Memories and Milestones

Centennial Memories and Milestones

Following are recollections submitted by those whose lives have been touched by the caring Columbus Regional Health family.

  • “My most memorable experience with CRH was on December 24th, 2013. It was Christmas Eve and I was preparing my home for family to arrive on Christmas Day and also getting ready to head to Candlelight Service at church that night. Everything seemed to be falling into place and I was excited for a good holiday. It was around 6 p.m. that evening that I received a frantic phone call from my father that my mom had just experienced a heart attack and was on her way to CRH for angioplasty. I was scared and nervous and asked where I needed to meet them. I was told the Cath Lab so I called a friend who worked at CRH to ask where I needed to go so that when my mother arrived by ambulance I was in the waiting room, waiting on my father. He and I spent the evening in the Cath Lab that Christmas Eve and were treated so kindly by the staff who understood that this was definitely the last place we would want to be on such a happy holiday. Mom fortunately did well with her procedure and on Christmas Day, we celebrated Christmas with the wonderful staff of the CCU. I remember thinking how badly I wanted to work for CRH and now, almost three years later, this dream has come true. I will never forget the way the staff treated my mom, my dad and myself during those days and will forever be grateful.”  — Stephanie Strothman, Columbus Regional Health Foundation

     

  • “Hands down, my favorite memories of working at CRH have been running the Mill Race Half Marathon twice and the full marathon once.  I have always looked forward to running these races and seeing my co-workers along the course as volunteers.  Also, crossing the finish line with many of my co-workers cheering for me with personalized signs is something that I will never forget.  I truly have the best co-workers and feel blessed every single day to work beside them.” — Paige McGee, RN, Emergency Department

     

  • “At age 18, I was on one of my first dates with my husband and we ran into his friend’s parents.  The mother, Ethel Lynne Denney, was overly excited to meet me and quickly gave me a big hug. She then informed me that she was one of my nurses when I was born, and that she was so happy to meet me.  I had the pleasure of having her as my nurse for the delivery of my son many years later.  When my daughter was expecting, Mrs. Denney was working for Southern Indiana OB/GYN so I knew my daughter and grandson where very well taken care of. I experienced the same reaction when I was in the wedding of a friend.  One of the guests came up, gave me a hug and said, "It is her, it’s her." She introduced herself as Lois Jeannie Sitterding and explained that she took care of me when I was born. It just so happens that I ended up working with this wonderful lady at Southern Indiana Orthopedics also. I was born on July 11, 1970 three and a half months early at Bartholomew County Hospital. I weighed just over one pound. I have felt my whole life that I have a team of angels that have watched over me from birth and am so proud to be a part of Columbus Regional!”  — Teresa McCray, Hospital Care Physicians

     

  • “My most memorable stay at Bartholomew County Hospital occurred two days before Thanksgiving in 1961. I delivered our ‘miracle daughter’ as I sat in the front seat of our car while my husband drove frantically to the hospital. We arrived at the Emergency Department on the east side of the hospital as my baby cried in my hands. My husband rushed inside for assistance. Two attendants accompanied him back to me and when they realized the baby had already been born, called others to help and decide how to remove us from the car. The decision to use a wheelchair came after a registered nurse performed the procedure to cut the umbilical cord. We were transferred to a private room together on an upper floor, when released from excellent care in the ER. We had the care and treatment sometimes given to celebrities, for our five-day stay. I will never forget the special care my daughter and I received those five days. It was a very happy and stressful time. God was surely guiding us safely to this wonderful hospital on that snowy morning in November, 1961. Thank you again CRH for all that you do, and God willing, another 100 years.” — Ardus Smith, Gift Shop volunteer

     

