Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lee Ann Vasil's "Because of GBMC" Story

Lee Ann's daughter and father
Every one of us has a story we can share. Think of a past event in your life related to GBMC. Whether it’s care you received, an opportunity you have, or a loved one you remember, this event should have very personal meaning to you. What’s happened in your life since your experience at GBMC? Read Lee Ann Vasil’s story below, and share yours at

Lee Ann Vasil's Story: "The Best Surgeons"

About 50 years ago, when GBMC was brand new, my dad was still working as a supervisor in installation of products for BGE. He must have felt ill as he was driving near his home and stopped there to take a break. A neighbor noticed the company car was there for a long period of time and knew there must be a problem. The neighbor called his wife at her work and they soon got to my dad. They found him unconscious on the bathroom floor.

An ambulance was called, and when my dad arrived at GBMC, he was told that his bowel had ruptured and needed immediate surgery. His condition was rapidly deteriorating but we were assured that he would be in good hands. How fortunate we were to have Dr. Geary Stonesifer ready to take care of him. This kind of surgery doesn't stop with the initial operation – there was a colostomy involved and then more surgery in six months to close it. It did not take the family long to realize that our very sick dad and husband had one of the best surgeons…someone that we could have only hoped for in our situation. Also, how fortunate that the ambulance took him to GBMC, where he was given very good care as he recovered from a serious situation.

Two years ago my daughter, who was 58 at the time, had very intense pain in her abdomen and was rushed to the emergency room at GBMC. We were advised by her gastroenterologist that we needed to call in a surgeon. History had repeated itself, and my daughter's colon had also ruptured. She had been in a hospital near her home the week before with pneumonia and also had other health issues, which posed a very serious situation. Again, we had the good fortune that GBMC had another special surgeon, Dr. Francis Rotolo. I told him the day of surgery that I knew it was a very serious situation but knowing what a skilled surgeon he was gave me much encouragement. Her visits are now six months apart, and after two surgeries and two years of visits, we know what a blessing it was to once again have been fortunate to have one of the best surgeons for a very ill patient.

I cannot imagine having to move to a place where I would not have this great hospital that has some of the very best surgeons. My father lived another 20 years. As ill as he was that day, I know how lucky we were to have had Dad long enough to see my daughter get married and to meet his great grandchildren. I have no other family but my daughter, and I can’t help but think how different my life and the life of her family could have been.

After I retired, I knew I wanted to give back. I'm now a GBMC volunteer, giving back to the place that helped my family so much.

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