Iroquois Memorial Hospital would not be successful without the support of our incredible staff. Some members stand out as Superstars!
Each week, we will be featuring a new Superstar staff member to highlight their outstanding commitment and dedication to IMH and the patients we serve.
This week’s featured employee is John Solomon. John was nominated as Superstar for his unwavering dedication to IMH and resilience in the face of many trials. John grew up in St. Charles, IL but found his way to Iroquois County when he was attending college at KCC. With 10 years of experience under his belt, he began his career at IMH in July of 2000, working as a paramedic for IMH EMS. In addition to working with IMH, John was also an active member of many community organizations and programs including Clifton Fire Department, Aroma Park and Clifton Police Department, and he taught paramedic classes at KCC. Then March of 2017 brought the unexpected.
It was a morning like any other, John was working with a great EMS crew. They were waiting on the call to come through to say a patient was ready to be transferred. John says one minute they were joking around with one another, the next minute he was doubled over with excruciating back pain. Initially, he wanted to go inside and sit for a minute, but his crew, Tom Sandeno and Dan Nowaczyk, both insisted that they should take him to the IMH Emergency Room. He was transferred out and eventually made it to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago for open heart surgery of an aortic aneurysm with dissection (basically, his aorta was tearing away from his heart). Over the next several months, John stayed in the hospital and underwent two additional open heart surgeries. Speaking with the doctors at Northwestern, they told him that two factors truly helped him survive. One was his age and physical fitness, and the second was how quickly he made it to the hospital. They said outside of the hospital, with this condition, he had a 5% chance of survival, once he made it to the hospital his chance of survival jumped to 25%.
John is a strong person and spent the next year recovering. Once he made it out of the hospital, he spent as much time as possible with his family. He said everything that he went through did so much more than affect his physical capabilities, it changed the way he looks at life. He has learned to truly enjoy life and the things that matter the most. John spends as much time with his mother and children as he can, simply enjoying every day with them. He likes spending time outside: working in his yard and going for walks. Family and life itself has become precious to him. He takes time to “enjoy the simple things” and doesn’t let insignificant things bother him. Even though he is unable to do many of the activities that kept him busy before, he is finally getting back to a new normal. With his physical restrictions, he is no longer able to be a paramedic, fireman, or police officer, but he is carrying on with his teaching. He donates his time to teach continuing education classes for area first responders and is hoping to get back to teaching paramedic classes as well.
Just a year after his incident, John applied and was hired for a position as patient care technician in the progressive care unit (PCU) at IMH. This position combines the duties of a unit secretary, CNA, and telemetry technician into one roll – utilizing John’s paramedic background while still following his restrictions. When John decided to come back to work at IMH, he was asked why and his answer was simple, “It’s family. I could easily do what I am doing somewhere else, but it’s the family that brings me back. Everyone knows one another, takes care of each other, and even the CEO takes time to acknowledge and talk to you.” On March 19th, 2017, John Solomon left IMH with a 25% chance of survival, on March 20th, 2018 he punched in for the first time in a year to start his new position. His strength, dedication, and kindness to those around him are only part of what makes him a Superstar.
From all of us at IMH, thank you John for your outstanding service. You are a true Superstar in Healthcare!