PFAC Member Profiles
The people who stepped up
Council Members in their own words
I come to this position of responsibility on the Patient and Family Advisory Council from two distinct, though related, perspectives; one as a registered nurse for nearly forty years, and the other as a critical care patient within the past four.
My career in nursing started with graduation from Hahnemann College of Allied Health Professions, and eventually spanned extended stints at Saint Agnes Medical Center and Jefferson’s Methodist Hospital, both in South Philly.
At Saint Agnes, I gained experience, worked as a Staff Nurse in the burn step-down unit and in Ambulatory Surgery. I was there for 25 years, ultimately rising to Nurse Manager. After that, I served almost a decade at Methodist. Until I was diagnosed.
My career as a nurse ended suddenly in 2013 when I learned I had a complicated kidney cancer that had spread to my lungs. I needed to stop working.
Since then I have been consumed with my own healthcare which involved the removal of one of my kidneys and a tumor so large it reached up to my heart. The surgery was long and complicated. I was in an induced coma for a week or so. It took several days for my remaining kidney to start functioning. I required inpatient rehab after my discharge.
After months of cancer therapy and a multitude of side effects that can accompany it, and numerous visits to both Methodist and Jefferson emergency departments, I can happily report that my cancer is in remission. There’ve been other issues that put me back in the hospital, but, all in all, I’m okay.
Feeling better and healthier than I have in a long time, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to give back in appreciation for the great care I received.
Much of my professional time as a nurse involved patient satisfaction. I was active on many different committees and my departments always had extremely high satisfaction scores. I want that experience—along with my numerous inpatient and outpatient admissions—to inform my contribution to Jefferson’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. Thank you for this chance to serve again!
Galit Kantor Green, Co-Chair
My history with Jefferson goes back a decade. Since 2008 — during three major health crises — my loved ones and I have been in the dedicated medical care of Jefferson technicians, nurses and physicians.
My firstborn is almost 10-years-old now, but at the beginning, it was really touch and go. I went into preterm labor at 19-weeks and my Ob/Gyn instructed me to head immediately to the Labor & Delivery unit at the local hospital. It turns out I was more than they could handle. My doctor made arrangements for me to be rushed to Jefferson, since, he said, they had the best high-risk baby delivery teams in the area.
Dr. Vincenzo Berghella and his staff saved my baby that night. While I didn’t make it to full-term, I did deliver a healthy beautiful baby at 30 weeks. I had a successful second pregnancy in 2009.
During that pregnancy though, I started to have unexplained — and unrelated — symptoms which would continue to worsen. This went on for about seven years. All along, I had a “gut feeling” that something was seriously wrong inside. I was getting sicker and sicker, receiving one wrong diagnosis after another. I asked my doctors for a colonoscopy, but because I had no family history of colon cancer and I was “too young,” they never seriously considered it. That all changed when I got to Jefferson.
Following a Colonoscopy and a battery of tests, Colorectal Surgeon Dr. Scott Goldstein performed a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery called a sigmoid resection. The tumor they found (along with many lymph nodes) went to pathology and came back confirming my worst fears: Stage 3C Colon Cancer. The surgery over, I was now in the care of one of the nation’s best medical oncologists, Jefferson’s Dr. Edith Mitchell. Twelve rounds of aggressive chemotherapy treatments later, it has now been nearly three years since my diagnosis and I’m showing no evidence of disease.
Then it was my dad (being treated for Stage 4 Renal Cell cancer currently), and then my husband (who’s now fine from his serious neck injury). I owe a lot to Jefferson. And I feel I have a lot to offer.
I want to use all these experiences to educate not only patients and their families, but also professional staff. I want to bring my enthusiasm, my determination to get things done, my business acumen and my overall experience with a multitude of patient/family caregiver touch-points, to help elevate the already extraordinarily high level of patient care at Jefferson. In my new role as Co-Chairman of the Patient and Family Advisory Council, I will act as a catalyst and advocate for ways to improve the patient-centered care for which this institution is so well known.
On a personal note, I do this for my young daughters, and for all the people affected by cancer. Moreover, I do this to empower future patients, to help them navigate the uncharted territory of the healthcare landscape.
Lindsay Hoff, Co-Chair
The experience that most qualifies me for this unique role is not anything that happened to me, but rather something that happened to my friend, Dave.
David Terhune was in a terrible car accident in February of 2013. He suffered catastrophic injuries, primary among them, a torn heart.
The care he received in the immediate aftermath of the accident and for the next weeks was as intense as you can imagine. It started with an emergency air transfer from Paoli Hospital near where the crash happened, to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City Philadelphia.
I was part of Dave’s support team, at his bedside from the very beginning and for the duration of his treatment and recovery. They called us “Team Terhune,” a badge we wore proudly.
