Patient Stories


In the midst of the steamy August summer weather, Linda from Manlius, NY, wasn’t feeling well one morning. Home from a recent hospital stay in Syracuse, Linda and her husband Jerry wanted a different medical experience, and knew right away they should make the short trip to Community Memorial in Hamilton.

Having lived and worked locally years ago, the couple was familiar with Community Memorial – their local primary care provider sent them there for outpatient medical testing, and their Cardiologist is within the Community Memorial group – but neither had been admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay. “We knew about Community Memorial, and what really triggered us to make the drive to Hamilton was how the people here treat you like family,” stated Jerry. “We could have gone back to a Syracuse hospital, but we know at Community Memorial, you always receive more than expected.”

Starting at the Emergency Department, nurses greeted them and instantly made them feel comfortable. “Some of the nurses even knew my wife, from her days as a teacher,” added Jerry. “We selected CMH because of its nursing staff. The front line care providers here set themselves apart from other facilities by the thoughtful and friendly way they interact with patients.”

The married duo recognized hospitalist April LaMunion, NP, as one of their key caregivers, noting her endless capacity for detail. “There are many bright stars in the Community Memorial universe, and we wish we could name them all. April’s attention to detail, both medically and administratively, was excellent. She conveyed all the information to us about test results in a kind and caring manner,” stated Jerry.

Community Memorial strives each and every day to make any hospital stay seamless for patients and their families, from the moment they pull into the parking lot. “The convenience of free, easy parking and entering in the quaint lobby helped us factor in where we needed to go for care. The whole experience at this facility is different than any other, and we would tell anyone to go to Community Memorial for their care,” added Jerry.

Continually working towards positive patient experiences, Community Memorial knows that in sensitive times of a hospital stay, the little things make all the difference.“

None of the nurses at Community Memorial spoke to us like children. Interaction was handled conversationally, as if interacting with family,” added Jerry. “That enveloped us like a warm blanket. No wonder Community Memorial has such high patient satisfaction scores.”

You can be a part of what we do. A gift to the Community Memorial Annual Fund supports efforts such as providing innovative and state-of-the-art technologies for our rural community. You can help patients like Linda, or someone you know and love, receive quality healthcare, close to home

No one wants to be in the hospital, but you want to make sure Community Memorial is there when you or your family need them. Consider the tremendous impact YOU can make today and give. Help create more celebrations of everyday pain-free satisfaction!

Kelly Nourse

Because of people like you, Kelly is grateful to be here with her family to celebrate everyday joys!

April 12, 2018 was the day that changed the life of Kelly Nourse a wife, mother and educator from Cazenovia; this was the day Community Memorial found her cancer.

Kelly’s long-time trusted OBGYN physician had retired at the end of February. Kelly knew she needed to schedule an appointment, but had put it off; her life was busy. Michael a senior in college and Patrick a senior in High School would graduate in May and June respectively and Kimber would be a senior in college at the end of the summer.

In the Spring 2018 during Kelly’s routine physical, the physician noticed Kelly had not scheduled her annual mammogram and an appointment was scheduled at Community Memorial Imaging Department. Kelly notes, “Community Memorial is an extension of my family. All three of my children were born at CMH and had made many visits to the Emergency Department.”

Kelly’s mammogram appointment was followed by an ultrasound exam. “The staff at Community Memorial is always very friendly and warm, they make an uncomfortable process much easier,” added Kelly. Within minutes of her mammogram, she found herself in the familiar ultrasound room, all was going well until the technologist began imaging her right breast. “The ultrasound technologist kept coming back to the same spot in my breast and holding the image,” mentioned Kelly. Then she was done, she left the room to have the radiologist review the images, which was a normal occurrence, however, this time when the technologist returned, she came back with the radiologist, Dr. Black.

Dr. Black noted a spot on her right breast and recommended a biopsy to determine if it was cancerous. While most women at this point would be in shock, Kelly was not, she had gone down this road before in her early 40s and the spot turned out to be a cyst.