  • “There are two personal experiences that demonstrate the workforce diversity, work ethic and the collaborative culture that we are all proud to be a part of as the CRH family. One example is during 2008 when the Columbus Surgery Center (CSC) was the main site of care for ambulatory surgeries while the main operating room at CRH was in recovery mode from the flood. There were several employees and physicians from surgical services that came over to join the CSC team in an effort to meet the ambulatory surgery needs of our community.  The employees from both entities came together maximizing their level of expertise, combining services from two very unique work environments, representing a collaborative culture that supports our CRH mission and vision. A second example is when we combined Endoscopy staff from CRH and staff from CSC in 2013 in an effort to enhance the care we provide to our patients. Endoscopy Services in the community were merged from both entities and CSC closed their doors in late 2013. This closure was a very emotional time for the CSC team and the CRH workforce welcomed all of them with a smile and sense of appreciation. The first day we opened the Endoscopy Center in March of 2013 was a very challenging day for staff as they came together to care for patients in one location in a new facility. The staff quickly formed a bond, bringing expertise from an inpatient and outpatient perspective, learning from one another, pulling their strengths together to enhance the Endoscopy Services we provide. I was proud to lead and be a part of both of these teams as they demonstrated the professionalism and compassion of which CRH should be very proud. I wanted to share these memories as a reminder of what we stand for, why we went into the healthcare profession, and remind ourselves of the great things that can happen when you create a culture of excellence!” — Marcy Ross, MSN, RN Clinical Nurse Specialist-Perioperative Services

     

  • “The year was 1988 and I was working on what was then called One West (now 2 Tower) when my mother passed away on January 10th.  I was at work that Sunday and received the call from St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis that she had taken a turn for the worse. My shift was scheduled from 3 to 11 p.m., but the girls told me to get out of there and get to the hospital and they would take care of everything else.  I left CRH knowing that everything would be taken care of. My friend and co-worker, Janet Mullis, RN, said she would take care of it and told me to be safe driving.  I can only say that my Heavenly Father was involved that day and every day that I worked with these girls on One West. Not only my fellow co-workers on the unit, but everyone throughout the entire hospital who knew me and my mother or had taken care of my mother, was very supportive the last 6 weeks of her life.  I had never seen so much love, respect, compassion and willingness to help in a place of business as I did at that time. My head nurse, Ruth Henney RN was very supportive and so were the orthopedic doctors that I worked with for many years. I can truly say that I have been blessed with friends, who are like family, these 43 years that I have worked at Columbus Regional Hospital (Bartholomew County Hospital, when I started).  It is my prayer that we will continue to do our best, not only for our patients and their families, but also for each other.” — Lynn Brownfield, LPN

     

  • “My special memory was the 5 months following the 2008 flood. I remember receiving the phone call not to report to work until further notice. I had no idea the flood was even occurring on June 7. What was happening? How could Columbus Regional Hospital be flooding? My mind raced and could not comprehend the message. By the next day, it was a feeling of reality. Over the coming weeks, the commitment to our community and each other played out as our CRH work force unbelievably continued to be employed by CRH in various capacities to bring our community back to a functioning level. Jim Bickel assured us that we had to retain our workforce in order to function as a strong hospital when CRH would re-open…it would be 5 months. It was 5 months of toil, strain, and being out of our comfort zones. I work at Marr Road as a Senior Spine Specialist Physical Therapist and have been there more than 20 years. We were open and seeing all outpatients from the main hospital and our continued Marr Road patients by the Thursday after the flood. We worked with inpatient therapists and many other staff sharing treatment rooms and parking space, which would brim to capacity. It got very crowded at times. We had freeze dried charts to comb through which came over from the main hospital flood waters. We all made it together, and I was never more proud of our administration and work force. We walked through each day and kept looking forward. Now our delayed ER is open in 2016. The flood slowed us down, but did not stop us.” — Lynn Billeter-Ellegood, PT, DPT, MTC; Rehabilitation Services

     

