“I didn’t much care that I couldn’t finish football season,” Thom recounts. He says he wasn’t very good at that sport anyway. “But when I realized my injury was going to keep me out of basketball season, I was really disappointed!” Of course, that’s what any 15-year-old young man would feel. His finger didn’t seem broken or sprained, but when he couldn’t bend it three weeks after the injury occurred, he finally saw an orthopedist. Turns out, Thom needed surgery to reattach a tendon. Thankfully, his surgeon was skilled at his craft because nowadays patients trust Thom for their care. Inspired by the skill and kindness of his doctor, Thom decided to pursue medicine. He likes Anesthesiology because he enjoys the variety of patients and challenges that he encounters. “I can work with a child with a broken arm and a 90-year old having stomach surgery in the same day,” he explains. When he’s not in the Operating Room, he likes to be home with his family. What does his seven-year old think he’s up to when he goes to the “Cold Room?” (That’s what she calls the OR). “She knows that I am helping people,” Thom laughs. That works for all of us!
Thom is an Anesthesiologist at St. Mark’s.
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”