Beebe professionals stay ready in times of crisis

June 9, 2020

As we face the coronavirus pandemic, many of us, especially those considered most vulnerable, are hesitant to see our doctors. Fear of the unknown, lack of medical information, and the current news cycles have made a once-easy decision to reach out to our medical professionals intimidating and anxiety-producing.

Everyone worrying about seeing their doctor at this time of pandemic intensity can be confident and at ease that our healthcare professionals will do their best to protect you and keep you safe. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any one of them for help. Here’s an example of why you are in good hands:

My Easter Sunday morning started out quietly this year, having canceled our family plans due to the pandemic. As I was about to make my husband Ed’s favorite breakfast, I looked at him and said, “Everything OK?” Ed has a history of downplaying things when he doesn’t feel well, so when he said, “I feel a little like I did when I had a heart attack a few years back,” that really got my attention.

I asked Ed several questions and called his family physician, Dr. Gary Raffel. After I apologized for calling on a Sunday morning, Dr. Raffel assured me that I had done the right thing and asked questions about what was going on with Ed. He told me to take Ed’s temperature and blood pressure, send his pacemaker report from our remote machine to his cardiologist, Dr. Alberto Rosa of Cardiovascular Associates of Southern Delaware, and call back in five minutes.

I called Dr. Raffel back and reported Ed’s readings. Dr. Raffel asked Ed several other questions and said he was going to call Dr. Rosa. Dr. Rosa’s associate Dr. Ajith Kumar was on call and consulted with Dr. Raffel. He thoroughly reviewed Ed’s medical records and didn’t feel he needed to go to the hospital. We were extremely relieved.

The next day, Ed had a telehealth appointment with Dr. Rosa. Telehealth was much easier than we thought it would be. Dr. Rosa’s office called about an hour before the scheduled appointment and explained the simple directions to connect with the telehealth appointment. They also asked all the usual questions you are asked before seeing the doctor, and reviewed Ed’s medication list. Ed and Dr. Rosa used FaceTime to talk about his condition.

The call went very well, and Dr. Rosa even remembered to ask me about how our new granddaughter was doing. He has always been like a family member to us after saving Ed’s life in fall 2015. Dr. Rosa determined that Ed’s problem was gastric related. We made an appointment to see Dr. Michael Sofronski at Beebe’s General and Bariatric Surgery and Wellness Center. We were a bit worried about going to a doctor’s office because of the coronavirus.

Two days later, we arrived for Ed’s appointment and were very impressed with Dr. Sofronski’s office staff. Before we entered the waiting room, we were met in the vestibule by a nurse who asked us several questions and took our temperatures. We entered the waiting room wearing our masks and were socially distanced from two other patients waiting to be seen. When we met with Dr. Sofronski, we were very reassured by the plan of care he recommended for Ed. We were advised to follow up with him in a week.

Dr. Rosa and Beebe Medical Group doctors Dr. Raffel and Dr. Sofronski all worked to help Ed during this unusual time in our country’s history. Their personal attention and skilled advice, combined with an ease in communicating diagnostics and medical recommendations, are probably being repeated many times during this historic pandemic. We are pleased to say thank you to all our healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to protect us and keep us safe at home.

In honor of Dr. Raffel, Dr. Sofronski and Dr. Rosa, and in gratitude for the excellent care they received, Debbie and Ed Fitzpatrick made a generous gift to support Beebe Healthcare.

As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, go to and click on Ways to Donate, then Celebrating Excellent Care; or call Beebe Medical Foundation at 302-644-2900.

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