HCA hospitals around the world honor the company’s past by rewarding those that go beyond their job description to care for patients and their families. The annual Frist Humanitarian Awards are named for HCA founder Dr. Thomas Frist Sr.
This year, Cartersville Medical Center recognized Titilola Bitto MD, physician recipient; Ellen Lussier RN, employee recipient; and Shirley Fifer, volunteer recipient.
“Frist Sr. was a cardiologist in Nashville, Tenn. and he started his career in 1935,” said CMC President and CEO Keith Sandlin. “He and his wife, Dorothy, had five children. He always had an interest in hospitals, always participated in quality activities at hospitals, liked to get to know the staff and was really involved.
“Based on the principals of Dr. Frist Sr., the Frist Humanitarian Awards began in 1971, shortly after the company was founded. Dr. Frist was a truly special man. For many years, he interviewed every prospective hospital CEO that was going to be at any HCA hospital and he used a very familiar quote. He said, ‘Once you get a good administrator, he/she begets good people. Good people beget good people.’”
Among the recipients was volunteer award recipient Fifer, originally from Tennessee, who describes herself as a “natural-born volunteer.” Fifer has volunteered at Cartersville Medical Center for nine years serving patients breakfast, taking them coffee, water and magazines or just spending time in conversation. Previously, Fifer had volunteered at the Naval Health Clinic in Cherry Point, N.C. for 25 years.
For Fifer, the award is an honor she regards highly, because of the values it represents and the team of volunteers and professionals she works with on a daily basis.
“It’s awesome. To know who Frist was — it just means the world,” Fifer said. “This is what [Frist] wanted us to carry out. That’s what he did — make everyone feel welcome and make them want to come back. Even if it’s just visiting with people so that they know it’s a friendly hospital.
“People don’t realize the doctors we have here. They go to Kennesaw or Floyd Medical or somewhere else, but all they have to do is come here and they can be treated for anything. And the doctors and the nurses are awesome. I’ve been a patient here three times and I couldn’t ask for better service.”
Cartersville Medical Center provided a brief biography and recognition for each recipient:
“This year’s physician recipient is Dr. Titilola Britto,” stated CMC in a press release. “A hospitalist specializing in internal medicine, Dr. Britto serves as Medical Director of the Hospitalist program at Cartersville Medical Center and is known for her positive attitude, compassion and her genuine love for patients. The special connection she makes with patients, her support and praise for staff and her leadership at Cartersville Medical Center are all reasons why Dr. Britto was nominated and selected for the prestigious Frist Humanitarian Award.
“Dr. Britto and her husband, Joseph, have a very loved and talented seven-year-old son, Ayo.”
“The employee award recognizes a HCA-affiliated employee who goes beyond day-to-day responsibilities in his/her overall service to the community,” the press release stated. “A registered nurse at Cartersville Medical Center for 18 years, Ellen Lussier was named the employee recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award. Lussier completed her student nurse training at Cartersville Medical Center and became a full time employee following graduation from Kennesaw State University in 1995. She has worked as a medical/surgical floor nurse and has also worked in Occupational Medicine and Interventional Radiology. She currently works in the Emergency Department and is a member of the Emergency Nurses Association.
“Over the years, Lussier has been active with the youth services program at Trinity United Methodist Church, Cartersville Twisters gymnastics team, the Cobias swim team and the Cartersville High School Cross Country team. She passionately supports Advocates for Children, Children’s Hunger Fund and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She and her husband, Ed, have been married for 33 years and have two grown children, Andrea and Matt.”
“A volunteer at Cartersville Medical Center for nine years, Shirley Fifer is the volunteer recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award. An avid photographer, Fifer is the go-to person for capturing memories of all hospital and auxiliary events in addition to her usual responsibilities. She is an integral part of planning and executing Camp Monarch, an annual three-day camp for adult cancer patients and survivors,” the CMC press release stated. “Fifer’s first volunteer stint was at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Cherry Point, North Carolina, volunteering as a dental assistant and also in the pharmacy. Later, she became circulation manager for a daily newspaper in North Carolina. After moving to Georgia, she became a dispatcher for the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, where she was eventually promoted to secretary for the Patrol Division and remained until retirement.
“Fifer is an active member of New Covenant Church of Bartow County. She loves to fly small airplanes and enjoys square dancing with the Bartow Bells and Beaus. She and her husband, Bill, have been married for 59 years and have three sons and four grandchildren.”