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Foundation event honors 9 superheroes of medicine

“Superheroes of Medicine:” JoAnne Robbins, PhD, Krishna Prasad, MD, John McCartney, MD, Margaret Dunn, MD, Matthew Campbell, MD, Nicholas Von Bergen, MD, Rodney Willoughby, MD. Not Pictured: Kathleen Maginot, MD, Kathy Hernandez, MD.

The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation’s annual Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction was again a success, drawing 400 registered attendees and grossing nearly $125,000. Held last Friday in Madison, the event honored nine “superheroes of medicine,” medical professionals who “battle the enemies of good health with compassion, courage, intelligence, respect, selflessness and humility,” according to Foundation President David Falk, MD.

Honorees were chosen from nominations received from patients and colleagues. Two of the honorees were featured on stage along with the patients who nominated them. Britni McDonald of NBC15 in Madison served as emcee and interviewed the patients to help them tell their story and introduce their superhero doctor.

Rodney Willoughby, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, was recognized for saving the life of his patient, Jeanna Giese, who was within a few hours of certain death when brought to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Due to Dr. Willoughby’s emergency experimental treatment, Giese is now known as the first person to survive rabies without receiving the vaccine. Doctor Willoughby spoke about others who have since survived rabies using variations of that treatment.

Nicholas Von Bergen, MD, a pediatric cardiology and electrophysiology specialist with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and Kathleen Maginot, MD, a UW Health pediatric cardiology and electrophysiology specialist, were recognized for giving their patient her active life back. Katelyn Soldatke described how her heart would race out of control with physical activity, forcing her to give up dance, horse riding and all the things she loved to do. After one unsuccessful surgery, a second, more risky surgery, performed at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison by Drs. Von Bergen and Maginot, was successful. Doctor Von Bergen explained the science behind Katelyn’s condition and how it was treated. He also spoke about how each of us can become a superhero through good works—no superhuman powers required.

Also honored at the event were Matthew Campbell, MD, Holy Family Memorial, Manitowoc; Margaret Dunn, MD, and Kathy Hernandez, MD, of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Milwaukee; John McCartney, MD, of Meriter Pulmonary Medicine Clinic, Madison; Krishna Prasad, MD, of Aurora Wilkinson Medical Clinic-Summit; JoAnne Robbins, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-S, of William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison. (Click here for more information about these superheroes.)

Additionally, seven physicians were acknowledged with honorable mentions in the event program: Juan Albino, MD, Neenah; Orlando Alvarez, MD, West Allis; Bruce Harms, MD, Madison; James Napier, MD, Green Bay; Michael Phillips, MD, Oconomowoc; Robyn Titel, MD, Windsor; and Gary Zaid, MD, Kenosha.

In addition to the evening’s program, the event again featured a silent auction with over 150 items for bid. But this year’s bidding went high-tech, allowing attendees to bid electronically via their smart phone or iPad or through a volunteer. In the words of one attendee electronic bidding was “fast, easy and super fun!”

Proceeds support programs for medical students and residents—the future superheroes of medicine, and also allow the Foundation to fund health education and research projects to improve health and to support innovations that show promise of improving health care.

Mark your calendar today for next year’s event scheduled for Friday, April 24 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. The event will kick off the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Annual Meeting held that weekend.

Back to May 1, 2014 Medigram