In that time, I gained an enormous amount of hospital experience. When I combine that with my professional credentials, which emphasize methods and processes, it’s a good skill set to bring to this assignment. An Information Technologies consultant for a firm that specializes in the customer experience, I work as a Project Manager. The priorities and values that guide my professional life, inform my work with PFAC.
Phrases such as “customer-focused,” “results-proven,” “change-agent,” and “product implementation” are second nature to me. I am always looking for ways to streamline systems and make them more efficient. And I am grateful for this chance to advance Jefferson’s already admirable patient care, through my role as Co-Chair of the Patient and Family Advisory Council.
My first exposure to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital was in March of 2007. My family doctor recommended that I go to the Department of Otolaryngology, to evaluate a swollen lymph node on the side of my neck. I was diagnosed that day with cancer of the tongue.
I received a personalized treatment plan that included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Over the next several months I spent a lot of time at Jefferson. I had a great medical team of the best doctors, nurses, and technicians to guide me through my treatment. A year after my diagnosis, I was back to work.
During one of my doctor visits at Jefferson, I met Katherine Rehm, a Clinical Social Worker in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She asked me if I would be interested in becoming a “Buddy” in the Jefferson Buddy Program. It’s a great initiative that pairs me with someone who is going through the same or similar diagnosis and treatment of cancer. I was very happy to help. I am now a volunteer with the Buddy on the Spot Program. With this program, I am available in the radiation waiting area of Jefferson’s Bodine Treatment Center to provide support and companionship to both the patients and their caregivers.
Over the last decade, I found myself back as a patient at Jefferson. I had bilateral hip replacement, prostate cancer, and multiple skin cancers. My medical needs have brought me to several different departments at Jefferson and that has only reinforced my admiration for the people who work here.
While I continue to volunteer weekly as a Buddy on the Spot, I decided I wanted to help even more, and that’s what brings me to the Jefferson Patient and Family Advisory Council.
I was both an airline and Air Force pilot for many years. In the Air Force I was an instructor and training officer. With Trans World Airlines, I was an Instructor and Check Airman. In all of my roles, safety was always a top priority. Education, training, simulations, procedures, checklists, etc., were all part of a safe operation. That unique experience will inform my participation on the PFAC. Thank you, Jefferson for this opportunity to give back.
Our bodies have defense mechanisms that protect us in times of great trauma. When sudden violence happens to us, we shut down. I shut down on Feb 5th, 2013, the result of a grinding collision involving the car I was driving, and a tractor-trailer. My car slid on a patch of ice into a lane of traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The truck hit me broadside, right behind where I was sitting.
Long story short, doctors immediately determined that there was a major tear in my aorta, the largest artery leaving the heart. Each time my heart beat, the break opened a little more. Urgent care doesn’t get more urgent than the kind I needed at that time.
First at Paoli Hospital and then at Jefferson where they air transferred me, the care I received was nothing short of extraordinary. I left intensive care after eight days for [months] of rehabilitation. Through it all, I was truly blessed by having my sister, Jennifer Sparrow, and my friend, Lindsay Hoff, at my side.
I am grateful beyond words to all of the people who saved my life. Team Jeff for their constant encouragement and tenacious medical care, and Team Terhune for being there every day and supporting me in every way. Most of all, I thank my creator to be alive. I was 47 years old when this happened, the father of four.
As a patient in a hospital, you notice when things go smoothly, and you’re smack in the middle when they don’t. I paid attention to the hundreds of individual actions and episodes that comprised my stay and volunteered for this Council because I want to work on making Jefferson’s already extraordinary Patient Experience, even better.
When I was invited to interview for Jefferson’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, it occurred to me that it had been a very long time between job interviews!
I’m retired now, a psychologist who, for a while, was director of a unique, high-profile program at the YMHA called “The Institute of Awareness.” The Institute was actually a school whose curriculum was decided in the 1970's — amid the turmoil of huge changes in our society for women who had been raised to get married, have children, and live happily ever after — to help people deal with those sudden and jarring changes.
I remember, we taught courses in “Assertiveness Training: How to get your point across,” “Who Am I?,” “Managing My Money,” “Winning Relationships,” “Good Parenting,” and “Planning for the Things You Want.” I retired in 2002 and treated myself to six months on the water, sailing down the Intracoastal Waterway, paralleling the Atlantic.
When I got back, I trained as a hospital chaplain here at Jefferson. I thought I had a special understanding of pastoral care and spiritual empowerment.
All four of my children were born here at Jefferson, and my husband, Yancey (a retired sociology professor), has been treated here and shepherded through a number of serious health issues.
These experiences — as all of our experiences — equip us not only with opinions and ideas, but also with the inspiration to contribute.
Jefferson’s Patient and Family Advisory Council is a perfect forum for me.