John Kopf: New home brings a fresh outlook on patient care
“The No. 1 thing that attracted us to this area is the people,” said John Kopf, a recent transplant to Southern Delaware. “People smile here. They hold the door for you. They ask you how you are. People are genuinely nice. We were walking on the boardwalk in Bethany Beach, and a woman stopped us and asked my daughter, ‘What’s your doll’s name?’”
John Kopf was a police officer in New Jersey for 27 years before retiring in September 2015. He and his family were searching for places to live on the Eastern Seaboard, near the beach. He recalls, “Southern Delaware came up on my screen, and in April 2018 we were packing up. We were here for just a year in April.
“During my time as a police officer, we also ran an Emergency Services Bureau. All police officers in New Jersey also provide first responder care. A group of us were also certified as EMTs. We were able to address life-threatening issues immediately. I was very used to taking care of people, but all of the rush and bustle is also a part of New Jersey’s healthcare system. You better be on time for your doctor appointment; then they will make you wait two hours. When the doctor does see you, you’re lucky if it is for 15 minutes. When we moved to Southern Delaware, we soon experienced a better way to take care of people,” said Kopf.
“It started when we got established with a new primary care doctor, Dr. Brian Caswell-Monack. He’s a young doctor with a fresh perspective and approach to patient care. He sat down with me and we talked, like people. Dr. Caswell-Monack spent the time to get to know me. He learned that I had been dealing with a hernia for about six years. I put it off because I was too busy having fun with my two daughters. I also had a love for landscaping. I did a lot of work in my yard, probably too much.”
Dr. Caswell-Monack referred John to Dr. Erik Stancofski, a general and robotic surgeon who said, “John, we can do whatever you want to do. We can fix this right now, or we could wait. It’s up to you.”
Kopf said his hernia was becoming more of a problem, and Dr. Stancofski offered him a choice of traditional or robotic surgery, saying, “John, there are a lot of benefits to robotic surgery. It’s same-day surgery and your recovery is much quicker.”
On the day of John’s same-day surgery at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, there was a small delay in pre-op, but he didn’t mind: “It gave me the opportunity to watch all of them. I was happily amazed. Every person was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing. They were all working together as a team, in concert. The nurse who took my information was very quiet and caring. There was a young man who came and walked me back to get ready. I had just gotten my IV and I had to use the bathroom. He said, ‘Sure, no problem,’ and he walked me down to the bathroom.
“Several people came by to apologize for the delay. Dr. Stancofski came out to see me and said, ‘Hey John, we’ll see you in the OR in just a couple of minutes.’ The surgical nurses who came to take me down were so nice and talkative, they eased my mind and made me so comfortable.”
John says he is now a huge believer in robotic surgery. “After just five days of recovery, I was at 75 out of 100 percent. There were only three small incisions, and they also glued me up. In the past I’ve been stapled back together, and that’s rough. The glue doesn’t require any special attention or changing of bandages. This surgery was such a positive experience!”
John ended his story where he started: “The people at Beebe are so friendly and approachable. This was one of the reasons we wanted to move to Southern Delaware – for old-school values and mannerisms. We are only three hours away from the rest of our family. It’s a quick drive up the turnpike or a ferry ride.
“When we were moving down here, we did a lot of research. Initially, we were concerned about where we would find a good hospital. Then we found Beebe in Lewes, and we thought that was really far compared to what we were used to. But it’s really not that far, and Beebe Healthcare’s doctors, nurses and caregivers have given me and my family a bright new outlook on patient care! And there will be a new emergency department near Millville very soon. We’re all very excited about that!”
Beebe continues to depend on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts, large or small, to Beebe Healthcare, are tax deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation. Go to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org/cec to learn about ways you can share your Beebe story, Celebrate Excellent Care and support the I Believe in Beebe Campaign.