Felling like a new man thanks to TAVR

“I’ll go first,” joked Harry Evans in February 2021 as he hopped on the bed at IU Health Arnett Hospital to receive the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure in Tippecanoe County.

One year later, he still feels like a new man.

Prior to the TAVR procedure, the 85-year-old White County resident was unable to even walk down his driveway to get his mail. A year later, he walks his newly adopted Pyrenees, Miss Betty—named for the day she was adopted in honor of Betty White—up and down the road several times a day.

“Aortic stenosis can interfere with daily activities as basic as walking,” explains M. Ziaul Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist at IU Health Arnett. “It is very exciting to offer a minimally invasive procedure that can provide a solution for patients with aortic stenosis. TAVR can lengthen and greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life. Getting a patient back to enjoying life is our ultimate goal.”

Aortic stenosis is a build-up of calcium deposits on the last “door” of the heart, known as the aortic valve. This causes the opening to narrow and reduce the blood flow to the rest of your body. Over time, if your valve doesn’t fully open, your heart must work harder to push blood through to your body. This causes symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue and potentially a shortened lifespan.

During the TAVR procedure, an artificial valve is implanted through a catheter, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery. The procedure is performed in a catherization lab that allows for maximum collaboration between surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

Evans was able to go home the day after his procedure.

“It is a less invasive operation and a better alternative for patients who may be older, have more co-morbidities or medical problems, have issues with mobility or have a higher risk for surgery,” explains Kyle Yancey, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon at IU Health Arnett. “For Harry, we were able to give him the chance to have some of his life back.”

Not a man to sit around the house, Evans says he does have his life back. (He worked on the Monon Railroad for 26 years driving spikes, by hand.) In his retirement he likes to keep busy. He mows the four acres he lives on north of Monticello. He takes care of the house and cooks for his wife. Two days a week he mows and cleans the gym at Delphi. He has helped refurbish the trailer for the Domestic Animal Rescue Team (DART) in Carroll County. He likes to help people.

Hospital worker experiences aneurysm at work: “Divine alignment”

She was in good health, so when the elevator stopped on the second floor of Methodist Hospital and Carol Edmonds didn’t feel right she headed straight for her co-worker’s office. It may have saved her life.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

It was 37 years ago this month that Carol Edmonds joined IU Health. A single parent, she was looking for a second job to provide for her family. She began working in dietary and after 20 years, she saw an opportunity to advance in the healthcare field.

She took a six-month course to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST), and moved to the second floor of IU Health Methodist Hospital. In her role she orders a wide variety of surgical supplies – including biological tests, non-implants and implantable plates and screws; and checks inventory daily to ensure all team members and surgeons have necessary supplies in the operating rooms. Each item – even the smallest screw – is received, sorted, checked in, organized and stored safely.

“I like the fact that I’m ordering things that are used for the patients and the wellbeing of the patients. It’s important that I have exactly everything that is needed for the patient,” said Edmonds, who grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Arsenal Technical High School.

She learned first hand the importance of patient care on May 6, 2019. The very set that she trained someone to assemble – for patients who experience aneurysms – was used to help save her life. The aneurysm set includes clips that stop the blood flow caused by the aneurysm – a life-threatening brain bleed.

Edmonds credits the quick response by her work team with helping save her life.

As she talks in the lobby of IU Health Methodist Hospital she relives that terrifying day. She entered the Senate Street entrance three years ago, like any other workday. She felt fine and had been on the job for three hours when she pushed her medical supply cart to the elevator.

It all happened unexpectedly and quickly.

“I know my body. It wasn’t painful but I didn’t feel well and my neck got stiff,” said Edmonds, 58. She made her way to the office of her supervisor, Christine “Chris” Hoovler. The minute Edmonds said that she didn’t feel well and her neck hurt, Hoovler sat Edmonds down and ran to get a wheelchair. Another co-worker, Mia Harrington, came to sit with Edmonds.

“I was nervous. She was not responsive when I came back with the wheelchair. She gave us quite a scare and we’re blessed that she’s here,” said Hoovler.

From there, things were somewhat a blur for Edmonds. She remembers feeling a “pop” on the left side of her head and the next thing she knew she was in the ER.

“I am so thankful for Chris and the speed that she reacted,” said Edmonds. Her brother, Gregory Edmonds, also works in sterile processing at Methodist Hospital. He met them in ER.

