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Archbishop experiences Good Samaritan’s tradition of care

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

ARCHDIOCESE — Since it was established by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati more than 150 years ago, Good Samaritan Hospital has provided compassionate healthcare to all segments of the population.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr experienced that tradition of care during a meeting with hospital administrators and a tour of the facility on June 2. It was the archbishop’s first visit to Cincinnati’s oldest and largest private teaching hospital, which has undergone a major expansion and renovation project in recent years, including the addition of a 10-story patient tower. The archbishop met with John Prout, president and CEO of TriHealth, Good Samaritan and Bethesda North Hospital; David Dornheggen, COO for Good Samaritan; Mary Irvin, vice president and chief nursing officer for Good Samaritan; and Ursuline Sister Agnes Coveney, executive director of mission integration for TriHealth.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr tours Good Samaritan Hospital with John Prout, president and CEO of TriHealth, Good Samaritan and Bethesda North Hospital, and Mary Irvin, vice president and chief nursing officer for Good Samaritan. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

The tour of the hospital began a visit to the oncology unit where Sue Nickoson, nurse manager, explained the unit’s work. She also spoke of how meaningful the prayer shawls made by volunteers are to the patients, many of whom are terminally ill. When a patient is given a shawl, a group of nurses will gather around his or her bed, along with family members, and join hands in prayer. “The prayer shawls have really made a difference as far as what we do,” she said.
Archbishop Schnurr also had the opportunity to visit with a patient and, upon leaving the unit, said to Nickoson and the other staff members, “You’re doing good work here. Thank you for that.”

Next on the tour was a stop in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Director Laura Harris described the ministry of the unit, where the hospital’s tiniest patients, who are born early or with medical problems, are given extra attention, and critically ill babies receive ongoing care.

“I would be afraid to touch someone so small,” the archbishop said as he toured the NICU, stopping to watch a staff member gently pat the back of a baby in isolation and to chat briefly with the family of one infant.
Archbishop Schnurr also visited Good Samaritan’s new emergency department, which opened to patients in October 2009 and features increased space, private patient and specialty treatment rooms and a new process that allows patients to see a doctor more quickly. Under the new model of care, physicians are involved in the triage process to determine the next steps in the care process, allowing some patients to be seen and discharged more efficiently.
The tour concluded with a stop in the outpatient treatment center, where the archbishop learned that between 30-40 procedures had been performed that day. Nurse Karen Rahe told the archbishop that he had recently confirmed her two children at St. Jude Parish in Bridgetown and noted how meaningful receiving the sacrament was for them. “It was a wonderful ceremony,” she said.
“I enjoy the opportunity to confirm and the opportunity to speak with the young people,” the archbishop responded.

“It was a privilege to have the archbishop visit Good Samaritan Hospital,” said Prout. “As a hospital built on Catholic values, we believe it’s important to stay connected to the diocese, and we want to share information about our daily ministry caring for the sick. We appreciate Archbishop Schnurr’s leadership and commitment to this community.”

Archbishop Schnurr praised the hospital’s ministry saying, “Catholic health care, Catholic schools, Catholic charities…all of these ministries have a long tradition in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. At Good Samaritan Hospital it is evident that the tradition remains strong. Throughout the hospital, one can sense an atmosphere of caring concern for the patients and for one another. It is a real joy to see such commitment to ministry. The name — Good Samaritan — says it all.”

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