic, he goes out of his way to make sure not only the facility sparkles, but also that its patients and staff have his full time and attention.
Just how willing is he to jump in? Consider this: A patient once had become quite agitated, and staff was having a hard time calming him down enough to take his medication. “It looked like it was going to turn into a major clinical issue,” recalls Neil Buckley, CEO. “David was passing, stopped and took the patient aside and sat and spoke with him. Much to the amazement of the clinical teams, he managed to calm the patient enough so that he took his medication and so avoided a potential problem.”
Away from the clinic, Hosking currently is funding an education for two Filipino students and one Ugandan student. Of the 11 students he has helped, two are now qualified IT consultants and one is a counselor for children living with AIDS. He also has bought a shop in Uganda that sells clothing, and it’s run by another one of his education recipients. All profits go to fund others’ education. In fact, all Hosking asks is that those he helps pay it forward to assist others.
A few years in the United States working with adolescent males with substance, emotional, behavioral and developmental issues led to an ongoing interest in helping that population. He now hopes to work with the Metropolitan Police in London with outreach to that group, as well as to gang members and the homeless.
“Life does not stand still for David; he looks for the opportunities that life holds in trying to help people and make other people’s lives better,” Buckley says. “His focus is never on himself but what he feels he can do and does for others.”
Lewis Gale Hospital —Montgomery
Oncology is one of the toughest fields in medicine, so any doctor could be forgiven for wanting to leave illness and death behind at the hospital door. That’s what makes Dr. Harry McCoy III all the more remarkable.
Dr. McCoy has devoted decades not to just treating cancer patients, but helping them and their families deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of the disease. He charted the path as the first hematologist/oncologist in the community, and has become known and loved throughout the New River Valley over the years for the time and attention he devotes to his patients.
In addition to his own practice, Dr. McCoy lends his time and talents to supporting cancer patients throughout the community. That has taken the form of helping bring Sojourn Center, a community-based, nonprofit hospice, from concept to the planning stages, as well as devoting his energies to helping create a new cancer center in the area. He also has helped treatment providers and the community learn together through his work with the Palliative Care Partnership of the New River Valley’s annual conference.
For Dr. McCoy, partnerships are essential to cancer treatment, whether between patient and caregivers, community and hospital, or physician and family members. He holds hands, gives hugs and gently and carefully explains treatment issues. He’s described as a friend, not just a physician.
Dr. McCoy speaks of cancer as a “life experience. There’s a difference between curing, which we cannot always do, and healing, which he says is about “the soul, and making peace in our hearts, which is something each of us can do.”
To his family, colleagues and many friends, he is a special soul.
Finalist: Dr. Coleman Arnold
Parkridge Medical Center
Trying to pinpoint the community Dr. Coleman Arnold serves would be like trying to make the world smaller. You could try, but it would be impossible.
Throughout his career, Dr. Arnold has been a strong advocate of medical mission work, taking at least one trip nearly every year of his career with AMG International and other Christian mission organizations. From Africa to Papua, New Guinea, to Guatemala, with many stops in between, he has brought hope and healing to people around the globe. And while he’s on the ground, he is tireless — at one point, working with a team to perform 44 surgeries in four days.
Two of his four children have become physicians, and he exposed them to medical mission work early on. He also has pushed to create a surgical mission trip component into the surgical resident rotation at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga.
When home in Chattanooga, he lends his time and talents to the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Medical Society’s Project Access, a group offering medical care to the working poor.
Finalist: Dr. Bipinchandra R. Chudgar
Doctors Hospital of Augusta
Having delivered more than 2,500 babies, Dr. Bipin Chudgar knows a lot about caring for women at a crucial point in their lives. He also is a tireless advocate for women and girls who are fighting cancer, and his work has made a lasting difference in the Augusta area.
The native of India relocated to the United States in 1977 along with his wife, the late Dr. Daksha Chudgar, and then to Augusta in 1989. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Department of OB/GYN and many other roles at Doctors Hospital, he also has been a tireless volunteer within the community.
