Bucked off her horse and lying in a dry creek bed, Marie Zaphiropoulos found herself with serious injuries to her forehead, ribs, and back. Marie recalls being greeted at Garfield Hospital emergency department by an “almost grandmotherly type woman,” who went to work caring for Marie – even washing her hair. This sparked a desire inside Marie to give back to the hospital that took such good care of her.
Ben Swank: As I recall, it was a horse-riding incident that first brought you in contact really with Intermountain Healthcare, is that right?
Marie Zaphiropoulos: I was riding one of our thorough shires, a big, gray, 1500-pound animal. And I was with a group of ladies that I ride with. We stopped, and he got a drink of water and some of the other people went ahead. He decided to catch up with them by bucking and carrying on. I was proud of myself for staying on for three jumps. I lost my stirrup and then crashed into a dry creek bed with my right eyebrow. It was a terrible accident and I have 55 stitches in my forehead. I had bruised ribs, hurt my back, and I was bruised all over. But what was wonderful was, we were able to get ahold of my husband, and there were some people following us, so they could take me to Garfield Hospital.
We knocked on the emergency room door and this wonderful, almost grandmotherly type woman opened the door and said, "Oh honey. Come on in." They didn't worry about all the paperwork. And they took absolutely wonderful care of me. And that same little woman said, "Honey, can I wash your hair?" My hair was full of blood and sand. And she was just so very, very sweet. And I felt so well taken care of that we later went back and asked them what we could do to help the hospital.
They needed a laparoscopy machine. So we offered to buy that machine. This sas a small hospital, and it would have taken them years to ever get the money to buy that machine. It was a wonderful experience and we were very happy to do that.
Ben: If you could give Intermountain as a whole, some words of wisdom from the experience that you had. What would you like them to know as they move forward?
Marie: I just hope that they can keep the personal touch to our patients. And that we don't get so big that our patients aren't as important.
Ben: I have to admit, when you told me about the welcome that you received from the nurse at Panguitch/Garfield, that made me think, "I hope that someone who walks in today would get the same welcome. And the same care.” No matter how we change, it's the people that really define how we do.