Superman capes and hospital weddings: How five JGH employees made a difference

Five JGH employees have been honoured with Caring Beyond Awards. Top row, left to right: Maya Vardy, Glenn Padida, Stephanie Treherne. Bottom row, left to right: Katja Teixeira, Marie-Élaine Barbeau
Five JGH employees have been honoured with Caring Beyond Awards. Top row, left to right: Maya Vardy, Glenn Padida, Stephanie Treherne. Bottom row, left to right: Katja Teixeira, Marie-Élaine Barbeau

Hard times can bring out the best in people, and this year has been no exception. Meet a group of Jewish General Hospital staffers who have gone above and beyond, even under exceptionally difficult circumstances.

One sewed tiny Superman capes for premature babies. Another gave a cancer patient an inspirational card before her surgery. Yet another helped a patient fulfill his dying wish to get married, a fourth memorized the names of a stroke patient’s entire family, and a fifth oversaw the smooth flow of the Emergency Department during the extreme demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are some of the deeds carried out by the five recipients of this year’s Caring Beyond awards, an initiative of the JGH Humanization of Care Committee. The five fulfilled the Committee’s mission to promote patient-centred and compassionate care, each of them showing a willingness to go the extra distance for patients, co-workers or families.

“The recipients demonstrate not only excellence in the care and service they provide,” say Rosemary Steinberg and Gabi Rosberger, Co-Chairs of the Humanization of Care Committee. “They go out of their way to contribute to improving the daily lives of patients, while recognizing the need to help families and colleagues.”

“They personify unselfishness, sensitivity, respect, compassion, pride in their work and attention to both the large and small details that are so meaningful to everyone.”

Each winner was nominated by a patient, family member or colleague. Due to the pandemic, the award and a Caring Beyond pin will be presented to them at an event at a later date.

Katja Teixeira, Social Worker, Surgical Unit

Katja Teixeira
Katja Teixeira

Katja Teixeira merited the Caring Beyond award in recognition of her selfless and compassionate actions in organizing the wedding of a Palliative Care patient who wanted to marry his longtime partner before he died. Ms. Teixeira not only made all of the complex arrangements for the wedding, but she came into the hospital on a Sunday to accompany the bride and groom as they married in the hospital chapel.

Ms. Teixeira had also participated actively in planning the patient’s return home, so that he could pass away surrounded by those he loved. When the ambulance could not transport the patient’s belongings, Ms. Teixeira generously offered to bring them to his home herself.

The dedication she exhibited went far above and beyond her job description and she ensured that the patient was able to fulfill his dearest wishes. Congratulations Ms. Teixeira for having demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment and caring.

Stephanie Treherne, Nurse Clinician, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Stephanie Treherne
Stephanie Treherne

Stephanie Treherne was given a Caring Beyond award for her exceptional work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where the parents of a premature baby appreciated the watchful eye she kept over their infant. The parents, both staff members of the JGH, were not surprised by the skill, compassion and professionalism they witnessed in the care of their daughter. But they were deeply touched by a gift they received: a handmade Supergirl cape with the first letter of their baby’s name sewn onto it.

The parents, curious about this personalized cape, spoke to other staff in the NICU and discovered that Ms. Treherne was sewing the capes on her own time, at home, for all of the NICU’s patients. They were struck not only by her devotion to these fragile infants, but by her sensitivity and attention to the stress of parents who are unable to take their newborn child home.

“With her Supergirl cape, our little girl is now a superhero fighting through to win the day,” the parents said. “And just like superheroes in comics and movies, she will, of course, come out of the challenge victorious.”

They said that such kindness was particularly praiseworthy during the stress of the pandemic. Congratulations to Ms. Treherne, whose “dedication personifies the values of the JGH’s mission statement,” the parents said. “She embodies a family-centered and caring approach, not only to the babies under her care, but also to the families.”

Maya Vardy, Emergency Department Unit Coordinator

Maya Vardy
Maya Vardy

Maya Vardy has received a Caring Beyond award in recognition of her exceptional and dedicated services, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic poses incredible challenges and stresses to all healthcare staff, especially those in the Emergency Departments of Montreal hospitals.

Ms. Vardy is well-known for her expertise, skill and dedication, says the colleague who nominated her. Ms. Vardy is the youngest person appointed Flow Coordinator, a pivotal function that ensures the smooth and efficient flow of patients.

“Since the pandemic started, she has risen to new levels,” the colleague said. “I have seen her spend a lot of time on the phone with the distraught family members of patients, reassuring them that they were getting the best care possible, and arranging communication between them. She treats every patient with the same care as if they were her family, no matter how hectic it might be in Emergency.”

Ms. Vardy is to be congratulated for her continued commitment to excellence, the esteem in which she is held by colleagues, and for going above and beyond in her dedication to patient care.

Glenn Padida, Orderly, Neurology

Glenn Padida
Glenn Padida

Glenn Padida was nominated for a Caring Beyond award by the children of a patient who was recovering from a stroke. They marveled at the skill, commitment, and personalized care he provided to their father, as well as the kind and thoughtful attention he showed to the entire family.
“Glenn made sure to take the time to introduce himself to each one of our family members, and to learn our names,” they said. “He kept us updated about my father’s progress and offered reassurance. Glenn would make sure to pass by my father’s room before going on break to see if he needed anything. The ward was very busy, but Glenn made my father feel important, heard, and cared for.”

“Glenn also knew my mother would come every night around dinner time,” they added, “so when my father was well enough, Glenn made sure he was in his chair and waiting to eat with my mother.”

Congratulations to Mr. Padida for embodying the JGH’s values of patient-centered care and for going above and beyond in contributing to the healing and well-being of his patients.

Marie-Élaine Barbeau, Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Marie-Élaine Barbeau
Marie-Élaine Barbeau

Marie-Élaine Barbeau is the recipient of a Caring Beyond award for her exceptional regard and care for a fragile, immuno-compromised baby. As well, she saw to the needs of the infant’s mother, who was preparing for her own cancer surgery.

“Marie-Élaine took the initiative by setting up protocols and procedures to ensure I would be safe while visiting my premature baby each day,” the mother said. “It was a very scary time during COVID-19 pandemic. She used her personal time to come into the NICU to put those procedures into action. She is an excellent nurse and a compassionate human being.”

Ms. Barbeau carefully planned and organized the moment when the mother first held her baby. And just before the mother’s cancer surgery, Ms. Barbeau presented her with an inspirational card signed by the NICU staff.

Congratulations to Ms. Barbeau for going above and beyond the call of duty, and for her outstanding and compassionate care.