Most notable of those efforts is his work with the Lydia Project, which provides outreach services for women and girls dealing with cancer. When Dr. Daksha Chudgar died from the disease in 2009, Dr. Chudgar donated the seed funds to build a cancer support center next to the hospital, the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House care center. Now women receiving cancer treatment have a place nearby to go for financial and other help, including free overnight stays for those from rural counties.
“Dr. Chudgar’s extraordinary actions have improved patients’ quality of life and contributed to the basic human dignity of women and girls fighting cancer physically and financially,” says Michele Canchola, Executive Director of the Lydia Project. “His compassionate care has saved lives. His contribution to this community is a legacy of ongoing support.”
The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
If you’re looking for Brant Chill when he’s volunteering at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, listen for children laughing, and then look down. Chances are he’s on the floor, playing a game, telling a story, and in general making a tough time better for patients and their families.
In fact, fully immersing himself in whatever he’s doing sums up Chill’s life as a volunteer, a firefighter, a husband and a dad. At The Children’s Hospital, he holds babies, talks to teens, and does whatever he can to make everyone he touches feel less alone.
In his professional life, Chill is a firefighter with the Nichols Hills Fire Department, where he put in a 48-hour shift as a first responder following the 2013 tornadoes. He then put in a full shift the next day volunteering at the hospital. He literally suits up and shows up whenever patients want to meet a real, live firefighter.
But even with a busy career and volunteer schedule, family is first for Chill, who is married to his high school sweetheart, Lauren, and proud father of two young daughters. When his brother’s son was hospitalized with a terminal illness, he was tireless in his efforts to help the family through an extraordinarily painful time.
Most telling about Chill is that for all his efforts in support of groups, he remembers the importance of caring for the individual. When he found out a long-term patient was a Superman fan, he went out and found a costume to give the young man. Everybody needs a superhero, and for The Children’s Hospital family, that is Chill.
Finalist: Patricia (Pat) A. Shelton
Memorial Hospital Jacksonville
After 25 years of working as a Family Counselor Supervisor for the Florida Dept. of Children and Families, no one would have blamed Pat Shelton if she wanted to stay away from high-emotion situations. But instead, she chose to devote herself to her community’s needs once again by volunteering at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville.
Specifically, Shelton has given more than eight years of service to the hospital’s chaplain program, being a source of compassion and support for patients and their families. She also is “on call” most Wednesday evenings, which means she’ll come to the hospital if needed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. the next morning.
In addition to her spiritual duties, Shelton is also the needles behind one of the hospital’s most popular programs — baby caps for newborns. She crochets caps, and has also taken her talents abroad thanks to mission work in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
“The plan for the time was primarily focused on feeding the poor,” says Dr. Paul White, pastor of Faith Bridge church. “At her own initiative, she assembled a group of local women and taught them knitting skills, and also helped them develop a pattern for creating and selling valuable products on the market.”
Finalist: Mauricette (Marie) A. Egbert
Denton Regional Medical Center
The legend is Tammy Wynette never gave up her cosmetologist’s license, even after she was famous and wealthy. Marie Egbert may not be a country music star, but she’s equally reluctant to put down her snips — or cut back her volunteering.
A beauty salon owner for more than 25 years, Egbert provides care for family members and is a kidney cancer survivor. And for the last five years she has been a weekly fixture at Rambling Oaks, a nursing home in Flower Mound, Texas, where she cuts and styles hair for the residents. What’s more, she and members of her church take part in “Dress a Girl Around the World,” where they work to make sure as many little girls as possible, wherever they live, own at least one dress.
At Denton Regional, Egbert is a hospital ambassador, manning the front desk and greeting all who come through the door.
“Hospitality, compassion and service are not merely items on a resume for Marie Egbert,” says Francene Vahlenkamp, Bible Study Coordinator of the Denton Christian Women’s Connection.
“These are elementary to her personality. Caring is not what Marie does; caring is simply what Marie is.”