Great Doctors and Great Care Influence Lasting Gift
The year was 1971, and Robert Welch was on a cruise that had stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when he fleetingly spotted a beautiful young woman. He knew he had to meet her.
"It wasn't until the next morning when I saw her in St. Thomas that I knew she was on my ship, and from there it was history," Mr. Welch says, speaking of his wife Mary. Since then, the two have logged numerous travel adventures. But life together wasn't always a relaxing respite. They have had their share of medical complications, for which they sought treatment at Morristown Medical.
"We take turns being patients," Mrs. Welch says, making light of their travails. Her turn was in 1994 when she was out of state and hospitalized for a rapid heartbeat called supraventricular tachycardia. Back home, she was referred to Stephen Winters, MD, who performed catheter ablation — a groundbreaking procedure at the time — to cure the abnormal heart rhythm.
"I met Dr. Winters and loved him, and I knew that someday, if I had extra money, I would give to him," says Mrs. Welch, who, along with her husband recently demonstrated her gratitude by creating a $25,000 charitable gift annuity in honor of the Electrophysiology Department.
After the surgery, Mrs. Welch retired as an administrative secretary from New York Life Insurance and started volunteering at Morristown Medical in the gift shop and, later, in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic. Once, while working as a cashier, concerned parents came in clutching a beeper. They talked about their daughter who was undergoing surgery at that very moment with Dr. Winters. Mrs. Welch shared her own success story and assured the couple that all would be fine.
Mr. Welch started volunteering as a courier in 1992 after he underwent open-heart surgery and retired as a banker from Penn Federal Savings Bank. In fact, he still has lunch regularly with the friends he met in his first few days volunteering at the hospital.
Over the years, Mr. Welch has undergone medical procedures to remove tumors from each lung as well as double-bypass surgery. He found the care at Morristown Medical to be excellent. "It was always top-draw," he says, adding that, with all the interventions, he's now like the Bionic Man.
Enjoying a Healthy Life Together
Between the medical blips, the Mendham couple continued to travel. They've enjoyed excursions on small ships on the Intracoastal Waterways of Florida and paddle-boat rides up the Mississippi. The Welches also took three trips to Austria to reunite with members of Mr. Welch's platoon, which was stationed there after World War II.
"We just love to travel," Mrs. Welch says. Now, while both are enjoying good health, they're off to Laguna Beach, Calif. And from there, who knows?