Ron Drosdzal is absolutely certain: “I’m the luckiest person on the face of this earth — from a medical standpoint, that is.
“In November 2016, I was at our home in Bethany Beach while my wife, Karen, was in Maryland. One morning around 8:30 a.m., I felt my left side go numb. I took two aspirins and began to feel better, so I went to the gym.
“Two turns on the lifecycle, and my left side went numb again. I called my niece, and she told me to take two more aspirin. She also called my sister, who picked me up and drove me to the Emergency Department at Beebe. The receptionist asked, ‘What is going on?’ and I told her, ‘I think I had a stroke.’”
Dr. Abraham Scheer, Beebe Healthcare’s medical director of Neurology & Stroke Services provided for Drosdzal’s care in the Emergency Department.
Drosdzal explained, “Dr. Scheer was very thorough. He ordered several CT scans and let me know that I was going to be staying for the night. He wanted me to meet Dr. Katz, who would be in at 7 a.m. I remember Dr. Scheer saying, ‘If I had to pick someone to do a procedure like this for me, it would be Dr. Katz.’ Dr. Scheer kept communicating with me throughout the night.
“While this is happening, I’m texting my good friend in New York, who is asking me, ‘Where are you?’ I replied that I was at Beebe. My friend texted back, ‘You’ve got to get to a bigger hospital.’
“At 7 a.m. the next morning, Dr. Katz was in my room. He said to me, ‘I know you have a lot of questions. Let’s start answering them.’ I wanted to know how many procedures like this he had done and how many he does every month. Everything I learned made me very confident in Dr. Katz. All of his answers were very reassuring. The calm in his voice alleviated my anxiety, despite the severity of everything that was going on. At the end of our conversation, I said, ‘I’m going to stay here; I’m really comfortable.’”
“Many people think you shouldn’t ask a lot of questions, that physicians will be insulted,” Dr. Mayer Katz said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. By asking questions, whether it be medical treatment or surgical, it helps the patient understand their treatment options and what they can expect. This gained knowledge and understanding often gives the patient a sense of greater reassurance, as in Ron’s case.”
Drosdzal underwent a right carotid endarterectomy. A piece of plaque had broken off from the carotid artery and travelled to his brain, causing the stroke.
“I woke up after my procedure and went into the ICU to spend the night. The next morning, I was discharged and went home to Bethany Beach. Later that afternoon, I had another situation where I felt my left side went numb and I called 911. The ambulance drove me to Beebe, and Dr. Scheer was waiting for me at the Emergency Department.
“I’ve never met doctors — Dr. Scheer and Dr. Katz — who were so incredible. Dr. Katz gave me his cell phone. We have become really good friends. His follow-through was just amazing. He’s just incredible. To see how much Dr. Katz enjoys what he does, how good he is — he’s a true professional. Dr. Scheer and Dr. Katz could be at any major hospital anywhere in the country. They are so talented, and we are so lucky to have them here at Beebe Healthcare.”
“I’m just one part of the puzzle,” Katz said. “It takes a whole team and their support and skills to have a good result. That includes the nurse first assistants in the operating room, the ICU nurses, the physician assistants, the floor nurses, the vascular technicians and the office staff. Without this team effort, I wouldn’t be successful in what I do. Ron’s a great guy, and we wish him the best.”
As a certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Beebe Healthcare is recognized by emergency medical personnel as a hospital of choice in a stroke emergency. In 2016, Beebe Healthcare earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from those respective organizations.
The Joint Commission evaluates compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care, and performance improvement.
“Beebe Healthcare has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers,” said Patrick Phelan, interim executive director, Hospital Business Development, the Joint Commission. “We commend Beebe Healthcare for becoming a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community.”
Ron and Karen Drosdzal shared their story in June 2017. Dr. Mayer Katz, who founded Beebe’s Cardiac & Vascular Services program in 1990, has recently retired and said he is proud that Beebe has been recognized among the Top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for Interventional Cardiology procedures for two years in a row (2017-2018) by Healthgrades.
Patients are now receiving care from Beebe vascular surgeons Dr. Carlos Neves and Dr. Sean Ryan. Both Neves and Ryan are board-certified in vascular surgery and fellowship-trained in vascular and endovascular surgery.
To celebrate the excellent care Drosdzal received, he is hosting a dine-and-donate for Beebe at their family’s business, Armand’s Pizza in Bethany Beach, for the entire month of October, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A percentage of all sales in October will be donated to support the construction of Beebe Healthcare’s new Emergency Department and Cancer Center in Millville.
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.
To make a personal donation or to learn more about how Beebe Healthcare is “Creating the Next Generation of Care,” go online to www.nextgenerationofcare.org, or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or write to email@example.com.
By David Szumski