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Thank You Kathi, My Forever Friend

Celebrating excellent care are (l-r) Judy Aliquo, Beebe Medical Foundation president and CEO; Christopher Steele, director of respiratory, neurology and sleep services; Steve Dayton; pulmonary tech Kathi Dayton; and grateful patient Maureen Meloche and he

“I have always had great experiences at Beebe,” said Maureen Meloche. “There have been quite a few, from heart problems to elbow surgery to a bowel obstruction. Everyone at Beebe is always welcoming, and I’ve always received excellent care, great service and friendly faces. Beebe is always my first choice, and I never question going there.”

Maureen has lived in Rehoboth Beach for about eight years, and has had several visits to Beebe, but her visit April 30 was definitely one of the most extraordinary. That’s when she met Kathi Dayton, a pulmonary tech in the Respiratory Therapy Department at Beebe Healthcare. 

“I would choose her to be my friend, because she is one of the most caring, loving and giving people I know,” said Maureen. “She saved my life.”

On April 30, Maureen arrived at the hospital for some respiratory testing her doctor had ordered. Meeting Kathi is just about the last thing Maureen remembers. The details of the rest of her story were shared by others, including her daughter Kristin.

After Maureen’s tests were completed, Kathi asked where she was parked, but Maureen couldn’t remember. So Kathi decided to accompany Maureen to the garage, just to make sure she got there safely. As they were walking toward the parking garage, Maureen stopped and asked Kathi where she was. Kathi immediately realized from Maureen’s confusion that something was wrong. She suggested they go back to the Emergency Department, but Maureen refused. Instead, Kathi offered to take Maureen to her office, and from there, she was able to get Maureen to the ED. Maureen was admitted to the hospital that day and stayed three more days. She had suffered a transient ischemic attack or TIA, a mini-stroke, and was diagnosed with transient global amnesia.

“Kathi came to visit me the day after I was admitted to see how I was,” Maureen said. “I don’t remember her visits, but she explained to my family what had happened, and my family told me she was there. Kathi was so helpful in keeping my family informed on my condition. I don’t remember being in the Emergency Department or much about my three days in the hospital, but somehow I knew Kathi had a watchful eye on me.” 

After being discharged from the hospital, Maureen had more testing with a neurologist. At that time it was also discovered that Maureen had very little, if any, vitamin B12 in her system. B12 is a vitamin that plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells, the functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the body’s overall metabolism. B12 enables the release of energy by helping the body absorb folic acid. This was a critical finding and an important element in Maureen’s medical history.

The recovery from her TIA and its side effects has been difficult, and it makes sense that Maureen would be frustrated from the memory loss. But during a visit with her and her family in Rehoboth recently, I was in awe of this beautiful lady who enthusiastically talks about getting back in full force to the things she loves: spending more time with her children, grandchildren, and large circle of friends, and going to the beach, concerts, the theater, and the gym.

“I’m so grateful to be here,” Maureen said. “My mantra is to live one day at a time to the fullest, and in the summertime, this is the best place to be. I’m always happy in the warm weather.”

Maureen is a remarkable woman with a close-knit family: daughter Kristin and two sons, Joseph and Terry. They have been extraordinarily helpful in getting her through this ordeal, Maureen said.

“My mom is a very dedicated and giving woman,” Kristin said. “I am so grateful to Kathi for going above and beyond to make sure my mom was safe.”

“For all that she has done, and for the compassionate and caring way she treated me and my family, I want to recognize Kathi Dayton and Celebrate Excellent Care,” Maureen said. “If Kathi had not noticed a change in my behavior and taken her time to walk with me, I have no idea what would have happened to me or where I would have gone. Kathi is great at her job, but even greater as a person who cares for all people. She is truly a role model for all to follow, and she will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I owe her my life, and for that I say, ‘Thank you, Kathi – my friend forever.’”

Maureen Meloche made a wonderful gift to the Beebe Medical Foundation in honor of Kathi Dayton and to support Beebe Healthcare. Beebe is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities it serves.

For more information about Beebe Medical Foundation’s Celebrate Excellent Care program and how to honor a Beebe team member and support Beebe Healthcare, go to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org/cec.

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