You are so much more at Beebe

February 12, 2019

When John and Rita Noonan moved to Long Neck in December 2014, they could not imagine what lay in store for them. “We were originally from Western Pennsylvania and moved to Central Pennsylvania for employment reasons and remained there for the next 27 years,” shared Rita.

“When my mother lived with us and was seriously injured from a fall, I decided to take an early retirement so John and I could take care of her,” Rita continued. “Days before my mother’s death, I remembered her telling John and me ‘to go out and enjoy your lives.’ That encouragement led us to move to Delaware a year later.”

With fond memories of vacationing in Rehoboth Beach where they found the people “so friendly,” they knew that Delaware was the place to make their dreams come true. With the help of their realtor, John and Rita found a home in Long Neck that would accommodate their four rescue dogs whom they affectionately refer to as their “kiddos.” Animal rescue is the longstanding focal point of their lives.

One day, in the spring of 2015, after working hard slinging heavy bags of mulch and planting flowers in her garden, Rita found her neck and arm unusually sore and painful. John was unable to assist her with the heavy lifting because he was dealing with an abdominal aneurysm which was diagnosed in Pennsylvania before their move to Delaware. John encouraged Rita to see their family doctor to have her arm and shoulder examined.

“My doctor sent me for a neck x-ray which identified a pinched nerve and also a blockage. I was shocked and determined not to share my fear and concerns with John. I was the rock that he and my mom, when she was living, had always depended on,” shared Rita.

Rita’s family physician referred her to Dr. Sean Ryan, a Beebe Healthcare vascular surgeon.

This was their first experience with Beebe Healthcare. Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania with no friends and family in Delaware, Rita and John wondered what kind of care they would receive at this new hospital. They contacted their former family physician from Pennsylvania and were told he had patients who had gone to Beebe Healthcare and it was a very good hospital with great doctors.

“When Dr. Ryan sent me for an ultrasound of my carotid artery I was terrified, but told myself to keep a positive attitude, and assured John everything would be fine,” said Rita.

Dr. Ryan also referred Rita to Dr. Paul Peet, a neurologist, because of the weakness she was experiencing with her left arm. Their major concern was to make sure there was no stroke damage.

When Rita and John returned to Dr. Ryan’s office, he explained the results in “laymen’s terms,” John shared. “Dr. Ryan told us that Rita had a major blockage in her carotid artery and would need surgery to repair it as soon as possible.”

Rita had surgery 10 days before Christmas. Following her surgery, Dr. Ryan spoke to John and said he repaired the blockage and Rita would be okay. “Dr. Ryan was very comforting, reassuring, and in no hurry to leave me,” shared John. “He was very patient and treated us like family - at no time were we treated like a number.”

Rita spent two days in the hospital because Dr. Ryan wanted to make sure her blood pressure was stabilized before she was sent home.

“Dr. Ryan checked in on me several times, and as he entered the room, he always had a reassuring smile on his face,” said Rita. “At one point it was late in the day and I asked him, ‘didn’t you leave the hospital yet?’”

“Dr. Ryan always took his time; there never was any rush to leave. He was so down-to-earth and cared about me. He has the best bedside manner I have ever experienced,” continued Rita. “John and I were so impressed by the way Dr. Ryan cared about my health and well-being. We don’t have enough positive adjectives to describe what an awesome doctor and person he is. You can’t fake that!”

John shared, “Even today, Dr. Ryan keeps an eye on Rita with her follow-up care. Six months after Rita’s surgery, Dr. Ryan and his associate Dr. Neves put a stent in Rita’s carotid artery. She was welcomed back to the Beebe Operating Room with the same level of care.”

As Rita emerged from her stent procedure John asked her, “How was the Dynamic Duo?” which was the name they used so admiringly to describe Drs. Ryan and Neves.

John and Rita said that the quality of care Rita received was so authentic, and they continue to be impressed by Dr. Ryan and the care they receive at Beebe. “It was outstanding! We have never been treated as well at any hospital. Now, whenever we drive by the hospital we call it ‘The Beebe Hilton’ because someone is always there to care for you!” they said with a big smile.

For the Noonans, saying thank you didn’t seem like enough. They were very excited to Celebrate Excellent Care and share their story. John and Rita also made a gift to recognize Dr. Ryan, his team, and his office staff. Their gift is supporting the construction of the new Hybrid Operating Room at Beebe Healthcare’s Margaret H. Rollins campus in Lewes. 

As Rick Schaffner, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Beebe Healthcare, explains, “We have brought together our vascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, radiologists, and support teams to build an operating room that will provide the latest in advanced imaging technology for vascular surgeons and allows patients to undergo both open surgery and endovascular or minimally invasive procedures in the same room.” For more information on Beebe’s Vascular Services programs, visit

As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, 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. Please consider making a gift today and share your amazing stories with our community. To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go online to or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at 302-644-2900 or write to


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