Read Inspiring Patient Stories
From Tri-State Memorial Hospital
Read Inspiring Patient Stories from Tri-State Memorial Hospital
Rich Copeland Sr. is a resident of the Lewis- Clark Valley. With his time in this area, he has seen the development of community healthcare. In 2017, Rich experienced a series of health complications that lead to his need to receive additional in-depth corrective care. He suffered two strokes in October of 2017 that resulted in a small amount of damage. During this endeavor, Rich developed a medical condition which formed a possibly cancerous mass in his abdomen. As the evaluation of his case progressed, he was uncertain if the condition was life-threatening. It was at that time when Rich knew that the appropriate measures to restore his health would need to be taken. Through a family member, Rich had made connections three months prior to his condition with Dr. Leroy Smith, MD, General Surgeon, of Tri-State General Surgery. He was very impressed with Dr. Smith’s manner, knowledge, and overall care and compassion. Rich knew that Dr. Smith was who he wanted to put his trust in to help him through his medical journey. “Dr. Smith is exceptional and extremely friendly,” said Rich. “You can feel the love from the minute you walk into the door; Dr. Smith put me at ease from day one.” Dr. Smith holds over 35 years of experience in general surgery and is certified by the American Board of Surgery. He joined Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus in June 2016. General Surgery provides the diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative care for a wide range of surgical procedures. Since Rich’s surgery in 2017 his health has been restored. “Tri-State is a large family of dedicated people who have the patient’s interest at heart; you just couldn’t have better care,” said Rich. “No one wants to go to the hospital, but if you have to go for surgery, I’d recommend Tri-State. Tri-State is outstanding; I don’t know how you could have a better experience.”
Thomas Blimka was born at Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus and has spent his life living in the Lewis-Clark valley. As a child, Thomas had many close connections with admired pillars of the community, including his medical physician, Walter W. Seibly, MD, who graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1945. Whenever Thomas needed medical care, he would turn to those he trusted most.
Recently, Thomas had an unfortunate encounter with some life-threatening health issues that left him needing the very best medical care possible. After his admittance to Tri-State Memorial Hospital, he would begin his 18-day journey to recovery. During his long road ahead, Thomas found his comfort and hopes in the presence of his physicians and medical staff. There was an abundance of employees who touched his life, and all thirty-three of them made him feel like family, even in his hardest times. Thomas was moved by the gratitude and attentiveness of these individuals. Seeing such selflessness inspired him to keep a list of all thirty-three names who helped him while at Tri-State Memorial Hospital; he did this in his journal. As they entered his room one-by-one, at different times, he asked for them to record their names on his list to ensure that they had the opportunity to be recognized for their outstanding service. From nursing staff to dietary, and physicians, he came to discover that the entire team was there to provide the highest essential care he needed.
“It’s the little things,” said Thomas. “Heating the shower before taking me in; talking and joking during rounds; reading me the dietary menu each meal (even though I knew what was on my meal plan) and the comradery of Dr. [LeRoy] Smith, [MD, General Surgeon]. Each visitor to my room always smiled and lifted my spirits.”
Thomas has plans to extend his gratitude by donating as a Grateful Patient to the Tri-State Hospital Foundation. When patients receive above and beyond care at Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus, they always have the opportunity to donate through charitable giving to the foundation. All charitable gift donations made to the foundation are used in accordance with their mission to place people and their health as the first priority. The Tri-State Hospital Foundation is the official conduit for charitable giving for Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus. The foundation provides financial resources and philanthropic leadership to meet the rising needs of the patients served by Tri-State Memorial Hospital. Thomas, who achieved Master status in creating Intarsia jewelry rock art, will be donating a handcrafted necklace art piece to the Tri-State Hospital Foundation’s Annual Festival of Trees Gala-Silent Auction. Thomas has been making rock art jewelry since 2011, where he took first place in an art competition six months into his trade. He learned the technique of Intarsia by watching his father and grandfather.
Thomas has since made a full recovery and is continually grateful to Tri-State Memorial Hospital, the physicians, staff, and front line services, for mending his health and saving his life.
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