Spencer Hospital Physician Named ‘Hospital Hero'

posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 in General

The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) has named Dr. Sonia Sather, hospitalist for Spencer Hospital, as a recipient of the 2021 Hospital Hero awards. As such, Sather will be honored during IHA’s virtual annual meeting in October.

“Dr. Sather been a hero to many, helping patients manage complex medical conditions, while  doing the extra things that exemplify her compassion,” commented hospital president Bill Bumgarner. “She is an extraordinary and skilled physician who takes a personal interest in each of her patients.”

Carole Feldhacker, one of the nurses on the hospitalist care team, noted in her letter of support for Dr. Sather’s nomination that routinely, she observes the kind physician going the extra mile to meet patients’ needs.

“Sometimes it’s the little things,” Feldhacker wrote. “We had a patient who wanted gum but due to having dentures, could chew the kind we had available. She queried him to determine his preferences and went out and got it herself. She simply said she needed to get out in the fresh air for a few minutes anyway.”

She continued, “Other times, it’s the big things. A year or so ago, we had a hospice patient who needed inpatient care. It was difficult for the family to be with their loved one. Dr. Sather personally checked for hospice volunteers, music therapy, clergy and others who could sit with the patient in family's absence. And, she personally spent as much time as she was able to with the patient. Dr. Sather even sang to her and played music from her phone for her!”

Jennifer Dau, Vice President of Patient Care at Spencer Hospital, also wrote a letter supporting Dr. Sather’s nomination. She shared this story in her letter: “There are so many examples of her kindness. Here’s one that comes to mind. We had a long-term skilled patient who had been in and out of our facility and a tertiary facility in Sioux Falls for months. Dr. Sather made sure the family had her personal cell phone number and often contacted the patient’s spouse during off hours. When the patient’s birthday rolled around, she make a raspberry cheesecake, purchased a gift, and coordinated the staff singing Happy Birthday.”

The Iowa Hospital Association initiated the Hospital Heroes Award in 2007 and through 2019, more than 100 healthcare professionals have been recognized. In 2020, IHA honored all hospital workers in recognition of outstanding efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and response to the derecho windstorm in August of 2020.  This year, 11 people were selected from a pool of nominees to be recognized as Hospital Heroes.