Rhode Island Hospital Honors Community Champions at President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner
More than 500 of Rhode Island Hospital’s most dedicated friends and supporters convened at the Rhode Island Convention Center on November 15, when Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, president of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, hosted the hospital’s 2016 President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner. Highlighting hospital successes of the past year, including a moving story from a patient whose life was saved by Rhode Island Hospital after suffering a stroke, the annual event honored community champions for their selfless contributions.
The celebration was chaired by Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., chairman of the Lifespan Board of Directors and chair of the Rhode Island Hospital Board of Trustees, and co-chaired by Roger N. Begin, chair of the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees; Karen L. Furie, MD; Thomas A. Magliocchetti; and Marc A. Paulhus. Presenting sponsors Amaral Revite General Contractors, Rhode Island Hospital Guild, Rhode Island Medical Imaging, and University Orthopedics provided generous support for the event.
Opening the event, Dr. Van Bree cast light on the hospital’s commitment to patient care extending beyond the traditional hospital setting and boundaries.
“I could not be more proud of our compassionate, highly skilled teams for their dedication to doing whatever it takes to provide our patients with the best care possible,” said Dr. Van Bree. “From attracting the best and brightest minds in medicine to Rhode Island and investing in research that puts us on the national stage, to creating groundbreaking partnerships with other healthcare leaders, the past year was defined by serving our patients even better than before.”
Dr. Van Bree highlighted new partnerships the hospital has recently forged such as the collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to provide patients with cancer access to the latest clinical trials, close to home. She also shared examples of breakthroughs that have taken place in the past 12 months, both in the Emergency Department and the Comprehensive Stroke Center.
As she finished her remarks, Dr. Van Bree introduced Scott Mellon and his wife, Denise, to share the story of how Rhode Island Hospital’s revolutionary stroke care saved Scott’s life.
While golfing in Massachusetts this past April, Scott, 43, suffered a massive stroke—the result of an emergent large vessel occlusion—and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Scott was unresponsive and paralyzed on his right side as the hospital where he presented administered clot-busting medication and immediately called Rhode Island Hospital, the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center equipped to care for complex cases of stroke. The call was part of a primary stroke center protocol established by Rhode Island Hospital with area hospitals to ensure patients needing the level of care available only in Rhode Island would be triaged as quickly as possible.
An angiogram at the nearby hospital confirmed Scott was a candidate for the new stent retriever treatment, and as the ambulance raced to Rhode Island with Scott aboard, Rhode Island Hospital prepared to deliver the procedure the moment he arrived.
Less than three hours after Scott suffered his stroke, the clot that caused it was removed and blood flow to his brain was restored. He was no longer paralyzed; his speech returning with each passing minute. Two days later, he walked out of the hospital on his own two feet. Had it not been for Rhode Island Hospital’s collaboration with other hospitals in the area to transfer him here for the procedure, Scott’s doctor has little doubt that he would either not be alive or severely disabled.
“How the stars aligned that day, which brought me to your hospital…which gave me back my life…there really are no words. Thank you for the gift I have been given,” said Scott as he and his wife left the stage to loud applause.
The evening continued with the recognition of 2016 Champions: Local Dunkin’ Donuts Franchisees as Corporate Champion; Arthur A. Bert, MD for Lifetime Achievement; and Al and Gerrie Verrecchia as Individual Champions.
About this year’s Champions
One of the region’s most recognizable brands, Dunkin’ Donuts is also one of its most philanthropic. One-hundred percent locally owned and operated, its local franchisees have raised more than $1 million for Hasbro Children’s Hospital through “Iced Coffee Day” since 2010, resulting in the creation of the Dunkin’ Donuts Family Room on Hasbro 6, and a health-themed play area in the pediatric ambulatory clinic. In 2014, franchisees reaffirmed their support with a 5-year, $1 million commitment to launch the “4-Safety” program.
Throughout a distinguished 30-year career, Arthur A. Bert, MD, the recently retired Anesthesiologist-in-Chief for Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, led a team of more than 100 anesthesiologists who performed nearly 60,000 procedures annually. A tireless advocate for advancing medicine through research, Dr. Bert helped develop a technology for a bioengineered heart valve for the treatment of children with congenital heart disease. In testimony to his abilities as a doctor and administrator, Dr. Bert has been named a Rhode Island Monthly “Top Doctor” each year since 2000.
Al Verrecchia worked for Hasbro, Inc. his entire professional career, spanning 50-years until he stepped down as chairman in 2015. Together with his wife, Gerrie, the couple created the Verrecchia Family Foundation to serve as the vehicle for their charitable work, focusing their support to organizations that serve children with an emphasis on health and education. Both Al and Gerrie have a deep commitment to Lifespan and its affiliated hospitals. Al was Chair of the Bradley Hospital Board of Directors and Lifespan’s Board of Directors. Gerrie has been a longtime Hasbro Children’s Hospital volunteer, reading to and playing with young patients during their hospital stay. The tireless couple spearheaded the Bradley School Campaign in 2004 and chaired the first Hasbro Children’s Hospital Ball.
Videos shown at the event to honor Rhode Island Hospital’s 2016 Champions may be found here.