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Published on December 15, 2016

When the numbers add up to great medical careWhen the numbers add up to great medical care

Art Cornell of Osterville loves numbers, as you can tell from his description of a recent birthday celebration.

“When I turned 81 years old, I organized my own birthday party,” said the engineer, who worked for Honeywell for 31 years and has now been retired for 31 years. “Eighty one is a perfect square (9×9) and because it was on 10/10/10, I could not pass it up. The 65 people who attended represented five of the six phases of my life.”

A number he hadn’t needed before – 911 – saved his wife, Joan’s, life on Feb. 9, 2015.

Joan, who has been married to Art for 61 years, was recovering at home after a stay at a rehabilitation facility following knee replacement surgery the month before.

“I was doing my exercises like I was supposed to and I thought I was progressing very well,” she said.

Then, while exercising on her bed one evening, she developed severe pain in her back. She asked Art to call for emergency help.

“I was really surprised she wanted an ambulance,” he said. “It’s not something she would normally do.”

When they arrived in the Emergency Center at Cape Cod Hospital, Joan’s blood pressure was low and tests showed she may have had a kidney stone.  She was admitted for observation overnight, but by morning her condition had worsened and she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit.

Grateful For the Care She Received

Joan was diagnosed with sepsis, an infection in her blood, and was in critical condition due to septic shock, according to Art. After a couple of days of IV antibiotics and support therapy, Joan started to get better and eventually moved to a room on a medical floor. After a post-discharge stay at Liberty Commons Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center in Chatham. Joan finally went home on Feb. 26, 2015.

Art was so grateful for the care that his wife received, he wrote a letter to the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation.

“The purpose of this letter is to acknowledge and thank the staff at the Cape Cod Hospital for saving the life of my wife,” he wrote. “The doctors diagnosed the problem quickly and responded with the correct treatment. The nurses and staff were efficient and caring.”

Art went on to say that a few days after Joan’s admission to the hospital, “an emergency room doctor recognized me in the hallway and stopped to ask how she was doing.” In addition, a nurse from the floor where she was originally admitted visited Joan in the Intensive Care Unit.

“That is caring,” wrote Art.

Both Joan and Art are currently healthy and just returned from a trip to England. Art is busy planning mathematical puzzle games for his 10 grandchildren to solve over the holidays, and Joan, a retired teacher, is reading and involved with colonial cooking demonstrations.

The Cornells are learning there are a number of ways to enjoy retirement on Cape Cod.  And when it comes to quality healthcare, they are counting their blessings that Cape Cod Hospital is nearby.