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Another chance at life deserves a 'thank-you'

Around 11 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2017, Judy Gronniger awoke to what she thought was her husband’s snoring.

When Jeff wouldn’t awaken, she quickly recognized that he was going into cardiac arrest and began performing CPR until the ambulance arrived. It took 14 shocks with a defibrillator to restart his heart before he could be transported to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

On Oct. 19, 2018, Jeff walked back into the CICU with his family to thank and recognize the nursing staff who saved his life and fill in the gaps in his memory.

Ascension Via Christi OB/GYN helps mom successfully deliver

For some, 10 is a number that denotes perfection. For Wichitan Amanda Rufnak, it’s the number of miscarriages she experienced prior to welcoming daughter Natalie Jade, now a healthy 8-month-old.

“I hyperventilated when I found out I was pregnant,” says Amanda, who although excited was worried about the chances of carrying the pregnancy to full term after suffering two miscarriages before the birth of her first son 12 years ago, five before the birth of her second now 9 year-old son and three more before Natalie Jade.

Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa celebrates re-accreditation with staff thank-you

Following a third-consecutive re-accreditation by The Joint Commission, Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa held an evening and daytime picnic to honor and thank staff for their ongoing commitment to quality, which led to a near-perfect survey. 

New mom’s delivery positive, unforgettable experience despite complications

As a home health nurse, Alyssa Bethea knows how great care can make a lasting impression on patients.  Following complications during her own recent pregnancy and delivery, she now appreciates that even more.
“I’ve worked with a lot of doctors, but I have never experienced someone who cares as much as my doctor does,” says Alyssa, who at 17 weeks into her pregnancy began seeing Janey Maki, MD, an OB/GYN at Ascension Medical Group. “I felt like I was talking to a friend.” 

Ascension Via Christi chaplain living cancer-free after robotic surgery

Rick Hernandez was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2017. Days later, a CAT scan revealed a cancerous tumor on his right kidney. Immediately, he began thinking about how tedious surgery and recovery would be -- times two.

“I have been healthy all my life, but cancer runs in my family,” says Rick, who even with his history “didn’t see this coming.” 

St. Joseph NewLife Center equips new mom with confidence

As a 9-1-1 dispatcher, Tiffani Thimesch, is both accustomed and well-trained to deal with high-stress situations.

As a first-time mother-to-be, however, she was concerned about her skills in that area.

However, after completing months childbirth education classes and delivering at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph’s New Life Center, she’s now confidently taking on what she says is her hardest, but most rewarding job yet – being a mom. 

‘Remember to Dream’ program helps dedicated pediatrics nurse relive career at St. Francis

After the death of her father, Catherine Baxter went to work at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis’ Nutrition Services department as a young teenager to help support her family and continued to do so through high school. After earning her degree from the St. Francis School of Nursing, she began a nursing career at Via Christi that would span 50 years.
Recently, the now 86-year-old retiree returned to St. Francis wearing her nurse’s cap and white scrubs.

Ascension Via Christi labor and delivery nurse educating new parents for over 25 years

Toni Howard, RN, has 25 years of experience in helping expectant parents have the best birth experiences possible.

To the families with whom she helps navigate pregnancy, birth and the addition of a new family member, she’s like the new parent whisperer – helping parents confidently welcome and care for their babies. 


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