“When the doctor rolled his chair up and told me I had an aneurysm I wanted to cry. I left that room. I was in a massive white space and I knew I was no longer on this earth,” said Edmonds. She begins to cry as she remembers every second and every individual who kept her alive. “I saw myself in a hand that was holding me up. It was the hand of God and I realized I was going to be OK. It was God’s divine alignment that kept me alive – all the right things and people at the right time.”

In the care of IU Health’s Dr. Aaron Cohen, she underwent surgery and remained in in ICU for 18 days. After her discharge, she spent another 10 days in rehabilitation and remained under watch for the next six months.

“I tell you the care I received during those 18 days was amazing. My room was outside the nurses station and I never worried about getting the care and attention I needed,” said Edmonds. She kept a bowl of snacks in her room as a “thank you” to her healthcare team.

Edmonds’ challenges weren’t over. Nearly a year after her aneurysm, she contracted COVID and was away from work for more than a month. She again credited team members for helping her get back on track. Her manager, Allyson Goodrich, encouraged her to schedule a virtual health visit and Jon Sellers helped her refresh her computer skills when she returned to work.

Her coworkers say they are blessed that Edmonds regained her health.

“She is a ray of sunshine through all of her trials and tribulations and her success has pushed us to be more successful,” said co-worker, Lamont Harvey. When Harvey, an anesthesia technician, began assembling a perioperative mentor program Edmonds was one of the first people he thought of.

“Carol demonstrates every inch of the IU Health values and is someone who can teach and encourage others,” said Harvey.

In the past three years, Edmonds has resumed her typical work schedule and feels back to normal.

She enjoys spending time with her two adult children, and six grandchildren, serving on the hospitality ministry of her church – Kingdom Apostolic Ministries – reading inspirational stories, listening to uplifting podcasts, and shopping and decorating for friends and family members.

“I can’t stress enough that this was all about divine alignment. That’s why I’m here today.”

IU Health wins prestigious Mira Award for technology

IU Health was named Large Enterprise of the Year at the 23rd annual TechPoint Mira Awards Gala on April 23. The event honors companies and individuals who have created technology successes and innovations that benefit Indiana and its diverse communities.

Some of the innovations highlighted in IU Health’s winning application included the technology investments in the new Riley Hospital Maternity Tower and Bloomington Regional Academic Health Center, the Respiratory Doc2Doc and Virtual Nurse programs, the “I Can Help” app, the Medical Device Security Testing Lab and the work to create the Google Healthcare Data Engine.

The Mira Awards judges said they were impressed with how IU Health adapted to the needs of the pandemic by launching new technology initiatives.

Nick Sturgeon, executive director, information security, championed the application process and accepted the award on behalf of IU Health.

Representing IU Health were IIS team members pictured above: (front left to right) Jalissa Hurd, Tim Tarnowski, Nick Sturgeon, Tyler Wysong, Ramya Varadharajan, Jeff Kevoian, (back left to right) Brian Norris, Emi Keiser, Dr. Emily Webber and Brandon Perry.

Visit TechPoint’s website for more award details.

Nurses give a beat

The family was overwhelmed.

The nurse handed them a bottle with the last heartbeat of their PawPaw. Written on the heart strip was a poem:

“Goodbye may seem forever,

Farewell is like the end,

But in my heart’s a memory.

And there you will always be.”

The simple act impacted the nurses as well.

Saying goodbye to a patient is the most difficult part of a nurse’s job. During the past two years it has happened too often. As the omicron variant surged, those patients were becoming younger and younger. Many could not communicate with their family and friends due to ventilators, which weighed heavily on the nurses who cared for them.

At the peak, there were 35 deaths in 30 days in the intensive care unit at IU Health Arnett Hospital. It was too much.

“Nurses tend to make a personal connection with the families of the patients—it is what allows you to go home at night,” shares Melissa Sorrell, BSN, RN, clinical operations manager of intensive care unit and telemetry central monitoring unit at IU Health Arnett Hospital. “Being a nurse means that you know you made a difference in the patient’s life, no matter how big or small.”

A travel nurse who had spent the past year working in the ICU at Arnett Hospital and an Arnett ICU nurse had an idea to help the nurses and family members heal—they could capture the last rhythm strip of life and share it with the family. And the heartbeat project was born.

The idea came in the heat of the moment, and they improvised, using equipment they use every day—a collection tube. They borrowed ribbon from the NICU. They made six heartbeat mementos the first day. The first one was labeled “PawPaw’s heartbeat.”