Community Memorial does not perform this procedure, but because of the affiliation with Crouse Health in Syracuse, an appointment for the biopsy was made for April 24. The results would be available in a couple of days. On the following Monday, April 30, Kelly had her answer; the spot was cancerous. The spot was a .8 centimeter, slow-growing tumor, but would still need to be surgically removed at Crouse Health.

On May 15, 2018, less than a month after her spot was discovered at Community Memorial, Kelly underwent a lumpectomy on her right breast followed by a course of radiotherapy. A tamoxifen regiment follows for the next 5 years.

“My experience has made me stronger; becoming an advocate for women’s health. It is critically important for women over 40 to have an annual mammogram. I am grateful to be here with my family and celebrate everyday joys, Michael and Patrick graduating, Kimber becoming a professional young woman and sharing special moments with my husband. I am lucky it was found early, I am cancer free. As always, Community Memorial was there for me. The technology found my early stage breast cancer and the staff who assisted in transitioning my treatments from Community Memorial to Crouse Health in Syracuse made my experience stress-free and seamless. I know Community Memorial is a 5-star hospital, but if it was up to me I give them 10 stars.”

Your gift to the Community Memorial Annual Fund supports efforts, like providing innovative screenings like mammography and ultrasound technologies for our rural community. You help save lives, like Kelly, who is today cancer free!

Consider the tremendous impact YOU can make today and give. Help create more celebrations of everyday joy!

Ed Rydzy

Has a single moment changed your life forever?

Ed Rydzy, from Norwich, NY has a reason to be grateful. As a result of the quick thinking and comprehensive care he received from the emergency room staff at Community Memorial, Ed will enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays surrounded by his family and friends.

On August 30th, Ed had a massive heart attack. While driving, Ed thought he just had a bad case of indigestion, but when the pressure on his chest became too much, he pulled off the road and called his hospital. The friendly woman who answered at Community Memorial listened to Ed’s symptoms and instructed him to come to the hospital immediately. Ed now calls this woman his angel.

Arriving at the emergency room at Community Memorial, Ed was rushed into a special room and connected to an EKG machine, which would determine if he was having a heart attack. The initial results were normal, but the ER doctor was determined to find the cause of his increasing pain. He ordered a series of blood tests, which confirmed elevated enzyme levels associated with having a heart attack. The nursing staff began administering the proper medications. “The staff worked quickly, listened to my concerns and were smart enough to not accept the results of the initial EKG. Continued testing found the reason for my pain. I would have died, if they didn’t do this. They saved my life!” said Ed.
Once stabilized, Ed was transferred to Crouse Health where testing identified a 95% blockage. Immediate surgery was needed and Ed was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he had Bypass Surgery on September 4th.

Today, Ed is home with his family. As we approach the holiday season, Ed is grateful for his care at Community Memorial. “If Hamilton had not taken a second look, I would have gone home and slept. I would not be alive today! I had no idea I was having a heart attack. There’s no family history of heart disease. I actually was feeling great. I am an avid tennis player and it never occurred to me that I had a heart condition. This single moment has changed my life forever. If I can share only a few words of wisdom, if you think there is something wrong, get it checked out. Community Memorial saved my life, they will save yours.”

Betty Liebl

Living independently is something we all desire, but often take for granted. Betty Liebl understands this all too well. She is normally an active senior, from Nelson, NY. She is an avid knitter who gives back to her community by creating sweaters and hats for family members and friends. “Knitting keeps me young and living independently. People have enjoyed the clothes I have created and it feels good to help others,” said Betty.

However, this all changed in December 2017. Betty woke one morning not feeling like herself. Weak and retaining water in both legs, she toughed out the pain for three days until she became so ill she could no longer get out of bed. Betty was hesitant to reach out for help in fear of having to leave her home, but she was so scared, alone, and in severe pain, she finally decided to dial 911.

The ambulance transported Betty to Community Memorial Hospital. Upon arrival the doctors ordered a series of tests. It was determined she had severe inflammation in the large intestine, which was so advanced she was losing blood at an alarming rate. Betty received two-units of blood before being transferred to Crouse Health for emergency surgery. Betty noted the process was smooth and felt the staff at Community Memorial did everything possible to keep her comfortable until she was transported by ambulance to Syracuse.

