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Dome - Going the Distance for Home Deliveries

March 2010

Going the Distance for Home Deliveries

By: Linell Smith
Date: March 2, 2010

Home Care Group workers overcome hazardous conditions to bring vital supplies to patients in the community.


Ron Poiatowski and Steve Halle
Home Care’s Ron Poniatowski and Steve Halle overcame conditions to deliver oxygen to a patient.

As the second storm began, Pharmaquip service specialists Ron “Diesel” Doyle and Steve Halle pulled into a townhouse complex in Cockeysville. It was 8 p.m. Their regular shift was done, but they had a special delivery: a wheelchair for a 6-year-old pediatric patient who had just been discharged from the hospital. As the men carried the wheelchair through the snow, searching for the correct address, they heard the familiar sound of wheels spinning. A man was trying to get his car unstuck from a mound of snow.

When Doyle offered help, he discovered it was the family who was expecting their delivery. The Hopkins employee had already worked 10 hours, but he grabbed a shovel from the back of his truck and started digging furiously. Although Halle was ready to lend a hand, he says that the “little Tasmanian devil” didn’t require it.

With the family unstuck and the wheelchair delivered, Doyle made two more deliveries. Then he took Halle home to Glen Burnie and delivered a nebulizer to a family in Ft. Meade. Although it was 1 a.m., his day wasn’t over. Back at Johns Hopkins Home Care headquarters in Dundalk, a colleague needed a ride home to West Baltimore. Doyle finally headed home around 3:15 a.m.

“We have hard days sometimes—everyone does,” he says. “But I enjoy doing what I do. It’s so rewarding to make these deliveries and see the smiles on the faces of these folks.”

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Home Care Group pediatric nurse Lisa DeAngelo spent the day between snowstorms checking on an infant recently discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit. Because the weather had prevented a trip to the pediatrician, the child’s parents needed reassurance about her well-being. DeAngelo trudged through snow for several blocks to weigh the child and review her care.

Now there was another urgent request. A toddler was coming home after a long stay in the Children’s Center. Her family, who lived on an unplowed side street in West Baltimore, needed supplies and instruction in how to care for her.

It was already dark by the time the patient’s nutritional compound was ready. Home Care Group CEO Dan Smith, who had a four-wheel drive truck, volunteered to transport DeAngelo, the IV pole and other necessary supplies to the child’s home and to wait outside while the nurse showed the family how to use them.

By the time DeAngelo finished her work, she had helped restore the spirit of the household. After nearly a month in the hospital, the little girl was very happy to be home. Safely hooked up to her IV, she nibbled on a cheese sandwich and bounced up and down to a song on the radio as the pediatric nurse watched.

Meanwhile, Smith and his partner dug out several cars that got stuck behind them.

 “I’m just glad we could help out,” he says. “Here was a family who was bringing a very sick child home. That family had been dealing with a lot, but they knew that we’d be there for them.”

DeAngelo returned to her home at midnight, tired but gratified. A few hours later, she was back on the streets in the snow-crippled city, en route to another sick child.

© The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. All rights reserved.