“What an incredible example of focusing on patients and their families and the emotional needs of care,” shares Brandon Carwile, MSN, RN, CNML, regional director of experience design application. “These heartbeats are treasures the family will always hold near and dear, and being able to have that kind of impact on them in a positive way will help the nurses remember why they got into nursing to begin with.”

A little trial and error with available equipment and a search on Amazon, the nurses have found a better holder solution with corks, which they paid for out of their own pockets.

“Nurses are a special breed of people,” adds Sorrell. “They get up in the morning and go to work with one simple, yet profound purpose in mind: to care for their patients.”

Patients praise IU Health physician known for testicular cancer treatment

April is “Testicular Cancer Awareness Month” and one physician stands out for his leading edge treatment.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

A quick search brings up dozens of articles focusing on IU Health’s Dr. Lawrence Einhorn. His name has become widely known among male patients, their wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers as they begin researching a diagnosis of testicular cancer. Hometown oncologists who refer their patients to IU Health also know his name.

They come from the east coast, west coast, southern states and northern parts. They come from around the globe.

Dr. Einhorn is known for his successful treatment of testicular cancer – germ cell tumors – using a mix of high dose chemotherapies and peripheral stem cell transplant.

Online support groups share success stories of his treatment method.

Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), located in the scrotum. It is rare but the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.

Symptoms may include a lump in the testicle, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, dull ache in the abdomen or groin, and back pain. Doctors recommend regular self-examinations for early detection.

Treatment for testicular cancer varies depending on the stage of diagnosis. It may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and in some cases surveillance with regular CT scans.

Many patients who travel to Indianapolis and IU Health’s Simon Cancer Center have undergone initial diagnosis and treatment at hospitals closer to their home.

“When the testicular cancer morphed into mixed germ cell tumors, my oncologist recommended I see his mentor, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn at IU Health,” said one 38-year-old patient from Arlington, VA.

“The minute I met Dr. Einhorn I knew I was in good hands. He’s full of energy. Even as busy as he is he came in one weekend before a football game and talked football with me for about 10 minutes,” said the patient.

Dr. Einhorn grew up in Dayton, Ohio. In high school, Dr. Einhorn joined his father – a family practitioner – on rounds at a local hospital. He left Ohio to study in Illinois at Northwestern University, but soon transferred to Indiana University, where he met the woman who would become his wife, Claudette Phillips.

After attending medical school at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Dr. Einhorn returned to IU for his internship and residency. He initially planned to return to his Ohio home to practice with his father.

An internship, introduced Dr. Einhorn to the area of hematology/oncology and he continued on that path. After residency, he moved to Texas to complete a fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. It was there that Dr. Einhorn learned about testis cancer, when a third-year fellow was diagnosed.

He joined the faculty of Indiana University in 1973. A year later he was involved in studies of chemotherapy and testicular cancer. Years later he became known for the advances treating germ cell tumors.

“When I didn’t know what to do, where else to go, we started researching and we learned about Dr. Einhorn. We got in the car and drove to Indianapolis,” said a patient from Virginia.

Another patient from Canada said: “I literally emailed Dr. Einhorn and within15 minutes he responded. That speaks volumes about his fantastic care and knowledge. From the onset, I felt confident that I was in the best care.”

One patient referred to Dr. Einhorn as “The GOAT” when it comes to testicular cancer care. The 24-year-old was so impressed with Dr. Einhorn’s expertise and bedside manner that he decided to pursue a career in the medical field.

“They just don’t make many physicians like Dr. Einhorn and if I have to have testicular cancer, I’m glad I have someone like him on my team.”

You’ve got to keep moving

Those familiar, welcoming faces you see when visiting IU Health Arnett Hospital are Jerry and Bette Taylor. The Taylors have been volunteers at the hospital since it opened in 2008.

Jerry greets hospital visitors at the main entrance on Mondays and Wednesdays. Bette supports families waiting for their loved ones having surgery on Wednesdays.

“I like to meet people, and all these families just waiting on their loved ones are so nice,” shares Bette on why she likes to volunteer.

Volunteering is nothing new for the Taylors. Bette volunteered in ambulatory services at Home Hospital for 25 years prior to joining IU Health.

“The girls who were having babies when I started were having grandbabies when I left Home Hospital,” shares Bette.

Bette was a stay-at-home mom who raised the couple’s two daughters and volunteered. She has served in many roles, including 40 years teaching Sunday school. Her house was the place children gathered, often playing games like Hearts and Euchre—even though Bette is not a fan of Hearts.