After surgery, Betty made significant strides, but was not strong enough to go home. Betty requested a transfer to the post-acute rehab program called Swing Bed at Community Memorial. “What a great support system. They worked me ‘hard’ each day in occupational therapy to rebuild the muscles I use every day. They were the team that got me home quickly and living independently again and also coordinated with my family my safe transition home.” Because of you, and your support for Community Memorial, Betty is home, active and knitting!

You, like Betty and her family can rely on Community Memorial to provide continued quality care when you need it and a seamless network of services to address all your healthcare needs. Give your gift today, so we can continue to offer programs including Swing-Bed for individuals like Betty and her family.

You can support Betty, and patients like her by contributing to the Annual Giving Relief Fund.

Lorraine Kaimal

I have just been through six sessions of therapy with Sally Vetter. I found her the perfect coach, giving me both challenges and encouragement, and sometimes catching me before I took a tumble.

I found your PT department a contrast with other PT experiences I have had. In one place the therapist would show me the moves, say “OK, do thirty more,” and walk away. But, Sally was with me all the time -- it made a difference in how I did those moves.

So, thank you for providing a really helpful experience for me.

John Robinson

Most of the visits to the CMH Emergency Department over the 50 years of my life have been for injuries and stitches. However, in my most recent visit, I walked in with some signs and symptoms of a heart attack. The staff on duty paid attention to detail, gave immediate response and the professional Patient Centered reactions likely save my life.

Within a very short time (less than an hour), Dr. Jastremski and his team had me diagnosed and transported to Crouse Hospital where I received a stent four hours later. I was discharged in a few days and was ready to return to work across the road at Colgate University – less than five days after I entered your doors in very bad shape.

Please express my profound thanks to everyone that helped me and my family through that very scary and possibly far more traumatic moment in my life. Your folks put the Com in Com-munity and Com-passion.

I hope I never need you services for anything more than stitches again, but I have a renewed appreciation for the fact that we are so lucky to have such a great healthcare facility in our community. Thank you and all of your employees, and God bless you all and all who enter your doors.

Mary Milcetic

From July 27 through August 10, I was a patient in the Swing Bed program at your hospital. The quality of care that I received during this time was incredible. The nurses made me as comfortable as possible and assisted me with any and all of my needs. I would expect this at most hospitals, but your nursing staff (just to mention some names: Nicole, Kathy, Star, plus the others whose names I can’t remember) went above and beyond typical nursing care. I was treated with dignity and respect, and a genuine caring for my emotional and physical needs. Encouragement, empathy for my situation, humor and hugs were part of the everyday equation that helped me deal with my condition. Your group of nurses was exceptional!!

I also wanted to commend the Physical Therapy staff as they demonstrated kindness, encouragement, and gentle pushes to help me get stronger in my quest for better mobility.

Dr. Jeffers and Dr. McDonald visited me, listened to my concerns, and ensured that my medical needs were a priority. I have to add that Dr. Jeffers was my primary physician and I consider her to be an outstanding doctor who is able to balance the many needs of a patient with solid medical advice.

I was also impressed with Polly Barhite (Swing Bed Coordinator) who worked so meticulously behind the scenes. She insured that my transition into the Swing Bed Program and then my transition to home status were flawless. If I had a concern, she researched it, and the problem was solved. Her organizational skills, as well as her interpersonal skills were certainly a benefit to me.

Overall I must say that I was very fortunate to have been placed in the Swing Bed Program. On behalf of the people who cared for me, I want to extend my deepest appreciation.

Visitor Policy Post Pandemic

Under NYS guidelines outlined by Gov. Cuomo, visitors will be allowed to return to Community Memorial Hospital under strict protocols outlined by the Hospital to protect all that enter our building and our Health Centers.

As a result, it is necessary for our Hospital and Health Centers to institute precautionary measures to ensure that our institutions are safe for our patients, their families, and friends, as well as our healthcare workers.  We have updated our visitor policy to reflect these precautionary measures. These may change at any time due to Covid-19 outbreaks.