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Celebrating Excellent Care – The Least Invasive Way!

It was a chilly damp day when I was invited into Heidi Van Wyk’s warm and comfortable home. Heidi is 92 years young and it was my complete joy to sit and talk with her and her daughter Susan Sturgis.  Susan offered me a fresh hot latte’ and a seat on an incredibly soft sofa, then her mother started to tell me her story.

“In was late in August that I ended up in Beebe Healthcare’s Emergency Department with severe abdominal pains in the lower region. I had been suffering for several days and finally decided to go to the hospital. I met Dr. Stancofski in the Emergency Department and he ordered a CAT scan. When the results came back he discovered I had an obstruction in my small bowel. I had developed some adhesions near where my appendix had been removed years ago and these adhesions may have contributed to the obstruction.

“Dr. Stancofski is so wonderful. He is on top of his game and really knows what is doing. Because the adhesions were so close to my small bowel, he believed a procedure that would empty and decompress my stomach would clear the obstruction. Dr. Stancofski wanted to help me avoid anesthesia and an open surgery. His goal was to break down the obstruction in my small bowel in the least invasive way. I truly appreciated his concern and determination to provide a treatment plan that I would tolerate well.

“The procedure to empty and decompress my stomach was a little difficult, but it was very successful. For four days I was not allowed to eat anything. All of my treatment and nutrition came through intravenous. I remember every time someone would bring in a food tray for my neighbor in the next bed; I would ask, ‘When are you going to feed me?’ Some of my nurses got to see my dark side. ‘I haven’t had a solid meal in eight days! I’m really hungry and I want to go home!’ Dr. Stancofski visited me twice a day and when he came in to see me he was always so pleasant. I didn’t let him see my hungry self because he is so nice, so upbeat, all of the time.

“I was in the hospital for five days and I did not require a surgery. I was discharged and so very happy to be home and eating! Then, two days later, I started to have some pain again, but now in the upper area of my abdomen. I thought maybe I just had food poisoning, but when it persisted for a couple of days I went back to the hospital ER.  This time it was my gall bladder. I had gall stones and checked back into the hospital.

“When Dr. Stancofski found out that I was back in the hospital he came in to see me and said, “I thought we sent you home!” Once again his goal was to do a procedure that wasn’t invasive and wouldn’t require anesthesia. The Radiologist made a tiny little hole in my side and inserted a thin tube to drain my gall bladder into a container that was so small it could fit into my pocket. Then he sent me home.

“I wore this little tube and container for a month. I had home health care nurses who would check on me regularly. All of those nurses were really nice too. On the fourth week, when the bandage was getting loose, I was worried that I might have a big hole in my side. I didn’t know what was under that bandage.  When Dr. Stancofski removed the tube, there was only a little pin prick and he covered it with a tiny little band aid. My gall bladder is still there, everything is better AND I can eat anything I want!

“My entire experience at Beebe was so wonderful. All of the nurses and other staff were just so amazing, including my home care nurses. Rachel, my night nurse, always kept me laughing. She had terrific suggestions dealing with some small, yet difficult things, like trying to swallow a really large pill. Rachel told me to try putting the pill into a spoonful of applesauce. Swallowing the pill with the applesauce was easy. It went right down! I received so many helpful hints from my nurses, just like the helpful hints from Heloise! I also must thank my wonderful daughter Susan as she is my angel. Susan was with me, by my side for everything; every day, for four or five hours a day.

“I am so happy to be able to honor Dr. Stancofski and all that he did to help me. When I think about what a surgeon does when he operates, with his hands, to go into your body and make repairs and restore your health – it is just amazing! He is so on top of everything and the care he provided me was truly like a miracle. When you think about this area and the number of people who are moving here to retire, it is good to know that Beebe Healthcare and their doctors are well equipped to take care of all of our family’s needs.”

Heidi Van Wyk made a generous donation to the Beebe Medical Foundation to honor Dr. Erik Stancofski and to Celebrate the Excellent Care she received by everyone at Beebe Healthcare. As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe continues to depend on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts, large or small, to Beebe Healthcare, are tax deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation. 

Please consider making a gift today and share your amazing stories with our community. To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go online to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org/cec or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or write to foundation@beebehealthcare.org.

Pictured, left to right: Heidi Van Wyk, Dr. Erik Stancofski and Susan Sturgis celebrating Dr. Stancofski at The Beebe Medical Foundation House in Lewes.