She believes that God led her to volunteer at the hospital, which has led to so many other blessings. She recalls her parents being attached at the hip so when her father passed, her mother was lost. She asked her fellow volunteers, who were older, to help support her mother who had become a volunteer. Soon a breakfast group was born (1986). The group still meets every Tuesday morning and consists of mostly widowed or divorced individuals who just need to talk. (“Everyone has suffered, and everyone needs someone who cares,” shares Bette.)

Jerry retired in 1995 after 30 years as a service technician for Sears. After a year at home, He needed to do something, so he decided he should volunteer with Bette.

Jerry likes to volunteer as a greeter because he gets to see a lot of people—sometimes it is even someone he knows. He will also deliver mail and flowers to patients.

“I enjoy people,” shares Jerry. “People appreciate what you do—especially when they are lost.”

Jerry, who knows the hospital like the back of his hand, shared the story of a lost visitor: “He had brought his neighbor but could not locate his car, so I took him up to the sixth floor and we looked out the windows. It was a convertible with its top down, which we spotted outside the emergency room entrance. Back on the first floor I escorted him to the correct entrance where his car was parked.”

The couple has been married for 68 years—“we are shooting for 70,” jokes Jerry, who turned 90 in March. Bette is 85. They have four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren who all, luckily, live nearby.

The secret to their longevity is to keep moving. Bette says that will be engraved on their headstones. `

Bette’s advice on volunteering and life in general: “Look for the good in people, and that is what you will find.”

The COVID-19 pandemic kept the couple away from the hospital for nearly two years. But they kept moving by painting the interior of their home, helping their neighbors, doing puzzles and yes, playing Hearts. Both were thrilled when they were allowed to return to their volunteer positions.

“We are so blessed to have Bette and Jerry,” shares Cheryl Suter, manager of volunteer services at IU Health Arnett. “They get as much from their volunteer experience as they give. We are thankful they are part of our team.”

Volunteers are always welcome at IU Health. Positions include the gift shop, in the surgery waiting area and greeters. If you are interested in joining the team, contact Suter at csuter@iuhealth.org.

Growing the next generation of nurses

In every Indiana University Health care setting, you’ll find at least one nurse. In fact, one in four IU Heath team members is a nurse.

That’s 9,000 nurses dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care to patients — a level of care that is nurtured and elevated by donors who support the IU Health Nurse Excellence Fund.

Thanks to an initial gift from Michelle Janney, PhD, RN, IU Health executive vice president and chief operating officer, the fund was created to support The Center for Nursing Excellence — a workforce development hub that strives to advance nursing professionalism and nursing practice by investing in professional development and continuing education opportunities for IU Health nurses statewide.

Michelle Janney, PhD, RN, IU Health executive vice president and chief operating officer

Within the center, the fund also supports the Distinguished Nurse Excellence Program, which offers clinical nurses access to unique professional development and networking opportunities, as well as executive mentorships.

And now, thanks to another generous gift from Dr. Janney, The Center for Nursing Excellence is undergoing a major transformation that will generate more awareness of the center and expand programs specific to nurse leaders’ development.

“This gift is going to allow us to build the center to be bigger and better than it ever was before,” said Carrie Shipman, MSN, RN, IU Health director of Nursing Practice.

Shipman, who is part of The Center for Nursing Excellence advisory board and will have a hand in shaping the future of the center, says the return on investment for Dr. Janney’s gift will result in making IU Health a destination for the next generation of nurses.

“What the center is doing is growing our future leaders,” Shipman said, “Not only is her gift an investment in people, but also in finding new ways to deliver care. Both will help IU Health achieve its goal of making Indiana one of the healthiest states in the nation.”

These types of investments continue to position IU Health as an industry leader and ensures the healthcare system achieves and maintains the gold standard recognitions for outstanding nursing practice and care delivery: the ANCC Magnet and Pathway to Excellence designations.

Equally as important, gifts like Dr. Janney’s benefit the entire IU Health system.

Carrie Shipman, MSN, RN, IU Health director of Nursing Practice

“When donors support nurses, they are supporting so much more than they may even realize,” said Shipman. “Because that support trickles down to not only patient satisfaction, but to things like quality metrics for patient safety, team member engagement and even community health. It impacts every aspect of healthcare.”

To support the expansion of The Center for Nursing Excellence, consider a gift to the Nurse Excellence Fund. Your gift can even be made in recognition of an IU Health nurse who has made a difference in your life or your loved one’s life.