  • “Due to the amazing support from Columbus Regional Hospital over the past 35 years, the Sandy Carmichael Hospice Center came to fruition in 2004!  Columbus Regional Hospital and the CRH Foundation were instrumental in “bringing the vision to life.”   Our Hospice founder and former President, Sandy Carmichael, shared numerous stories of working with CRH leaders Robert Borzcon and Shirley Marsh, and physicians Ben Ranck, Daly Walker and Sherm Franz to develop the hospice concept in our community. This legacy continues today under the leadership of Laura Hurt, President since 2013. Our beautiful facility, located on the CRH campus, is in its 12th year of operation and our staff continues to fulfill our mission ‘To make every moment count, by surrounding our patients and families with respectful and compassionate care, for as long as we can.’” — Anita Burton, Executive Assistant and Manager of Facilities, Our Hospice

     

  • “I began working at the hospital in 1981 in the Medical Records Department.  At that time the hospital’s name was Bartholomew County Hospital.  We had west and south wings for in-patient stays.  The Mental Health area was a wing just beside our department.  The Public Health Department in Columbus was within the hospital.  Betty Hagedorn was my first manager.  She was a great leader and teacher.  She was dedicated to her work and to the hospital.  She laid the foundation for my career in Medical Records (Health Information) Department.   There have been many changes over the years.  I was involved in the transition from paper records to electronic records. I’ve watched the expansion of the hospital as it has taken on a new look and was a witness to the damage by the flood. I’ve also been a part of the hospital expanding to other parts of the community not just at the hospital campus. The flood was an incredible event, not just for the hospital, but for my perspective on the hospital.  I was able to witness how employees united together to help restore the building.   It did not matter what your job consisted of everyone was willing to do whatever it took to bring the hospital back to operation.  The leadership at that time was remarkable. Normally every day we work to care for our patients but during this time they cared for us.  Columbus Regional continued to provided for us financially during a tough time for the hospital.  They made sure everyone was safe and able to do what was asked of them. Today, I still work in Health Information; I have been here for 35 years.  I have seen many changes over the years.  Columbus Regional Hospital is my work family.   I feel Columbus Regional Hospital is the best place to work in Columbus!”  — Tammy Imlay, CCA, Health Information Department

     

  • “During my clinicals, I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Helen Carter. She started at the hospital in 1965 as a Nursing Aid. Olive Murphy was the administrator at that time. Helen did her LPN training in 1966-1967. After which she worked in the ER for 13 years. On September 1, 1978, her 50th birthday gift was her Nursing Education. Her associate’s and her Bachelor’s degrees followed. In 1990 Helen started the Nursing Education Team on 2 South. From 1982 - 1988 Helen earned three Masters in Nursing. Helen retired from Columbus Regional Hospital in the Summer of 2010. She had 96,000 hours in with the hospital when she retired at the age of 82. Many of Helens most cherished memories are of the people and friends she made while working at CRH. The lives she has touched, including mine, are unnumbered.” — Carrie Alesandro, 7 tower Rehabilitation Unit

     

  • “During the early 90's, at the same time that our community experienced the unexpected growth of Spanish-speaking immigrants, the healthcare industry became focused on addressing the needs of patients of diverse groups.  Our hospital responded in many creative ways to ensure we were prepared to also serve the healthcare needs of people in our community who had different language, nationality, ethnicity, and culture.  A position was created within the HR department to benchmark and design ways to be the best at providing healthcare to all.  At the local level our hospital hosted for several years Medical Spanish classes for our employees, and developed a Medical Interpreter curriculum when there was not a formal national effort for this activity yet.  At the state and national level we participated on the design of strategies that hospitals could use to deploy comprehensive services amid the changing demographics of the country; and were members of the National Association of Diversity in Healthcare, a board affiliated with the American Hospital Association.  During our tenure on this board, our hospital was an active participant in the design and implementation of the curriculum for the Professional Diversity Practitioner course, which formalized the training for this position in healthcare organizations nationwide.  One strategy we used to serve our local community better, was to enlist our employees of different nationalities to help us learn, and prepared sessions to help the rest of our staff understand and respond appropriately to different cultural expectations and healthcare perspectives.  These employees were instrumental also in providing language interpretations when needed within our hospital and our community.  The flags on the photo were displayed during the month of September every year in our front lobby and they represented the different nationalities of our workforce at the time.”  — Laura Leonard, President, Our Hospice