Patient finds his ‘guardian angel’

On the day before Easter, Tom and Pam Kearney arrived in Fort Worth from their home in Michigan feeling anxious and uncertain.

An injury to Tom’s xiphoid process caused excruciating pain in his chest – and the Kearneys traveled to Fort Worth so Albert Yurvati, DO, a surgeon at UNT Health Science Center, could perform a procedure that had been successful with other patients.

Still, they were far from home and alone in the city. Until they met Terry Stevenson.

For 10 days, the UNTHSC Clinic Service Representative Lead made it her mission to put them at ease, the Kearneys said, providing an extraordinary level of personal attention that exemplifies one of the Health Science Center’s core values of serving others first.

"She was absolutely phenomenal," Tom said.

First, Stevenson spent several hours Easter Sunday with the Kearneys at their hotel, talking over the surgery and allaying their fears. Later, with Tom too ill to leave, Stevenson took Pam grocery shopping and to some Fort Worth attractions. She gave them her cell phone number.

On the morning of the surgery, Stevenson offered to drive them to the hospital at 5:30 a.m. She sat with Pam while Tom was in surgery.

"She was right there beside us the whole way," Pam said. "She went way beyond her job description."

Tom’s surgery was a success. A few days later, he went to the emergency room because of a condition related to the anesthesia. When Tom was unable to get relief, Stevenson again went to the hospital to advocate on his behalf, then drove the Kearneys to their hotel at 11 p.m.

Today, Tom is back in Michigan and feeling great.

"What Terry did for us went far beyond ‘customer service,’" he said. "I call her my guardian angel.

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