Celebrating Our Nurse Heroes: Oncology Nurse Jill Rice

A crisp white uniform and a perfectly poised hat. That’s what Indiana University Health oncology nurse Jill Rice remembers about her aunt, a nurse, and one of her early nursing career inspirations. But even as a child, Rice wasn’t afraid to help sick people.

“I think that my first aspiration to be a nurse was on the school bus,” Rice said. “I assisted the driver whenever there were sick kids. He was trying to drive, and I would clean up messes.”

Born and raised in Tipton, Rice never wavered from her plan to become a nurse. She began working at her local hospital – now IU Health Tipton Hospital – in high school, doing secretarial work. From there, her course was clear. She worked as an assistant nurse, went to nursing school, and eventually transitioned to the medical-surgery team, where she worked until moving into oncology.

Nearly 50 years later, Rice is ready for a new adventure, as she plans to retire this spring. While she’s excited for what’s ahead, there’s one thing she’ll miss in particular – the people. “There have been so many patients over the years that have had good outcomes and bad. They tug at your heartstrings. You get close to them. You get to know them very well,” she said.

Jill recalled one patient in particular, a man with a terminal cancer diagnosis, who wanted to see his childhood home one last time. They received approval for the trip – only a brief car ride – on the condition that Jill accompanied him. They loaded up his IVs and supplies, and the patient’s minister drove them. “It made him so happy,” she said. “So that moment really sticks out.”

Over the years, Rice has also seen the powerful impact philanthropy has on the health and well-being of her patients. From gas funds to cover transportation costs, to larger purchases like a blanket warmer, or simply a budget to buy Ensure for patients who have difficulty with solid foods, Jill knows that donor generosity has a long-lasting effect on those she cares for. “It’s very important we have these programs in place,” she said. “It’s really a godsend for our patients.”

Now, after 48 years of service, Rice leaves behind a long legacy of caring for others – just as she did on her school bus all those years ago. “I always wanted to have direct patient care,” she said. “That’s what I enjoy. And it’s good to enjoy what you’re doing.”

To support IU Health Tipton Hospital nurses like Rice, consider a gift to the hospital’s Area of Greatest Need Fund.

Creating pathways to exceptional care

Nearly 10 years ago, Meghan Glass was working two jobs, attending the surgery technician program at Ivy Tech Community College, and juggling the demands of everyday life. “Eventually I couldn’t do it anymore,” Glass said. “I put my dreams on hold.”

One thousand miles south, Shelby Shedrow was also floundering professionally. After two years at Butler University in which she struggled to find her place, she took a job in guest relations at Walt Disney World. “When I was in Florida, I realized I wanted more—and I wanted to do something medical,” Shedrow said. “But at the time, I didn’t know what ‘more’ could mean for me.”

Little did Glass and Shedrow know that their paths would soon cross at IU Health Arnett Hospital as members of the first Pathways into Healthcare cohort.

Shelby Shedrow and Meghan Glass, IU Health team members

New beginnings

As a service offered by the IU Health West Central Region Career Center, Pathways into Healthcare trains entry-level IU Health team members— such as those who work in environmental services and food preparation—to become certified medical assistants. During the 30-week program, 10 employees receive regular pay and benefits but spend half their on-the-job time training for their new profession. Additionally, the program covers the costs of courses, supplies and certifications.

Helping support this program are IU Health Foundation donors Gary and Shelly Henriott. In early 2022, the Henriotts connected in person with Glass and Shedrow and witnessed the power of their philanthropy up close and personal.

“When I saw this program, I was like ‘I have to do this,’” Glass told the Henriotts. “I opened the email and saw ‘congratulations’ and I just cried at my desk. It’s the best opportunity an organization could offer its employees.”

“To find out that I was accepted?” Shedrow said. “It was like a new beginning.”

Building a talent pipeline

Donors Shelly and Gary come from a long line of educators. “We share a passion for education and a responsibility to do what we can to help,” Gary said. “I don’t care if I have my name on anything. I’d rather have it here,” he said, gesturing to Glass and Shedrow.

Shelly and Gary Henriott, IU Health Foundation supporters

Healthcare systems across the country face a shortage of qualified providers and educating qualified medical assistants can address deficiencies across departments. “You can literally go anywhere and learn everything as a medical assistant,” Glass said. “I can step in wherever I’m needed, whether it’s pediatrics or neurology.”

“This program shows that IU Health is interested in investing in their team,” Shelly added. “You’re not just doing a job; you’re part of a family. And as a family, you want to lift everyone up to the highest level possible.”