Cape Cod Healthcare's Grateful Patient Program

What are you grateful for? Was it the compassion of a nurse when your child or loved one was hurt or scared in the emergency department? Or the life-saving skill of a surgeon? Maybe it was the words of encouragement and understanding from a caregiver on your floor?

We all have moments that we are grateful for and though we may not remember exactly what someone did or said, chances are we will remember how they made us feel.

We invite you to share your story. You may also wish to express your appreciation to the special person by making a gift in their honor to Cape Cod Healthcare. Each gift we receive from a patient or family member reaffirms our value within the community.

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Or you may email your grateful patient story to

William and Jeanie Drinkwater's Story

When Bill Drinkwater became ill with a stomach bug a couple of days before Christmas, little did he know that one of his Christmas gifts would be the gift of life.

“I found him on the bathroom floor at 3 in the morning, too weak to get up,” said his wife, Jeanie. He was immediately transported by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital.

After an assessment by the emergency center’s medical team, Bill was taken to radiology for a CT scan of his abdomen and head because of the fall. But once he returned to the emergency room, everything changed. His heart went into atrial fibrillation and then ventricular fibrillation (lower chambers of the heart flutter and are unable to move blood through the heart), a life-threatening event that causes the heart to stop working.

Chest compressions were started and he underwent electric shock treatment to reset his heart rhythm. His heart responded and he spent the night in the intensive care unit.

While these events were happening, Jeanie was watching by his side. “The medical team knew what they needed to do and they did it,” she said. She noticed how the new emergency room was beautiful and spacious enough to fit all of the equipment without the staff bumping into each other.

 “I appreciated how the staff let me remain in the room and explained what was going on,” she said.  

She expressed her gratitude for what the staff did for her husband by making a donation to the hospital and spreading the word about their positive experience. “I’ve been telling everybody about the care he received,” said Jeanie who is a former cardiovascular nurse. “If it weren’t for their quick response, my husband wouldn’t be here today.”

Three days after Christmas, Bill had surgery to install a pacemaker/defribillator.  After a stay in rehab, he came home to recuperate and looks forward to going back to the gym and driving again.

“I don’t normally donate, but the care Bill received at the hospital motivated me to do it,” said Jeanie. “It is important to donate to the hospital.  I hope our donation will help others and whatever the hospital can use it for, especially in the emergency center.”

The new Cape Cod Hospital Emergency Center was made possible by more than $16 million in contributions from the community. 

Pat Sherman's Story

It’s easy to envision Pat Sherman as a flight attendant in the 1960’s making her passengers feel comfortable, offering assistance and serving dinner all the while carrying on great conversation with a beautiful smile.

Sherman flew with American Airlines for four years, domestically.  “I loved flying, I met so many wonderful people,” Sherman said. Among the famous ones were actress Gloria Swanson and members of John F. Kennedy’s family.

 Once she married her husband, Raymond, who also worked for the airlines, she had to quit her flight attendant job. While raising their three children, she worked in the school department, then joined Blue Cross Blue Shield where she worked her way up from the mail room to provider services.

Her years at the company and its Medicare division helped her realize the importance of supporting health care. “You can make a difference in your community by giving,” said Sherman. “What I give comes back to me three fold,” she said.

Sherman found out first-hand what financial support can do to promote medical services. In October, 2014, she developed a blood clot that was successfully treated but a few short months later, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She received radiofrequency ablation treatment to eliminate the tumor.

While she was recovering from one cancer diagnosis, a CT scan for a kidney stone showed a mass in her abdomen. She had a hysterectomy and the cancerous mass was removed. She did not need chemotherapy or radiation.

All of her medical care was at Cape Cod Hospital. “Why do people go to Boston when we have great care at Cape Cod Hospital?” said Sherman. “The staff and doctors made it a personable experience, especially my nurse, Kelly McCormack on the fifth floor,” said Sherman. “She always asked me what I wanted and gave me options.”

True to her ability to make others feel comfortable, Sherman made sure her walks on the floor during recovery included “talking to everyone.”

Sherman has served many years with the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary, including a term as President of the former Yarmouthport Auxiliary.  Her service involved working on fundraisers to support the hospital. She and her husband would team up to create glass items for the  auxiliary Christmas fairs among other contributions.

When she became ill and could no longer help in that capacity, she found another way to contribute. The Shermans made a financial donation to Cape Cod Healthcare to be used where it is needed most.

“We don’t want to lose the medical services we have,” said Sherman. “It’s important to donate so that what Cape Cod Hospital stands for today will continue to be there for you when you need their services tomorrow.”

Mark McManus' Story

Every Thursday Mark and his wife, Mimi, volunteer their time at Cape Cod Hospital. Mark’s positive experience as a patient himself made it all the more imperative for him to volunteer. He pays it forward by spending time in the new Emergency Center transporting patients, taking samples to the lab and stocking supplies. “People say that I am so nice to give my time volunteering, but I tell them that I get just as much out of it,” he said. 

He recalls one fateful Labor Day weekend on Cape Cod when he began to feel pain in his chest, jaw and left arm ──  the warning signs of a heart attack.  As a former EMT volunteer, Mark recognized those signs and went straight to the Cape Cod Hospital Emergency Center. He was diagnosed with a heart attack and underwent a successful cardiac catheterization performed by Dr. Richard Zelman.  

Mark is not only grateful for the support of Dr. Zelman, but to Dr. Elissa Thompson, cardiologist, and Cardiac Rehab Nurse Lisa Kingston, who helped him recover so he could resume his active lifestyle. The 12-week cardiac rehab program at Cape Cod Hospital is designed to help patients like Mark regain their strength and learn how to manage heart health in the future.

Now that he has graduated from rehab, Mark feels well-prepared for what may lie ahead, armed a better understanding of the medical, nutritional and psychological changes one can make that yield long-term benefits. 

 “I can see where someone might ask after a heart attack, ʿWhy me?’, but I know I got another lease on life,” he smiles.  “After volunteering for a day in the Emergency Center, I realize just how lucky I am.”

Patricia O'Connor's Story

Patricia Connor calls herself a “frequent flyer” with Cape Cod Healthcare because she has encountered so many turbulent health issues during her lifetime.  Yet despite that fact, she maintains a surprisingly positive outlook.  

At age 20 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and received life-saving radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  In 2004, she spent two weeks in Cape Cod Hospital’s intensive care unit with a serious sepsis infection that required an amputation of her fingers and toes.

“It may sound silly, but the first question I asked before the operation was if I would be able to continue to play hockey,” Pat recalled. When the doctors told her she would, she gained hope.  After her surgery and recovery, Pat got back on the ice with the Cape Cod Women’s Hockey League and has played with them ever since.  

Pat is thankful to have recently celebrated her 50th birthday, which came just before her  latest procedure at Cape Cod Hospital, a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).  “This was such a great solution for me and I’m so glad it all worked out as far as being able to have the procedure done and to have it done locally,” she said.

An inspiration to others, Pat continues to see the glass half full and credits her hockey teammates, doctors and nurse practitioners for having given her a new outlook on life. “I have a long history with Cape Cod Hospital and they’ve been very good to me here.”