Message from the President

While the Ashes Were Still Hot

by Loren Hamel, MD - President, Spectrum Health Lakeland | Sep 25, 2020

Welcoming a new baby can be such a wonderful and joyful time for a family. While one blended family in Niles was eagerly awaiting the arrival of theirs, they set up the nursery and made sure things were in just the right places before heading to The BirthPlace at Lakeland Hospital Niles. But just a short time after the baby was born, tragedy struck. They received devastating news that a fire had destroyed their home. Thankfully, everyone was safe, but the family lost everything.

Within a matter of hours, “while the ashes were still hot,” the Birthplace staff heard what happened and jumped into action to help the family. Diana Oopong, RN, delivered a bassinet before the house fire was even fully put out. Missy Ryder, RN, started collecting money for them. The donations began to roll in. What started with the generosity of bedside nurses turned in to an effort that spread throughout the hospital and into the community.

Almost every member of The BirthPlace staff, nursing staff from other units at Lakeland Hospital Niles, the Niles City Police Department, a local family center, LifePlan, team members from Southwestern Medical Clinic Buchanan, Southwestern Medical Clinic Pediatrics, local friends, Dr. Schuhknecht and Teri Peak, NP, students from the University of Michigan, and Lakeland administration all stepped in to help. Jeanette Dolan, RN, and a lactation consultant helped bring it all together and communicated with the patient. In all, the family received clothes for their six children, both parents, and the necessities for their newborn. On top of that, over $1,000 was raised for them in just 24 hours.

“You don’t have to look far in the Niles OB department to see someone go above and beyond,” said one of the Niles house supervisors. I know this could be said of many other Lakeland teams as well. I am so proud of you as a team, a hospital, and a community. Thank you so much for blessing patients with your skill and expertise when it comes to their health and also displaying compassion and collaboration to go above and beyond, to truly be the heart of Lakeland in the moments patients need us most.

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© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2020