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St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation

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Patient Spotlight: Baseball Executive Gets Major League Care

In the middle of the night, Howard Grosswirth, an executive with the New York Yankees, arrived at the emergency department of St. Joseph’s Hospital-North complaining of severe chest pains. He was quickly diagnosed with an Aortic Dissection, a tear in the inner lining of the aorta, and was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Howard underwent a complex, eight-hour open heart surgery, starting with a procedure to completely replace his ascending aorta with a hemashield vessel graft followed by an aortic valve replacement. In less than two months, Howard was back in the game thanks to the major league care provided at St. Joe’s.

Roland and Helga Hausmann

Roland and Helga Hausmann St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation Tampa florida DonorRoland and Helga Hausmann moved to Tampa four years ago to be here for the birth of their first grandchild. They now have two, Luke and Josh.

“These kids are what life is all about,“ says Roland. Although he and Helga still play golf and manage to travel a bit, their social life is secondary to the boys. “It’s the almost daily ‘fix’ of seeing the boys that make our day,” says Helga. “When either of us is a little down or out of sorts, all we have to do is look at the screen saver on our phone to see those two happy faces, and as Luke would say to us, “all better.”

The Hausmanns are grateful to previous St. Joseph’s board members, Bill Meurer and Nora Musselman, for navigating the waters and getting them to St. Joseph’s. When Roland had back surgery at St. Joseph’s, the doctor called Helga every morning to give her updates on Roland’s progress, and when he had a heart procedure, the doctor spent a long time after the surgery talking with Helga and the couple’s children. “Everyone truly cares about you there, and it shows,” says Roland.

The central information desk at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North is a gift from the Roland and Helga Hausmann family.

Phil and JoAnn Lau

Phil and JoAnn Lau St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation Tampa Florida DonorAs a child, Kayla Lau had an erratic, rapid heartbeat. Her heart would race for a short period of time and then correct itself. Doctors were challenged to pinpoint the cause because her episodes were so brief and unpredictable. When she was in sixth grade, she had an extended episode that landed her in the St. Joseph’s emergency room, and the cause was diagnosed. Kayla had been born with an extra electrode in her heart. Within a few weeks, she underwent surgery at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.

As her parents, Philip and JoAnn, left the hospital after her surgery, reassured by her physician that Kayla’s problems had been eliminated, they saw a giving thermometer in the lobby marking the fundraising goal for the new Children’s Heart Center. The next day the couple gave a gift to name an examination room in the new center for their daughter. The Laus already had a soft spot for St. Joseph’s. Their second son, Andrew, was born two months premature, and during his first two years of life, they became intimately familiar with neonatal and pediatric care at St. Joseph’s. Philip Lau spends much of his time thinking about hospitals and hospital technology. His company, International Specialists, manufactures circuit boards and components for the medical industry as well as other industries. Philip’s two sons, Christopher and Andrew, have now joined him in the family business, which was founded by his father in 1971.

To relax, Philip plays golf or joins JoAnn at their beachfront condo in Pinellas County. The couple spends a few weeks in Hawaii each summer and takes periodic shorter trips to Chicago to get away. “We’re fortunate,” says JoAnn, who met Philip when she worked for his accountant nearly 30 years ago. “We have everything we want, and we want to share with others.”

A mother/baby room at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North is named for Philip and JoAnn Lau.

Humanity in Action – Theron’s Story

A month before the birth of our first child, a time that’s supposed to be filled with all the joy and celebration bringing a new life, my wife was told to prepare for the end of mine, but the staff at St. Joseph’s gave me hope.

It started with flu-like symptoms and an exhaustion I couldn’t shake. But when my appetite virtually disappeared, I knew something was wrong, and my wife finally convinced me to visit the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Shortly after our arrival, I suffered a seizure and the doctors quickly determined I was septic. My organs began to shut down and my wife was told to prepare for the worst. Fortunately, the staff at St. Joseph’s never gave up on me. After ten days in an induced coma, I woke up mumbling about being the ultimate warrior. Little did I know, over the course of those ten days, one of my nurses would repeatedly tell me I was going to make it because I was a warrior. Her belief and commitment to my recovery was representative of every person responsible for my care. Even though I was a patient, I was treated more like a family member who was given no other choice than to survive.

I am appreciative of the expert, life-saving treatment I received during my time at St. Joseph’s Hospital, but I am more grateful for the compassion and concern they showed my wife during an unbelievably stressful time. So stressful, that a few days after I awoke from my coma, my wife needed to undergo an emergency C-section. Knowing how important it was for me to be there for the birth, St. Joseph’s found a way to make that happen. My son’s first memory of me may be dressed up in three layers of gowns and
masks, but I was there for his debut thanks to the expertise and kindness of the staff at St. Joseph’s. When a hospital recognizes the health of its patients goes beyond their physical well-being, that’s more than just great medical care – that’s humanity at work.