Instead of rounding the corner to greet her 8:45 a.m. patient this morning, Cardiovascular Services Manager Rachel Kartman, RDCS, found herself surrounded by friends and colleagues for a surprise presentation. Memorial Hospital President Larry Tracy posed as a patient to deliver the news that she has been named as a co-recipient of the 2017 Indiana Hospital Association’s Caregiver of the Year Award!Over her 27-year career at Memorial, Rachel has gone above and beyond to show her kindness for patients and their families. She truly exemplifies the Beacon Promise of making every experience exceptional. Be sure to grab a tissue and click the link to read just a few of the stories that make Rachel awesome! http://bit.ly/Rachel-Kartman

Posted by Beacon Health on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Congratulations to Rachel Kartman, RDCS, Manager of Cardiovascular Services at Memorial Hospital, for being named a co-recipient of the 2017 Indiana Hospital Association’s Caregiver of the Year Award! Rachel will receive the award during the IHA Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on Nov. 1 in Indianapolis.

On Oct. 4, Memorial President Larry Tracy posed as a patient waiting for Rachel, surprising her with the good news along with her colleagues. In his nomination of Rachel to the IHA, Larry detailed three of the many instances in which Rachel exceeded expectations for patients and their families:

Sharing the spirit of Christmas
During one Christmas holiday, Rachel asked the Echo and Stress Lab staff to “adopt” a NICU family. The family had lost one twin earlier in the week and the other twin’s health was deteriorating. Rachel had been involved in performing several echocardiograms on both twins for several days and connected to the parents, who had other children at home. Rachel asked the mother what the older children were getting for Christmas, and the mother responded that she had not had time to shop for the other children, and most likely, they would not have Christmas this year. Rachel asked for the ages and sizes of the other children, rallied her co-workers and went shopping for the family. Rachel and another nurse wrapped all the gifts from Santa and delivered the gifts to the family’s home on Christmas Eve.

A cool delivery
During the heat of one summer, Rachel was leaving the room of an elderly woman who was hospitalized for exacerbated heart failure. The patient mentioned she did not have an air conditioner at home and could not afford one. Rachel knew that if the patient went home in the heat, she would end up back in the hospital.

Rachel called a hardware store located in the woman’s hometown and spoke to a clerk. She told the gentleman that she would like to purchase a window air-conditioner and pay him to install it. The gentleman argued with her for several minutes, stating that she could purchase it, but would need to come pick it up and install it herself, as he did not install air-conditioners. After several attempts to get the clerk to deliver, and install, the air-conditioner Rachel asked him if he knew how to install it. He indicated yes, but he didn’t do that for a living. She finally was able to convince him to at least deliver the air-conditioner.

A few hours later, the gentleman called Rachel back, in tears. He said the experience was the best thing that ever happened to him and she didn’t owe him money for delivery or installation. When he arrived at the home to deliver the air conditioner, the patient’s husband burst into tears. So, the clerk at the hardware store went ahead and installed the unit. To this date, the patient and her husband do not know that this random act of kindness came from Rachel.

One good turn leads to another, and to another…
A third experience happened a few years ago, when a truck driver, who was traveling across the country to deliver a truck full of meat, suffered a heart attack and was brought to Memorial Hospital for an emergency cardiac catheterization and angioplasty. Rachel was called in to administer care.

After Rachel introduced herself to the patient, she asked him what he did for a living. The patient explained his circumstances and was very concerned that the truck full of meat would spoil and the company would incur a loss. She asked where the truck was located and what needed to be done to keep the refrigeration operational. The patient explained fuel would need to be added to the truck, which was located several miles away. The patient gave Rachel his keys.

Rachel called her husband who packed up their young children, at 8 p.m. at night, and they all drove to fill the truck’s gas tank. Rachel called the truck company and also the patient’s wife. Rachel then helped make arrangements to fly the wife, who had never flown before, from Idaho to South Bend. The next day, Rachel picked up the patient’s wife at the South Bend International Airport and brought her to the hospital, where she stayed with her husband until he was discharged.

Rachel had planned to make several trips to put fuel in the semi until the meat company could get another driver to finish the delivery. However, Dr. Ronald Nelson, the patient’s cardiologist, was aware of all that Rachel had done and happened to have a patient in his office the next morning who was from the town where the semi was parked. That gentleman took over keeping the truck fueled so that Rachel and her husband didn’t need to continue making the trip. To date, Rachel has kept in touch with the patient and his wife.

About the Caregiver of the Year Award
The Douglas J. Leonard Indiana Caregiver of the Year Award honors an individual whose performance in the delivery of care is considered exemplary by patients and peers. It is named in honor of IHA’s third president, Doug Leonard, who led IHA from 2007 to 2017.