Neighbor taking care of neighbor
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Guest speakers and board members are, from left, are Diane Luciana, St Luke's patron and supporter; J. David Bohri, MD, President, Medical Staff, St Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital; Bill Moyer, incoming President; John Tracy, Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, St Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital; and Ed Nawrocki, Interim President, St Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital.
People, technology, and networking. Those were the key words used by speaker J. David Bohri, MD, Medical Staff President, St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, to explain the hospital's 100 years of success during the hospital's 100 Year Anniversary Celebration held Thursday evening in the ornate lobby of the hospital in Coaldale.
The celebration, which included catered hors d'oeuvres and live piano music, was held to recognize two important milestones - the anniversary of the St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital's location as being a relished health service and hospital location for over 100 years and the 10-year anniversary of the hospital becoming a member of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. To exemplify the hospital's heritage and unforgotten dedication to its coal miner and railroad worker founders, an extensive display of coal mine and railroad antiques, artifacts, and commodities, provided by Tamaqua Historical Society President Dale Freudenberger, was also on display for guests to browse.
Speaker Ed Nawrocki, recent interim president of the hospital, highlighted some of the key points in the establishment of the hospital 100 years ago, in July 1910, pointing out that the hospital was originally established as the Panther Creek Valley Hospital, originating from the need by local coal mine and railroad workers to have a hospital close by. "What struck me as remarkable, and even moving, was that almost 100 percent of local coal miners personally donated to the creation of the hospital," said Nawrocki. "The coal mining family truly came together to improve the health of everyone," he added.
John Tracy, speaker and vice-chair of the hospital Board of Directors, indicated their past pursuit of a partner eventually led them to join with the St Luke's Hospital and and Health Network, whose sense of community was similar to that of Miners Memorial Medical Center, as it was then called back then. "After several years under their wing, we knew that St. Luke's recognized the importance of maintaining convenient access to health care here in Coaldale. In 2000, we became St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, part of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. This was a key time for our hospital. We made critical decisions that were the right decisions for the future of local health care. St. Luke's put us back on the map."
In the past 10 years, St. Luke's, which employs about 330 people, has invested more than $29 million into the Coaldale campus.
Incoming President William "Bill" Moyer, who officially started his role as the hospital's new president the day of the celebration, mentioned the importance the hospital had for his family and how it continues to benefit the community by adding, "This hospital has made a positive impact on so many people's lives as they are able to receive top-notch services close to home and provide a conduit to high level specialty care available throughout St. Luke's Health Network. Just as the original hospital was founded so that miners would not have to travel long distances to receive care, our hospital still stands here today, able to provide the residents of this area with care close to home."
Moyer offered insight in to the many great initiatives to come in the near future, such as offering in-patient dialysis services in October, plans to renovate the surgical suite, the hospital's satellite locations, as well as improved services provided at each location. More services will be brought to the area and there will be greater access to more specialists; adding that the Temple/St. Luke's Medical School will open in 2011 to provide a means to retain future doctors to the area. "We are thankful for the support that the community has provided to our hospital over the past 100 years," said Moyer, "and St. Luke's remains committed to growing this organization and thriving in the future so that our relatives will stand here and celebrate another 100 years of caring."
Bohri added, "Our physicians, nurses and staff have always been well trained to care for patients and diligent in the work they do. When you have access to state-of-the-art equipment to provide care, you have a perfect match." He explained the hospital's advanced technology and its digital imaging services pointing out the hospital's 64 slice CT scanner, which serves as one of the first in the nation, that takes clearer images. "We are able to bring specialists to Coaldale to treat our patients and have access to other specialists throughout the network for second opinions and referrals," Bohri added. "St. Luke's network of hospitals has brought our patients the region's only team of fellowship-trained surgical oncologists, we have fellowship trained colon and rectal surgeons on site and we provide endocrinology care through our telemedicine program. We will continue to bring more and more of these specialists and services to St. Luke's Miners."
Guest speaker Diane Luciana, Jim Thorpe, mentioned the prodigious amount of tending care received during both her mother's and father's visits to hospital. Two months ago, the Luciana family sought care at St. Luke's Urgent Care Center in Jim Thorpe for Diane's mother, which required further care at a hospital. She happily recounted her visit in the hospital by pointing out the amount of attention the doctor and nurses gave to her mother. She added, "Because of the strong team of physicians, nurses and staff at St. Luke's, my mother received the excellent quality care she needed." Five and a half years ago, her husband Don was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was immediately taken to St. Luke's Cancer Care Associates and seen by Drs. Lee Riley and Darius Desai. "They saved his life. He has been cancer-free for five years," she exclaimed. Luciana concluded, "The staff treats their patients like family and when it's your family, like my husband and my mom, that they're taking care of, you realize just how important that care is to each and every patient who comes here."
A number of officials in attendance were also acknowledged during the celebration. Some of which were State Senator David Argall (R-29), Magisterial District Judge Stephen Bayer, of Tamaqua, Coaldale Mayor Richard Corkery, Coaldale Councilman Joseph Hnat, Tamaqua Councilman Tom Cara, Lori Miller from the office of Representative Jerry Knowles (R-124), and others.
President Nawrocki added, as part of his speech, "lt is neighbor taking care of neighbor, friend taking care of friend and family members taking care of family member. lt is with that spirit of togetherness and family that we look forward to the next 100 years."