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Bayhealth Presents Spirit of Caring Awards


To mark Patient Centered Month in October, Bayhealth hosted Rita Landgraf, Delaware Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, who presented a proclamation at a ceremony at Kent General. Governor Jack Markell signed the proclamation declaring October 2013 as Patient Centered Care Awareness Month. 

Bayhealth also honored the recipients and nominees of the 2013 Spirit of Planetree Awards for Physician Champion, Caregiver and Pet Therapy Animal in ceremonies at Kent General and Milford Memorial.

Bayhealth implemented Planetree’s Patient Centered Model of Care in 2005. Each year, a physician champion and caregiver is selected from each campus to receive an award from Planetree.  One of Bayhealth’s pet therapy animals, "Jack," was selected by Planetree to receive the 2013 Planetree Pet Therapy Animal of the Year Award. The physician champions and caregivers are selected by a group of their peers.


Physician Champions Pedro Perez, MD and Christie Miller, MD, FACOG

Cardiologist Pedro Perez, MD, was named Physician Champion for Milford Memorial and

Obstetrician/gynecologist Christie Miller, MD, FACOG, was named Physician Champion for Kent General.

Dr. Perez was nominated for the award by a nurse, who stated “Every day I work with physicians who are providing excellent care. However, I believe a phenomenal doctor not only provides excellent medical care, but also provides a listening ear and compassionate heart to his patients. I would like to recognize Dr. Perez as a phenomenal physician because he takes the time to listen to patients and to their concerns. He is frequently complimented by patients for this very attribute of active listening.”

Dr. Perez joined the medical staff at Milford Memorial in 2005, and he is a member of Bayhealth Medical Group Cardiology Consultants in Milford. He received his medical degree from the Medical School at Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and completed his residency and fellowship at Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia.

A new physician to Kent General’s maternal-child unit, Dr. Miller was nominated because she is easy to approach with questions and wants to help moms-to-be feel special on one of the most memorable days of their lives. She speaks fluent Spanish and according to one nomination, she is calm, compassionate and a strong women's health patient advocate.

Dr. Miller joined Dedicated to Women/OB-GYN, with offices in Dover and Middletown, in October 2012 from Western Massachusetts where she worked for 9 years in an OB-GYN practice. She received her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Baystate Medical Center, the Western Campus of Tufts University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.

Caregivers Maria Stir, RN, and Robyn Spendley, RN

Maria Stir, RN, was named Caregiver for Kent General and Robyn Spendley, RN, received the award for Milford Memorial.

Maria Stir was nominated by one of her co-workers, after her co-worker witnessed “her ability to establish a caring and compassionate connection to each and every patient she interacted with left me in awe.” Stir was recognized for kind and caring way of dealing with people, and for treating each and every patient as the most important person in the hospital.

Robyn Spendley was recognized for the dignity, respect, compassion and integrity she displayed to patients when a water pipe broke at Milford Memorial and patients needed to be moved to various nursing units throughout the hospital. Indeed, she “led the way with confidence and humor, putting the patients at ease.” Additionally, Spendley also serves as a mentor to other staff nurses.

Pet Therapy Animal of the Year "Jack" Karnbach

Jack, owned by Bayhealth PT/OT Aide and Registrar Kaeleigh Karnbach, was not only named Bayhealth’s Pet Therapy Animal of the Year, but also for the Planetree organization as well. Jack was honored at the 2013 Annual Planetree Conference, which was held in Montreal this past October.

Jack has been an inspiration to patients coming to Bayhealth’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in Dover, where he has helped a patient with a feeding disorder by allowing the child to feed him treats so both Jack and the patient are having a snack. Jack provides comfort to the young patients by just being in the therapy room and lying next to the child during therapy. In addition to helping patients with their therapies and making them feel at ease, Jack also puts a smile on the face of staff members who can attest that a pet can boost “feelings” and emotions.

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