January-February 2014 | AWARDING EXCELLENCE

AWARDING EXCELLENCEAWARDING EXCELLENCEBeebe Healthcare spine surgeons  Ronald Sabbagh, MD, Ronald J. Wisneski, MD and William L. Pfaff, MD



Though it is nestled in the beautifully bucolic town of Lewes, Beebe Healthcare is home to some of the most advanced and sophisticated surgical facilities anywhere, including their multiple-award-winning orthopedic surgery department

Written By: Nick Brandi

Named for the two physician brothers who founded it in 1916, Beebe Healthcare continues to make a national name for itself despite its idyllic setting in beautiful, historic Lewes, Del. In addition to its current array of inpatient, outpatient, emergency and diagnostic services, the 210-licensed-bed, not-for-profit seaside community hospital offers acclaimed specialized service lines in cardiovascular science, oncology and women’s health, among others.
When it comes to their coveted orthopedics department, for example, the accolades seem to pile up like snowflakes in Saskatchewan. In addition to receiving the esteemed Healthgrades Orthopedic Surgery Excellence Award™ for the past seven years and having earned a five-star rating for Overall Orthopedic Services for the same period, Healthgrades also recently declared Beebe to be among America’s “100 Best Hospitals” (out of 4,500 nationwide) and the “Best on Delmarva” when it comes to total knee replacement, total hip replacement, back & neck surgery, joint replacement, spine surgery and overall orthopedic services for the second straight year. Beebe’s surgeons, meanwhile, have garnered Healthgrades’ Orthopedic Surgery Excellence Award for the same two-year period (2012-13) — the only hospital on the Delmarva Peninsula to be able to make that claim.
It seems that Healthgrades can hardly wait to award them again in 2014, as Beebe has already received the 2014 Spine Surgery Excellence Award, which squarely places Beebe in the top 5% in the nation in that category.
As the number of back-surgery patients has increased in the community, Beebe’s three Board Certified spine surgeons — William L. Pfaff, MD; Beebe Healthcare Chief of Surgery Ronald Sabbagh, MD; Ronald J. Wisneski, MD — have been collaborating with the rest of Beebe’s surgical staff to continually improve and expand Beebe’s spine-surgery program.
“We make sure that we have properly conceived surgical interventions based on clinical, best-practice guidelines,” said Dr. Wisneski. “We provide individualized plans for each patient to return to a normal lifestyle.”
In addition to his pre-eminent surgical skill, one of the things Dr. Wisneski brought with him when joined Beebe 
in 2013 is a protocol he calls “APPLE PIE.” APPLE PIE is an easy-to-remember acronym that summarizes the surgical procedure’s important details while encouraging the surgical team to take an essential “time-out” before the procedure 
to review a safety checklist that is conducive to achieving optimal results while eliminating surgical mistakes.
Another example of what’s referred to in the industry as a “Highly Reliable Organization” (HRO) concept at Beebe Healthcare is their new spine-surgery patient-education class. Similar to the longstanding class Beebe offers for joint-replacement patients, this class focuses on the safety of the spine-surgery patient. Orthopedic nurse Melissa Heldreth, RN, ONC, who teaches the single-session class, sees to it that patients know what to expect and what to do to recuperate as quickly as possible.
“We want the patients to be prepared so that they know what to expect and can proactively participate in their recuperation,” Heldreth explained. “For example, we tell patients not to sleep with their pets during the recovery process. Often, pet owners don’t realize that having their pets on the bed with them increases the risk of post-procedural infection.”
In all, Beebe Healthcare boasts 11 experienced orthopedic surgeons on its staff who perform innovative and minimally invasive surgeries while utilizing state-of-the-art techniques and technologies. They also work side-by-side with a team of dedicated support professionals — including 45 specially trained nurses and nurses’ assistants, physical and occupational therapists, licensed social workers and discharge planners — who have not only provided industry-leading care to more than 1,250 orthopedic-surgery patients last year alone but who are also trained to understand the importance of outstanding service and attention to individual patient needs. With 29 patient rooms on the third floor dedicated to orthopedic-surgery patients and a discrete wing reserved for joint-replacement patients, Beebe Healthcare remains in a unique position to provide and ensure optimal recovery care and rehabilitation for all their patients.
Although Beebe Healthcare has worked tirelessly and invested heavily in the creation and maintenance of a nationally ranked orthopedic-surgery department, they also understand that surgery is not always the solution. That’s why spring of 2014 will mark the debut of Beebe HealthyBack at their Georgetown location. 
Launched in partnership with Pure HealthyBack of Orlando, BeebeHealthyBack is a comprehensive, patient-centered treatment program unlike any other for patients suffering from chronic back and neck pain — one that doesn’t involve 
surgery, needles or drugs. The 10-week program is led by a team that includes a physician, physical therapist, exercise physiologist and health coach using clinical protocols and proprietary medical equipment. Through progressive resistance strengthening and the principles of adaptive overload, patients suffering from chronic back and neck pain experience improved muscle strength, disk health, increased connective tissue thickness, endurance, mobility and function over 
the duration of their treatment. And, as musculoskeletal function improves, symptoms diminish and their psychological outlooks improve as well. Beebe is proud to be the only provider in Sussex County to offer the Pure HealthyBack program.

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