Grateful Patient

06/04/14

Winchester Hospital Honors Grateful Patients and their Caregivers

 It was a hectic time for Phyllis Parrella and her family. Her husband, Anthony, had been battling cancer for two years. Grateful Patient

In August of 1991 he was admitted to Winchester Hospital with complications from his disease. Anthony passed away 10 days later on August 12. While at the hospital, Phyllis met Deb Smith, nurse manager at Winchester Hospital. When Phyllis was too nervous to leave her husband's side, Deb would take her place, allowing Phyllis time to take a walk.

"My family and I met Deb during one of the most difficult times of our lives," said Parrella. "Deb treated Anthony with such care, compassion and respect."

But what inspired Parrella to honor Smith through the Grateful Patient Program, which invites patients to make a donation to the hospital in honor of a special physician, nurses and staff member who has gone above and beyond for them or a family member, was her continued caring, compassion and support of her and her family.

That Christmas, after Anthony passed away, Smith sent Parrella a Christmas card. And every year, for 23 straight years, the two have exchanged Christmas cards.

"When I received a letter from Winchester Hospital that a donation was made in my name, it was surreal," said Smith. "It now will be my proudest moment as a nurse. I have made many copies of that letter, one for my boss, one for my parents, and one I have pinned on my bulletin board in my office. I chose to be a caregiver, but was chosen to be recognized in this very special way, and for that I am grateful."

This spring, more than 90 Winchester Hospital physicians, nurses and caregivers, along with the patients who generously donated in their honor attended the third annual Grateful Patient luncheon. Deb Smith and Melinda Taranto-Garnis, social worker at the Center for Cancer Care, were two of the Winchester Hospital caregivers who were honored for their excellent patient care.

“It is truly inspiring to see how these caregivers touch the lives of our patients every day," said Kathy Schuler, vice president of Patient Care and CNO. "Nothing is more important than the relationship between a patient and those that care for them. The Grateful Patient program shows that we are providing the best possible care to our patients."

Since the inception of the Grateful Patient program in the spring of 2011 more than 250 contributions have been made and nearly 165 patients have recognized more than 135 of Winchester Hospital’s physicians and caregivers for their compassion, understanding and the exceptional care they have provided.

"The Grateful Patient program is so meaningful because it exemplifies the sacred bond between a patient and those who care for them," said Maribeth Canning, vice president of the Winchester Hospital Foundation. "It is a privilege to see so many of our caregivers honored by the generosity of our patients."

About Winchester Hospital

Winchester Hospital is the first hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet recognition, the American Nurses Association’s highest honor for nursing excellence, three times. As the northwest suburban Boston area’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services, the 229-bed facility provides care in general, bariatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, gastroenterology, rehabilitation, radiation oncology, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. Winchester Hospital has clinical affiliations with several nationally recognized hospitals in the region, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To learn more, visit www.winchesterhospital.org.