Beebe is worth the wait – but doesn’t encourage waiting

September 17, 2019

A few weeks ago, I was in Wilmington for a family wedding. On Friday night, I began to have tightness in my chest and pain in my arms. I was concerned. I knew these could be symptoms of a heart attack. My husband wanted me to go to the emergency department in Wilmington that night, but I declined. I wanted to wait and go to Beebe if necessary. 

Feeling better on Saturday, I had a wonderful time at the wedding. Those who know me won’t be surprised that I danced the night away. But Sunday evening, still in Wilmington, I started feeling bad again. 

Heading back to Rehoboth early Monday, I called my cardiologist, Dr. Mouhanad Freih, to schedule a visit. After I described my symptoms, I was directed to go to his office right away. My EKG was abnormal. I was advised to go to the Emergency Department at Beebe, and I listened. I was very confident in the experience I would have here at Beebe. 

I was greeted warmly at the front desk by a volunteer who, when she heard my symptoms, said, “I will get you a wheelchair and take you back right away,” adding, “Don’t worry, you are in great hands at Beebe.” I felt immediately at ease. Beebe volunteers are amazing.

Sandra Pistone was my nurse, and she was extraordinary. She introduced herself and explained each test and procedure. She was compassionate, caring, and attentive. She asked, “Do you have any questions? Do you understand why we are doing this test? Do you need to use the restroom?”

Dr. Paul Cowan from Sussex Emergency Associates was in the ED that morning. He checked in right away and asked if any family would be with me. I told him my husband, Jim, was driving down from Wilmington. Dr. Cowan thoughtfully said I should call and tell Jim to take his time and drive safely; I was in good hands. Dr. Kevin Bristowe also stopped by to check on me. I have had the great joy of working with Drs. Cowan and Bristowe for many years – they are so smart, dedicated, and compassionate. Their great team at SEA always provides extraordinary care for our patients, and they have always been very generous in supporting Beebe, especially though the I Believe in Beebe Campaign. 

Three other amazing colleagues also deserve a shout-out: Rick Schaffner, interim CEO; Katie Halen, VP of human resources; and Lesley Carr, Beebe Medical Foundation executive assistant. They all visited me to be sure I was OK while I waited for Jim to arrive. Rick visited me three times! What an incredible leader and boss – it doesn’t get any better than that. 

Within a few hours, I was set up for a catheterization performed by Dr. Freih, and my nurse prepped me and asked again if I had any questions. Dr. Frieh did an excellent job explaining everything to me in understandable terms. He is a brilliant cardiologist, and we are so fortunate to have him at Beebe.

When I was wheeled into the new Interventional Cardiac Lab, I was greeted by Mary Frances Suter, executive director of Cardiac/Vascular Services. She is new to Beebe and brings 30 years of experience in top Philadelphia hospitals and a career dedicated to heart and vascular care. I was seeing the new Interventional Cardiac Lab for the first time and got to experience the incredible team as they prepare patients for procedures. Everyone introduced themselves, explained what they were doing, were so respectful of my personal privacy, and even noticed my nails were painted a pretty blue. Wow! This team made something very scary seem peaceful.

The good news – my heart is fine! Not surprisingly, the great news is that Beebe was in fact worth the wait, even though I wouldn’t (and Dr. Freih certainly wouldn’t) encourage waiting. 

Judy Aliquo, Beebe Medical Foundation president and CEO, proudly counts herself among the many patients who generously donate to Beebe Healthcare because, as a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe depends on the generous support of individuals, local businesses, corporations and private foundations. All gifts are tax-deductible, so please consider making a gift today. Contact Beebe Medical Foundation at, 302-644-2900 or

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