A heart for volunteering

A heart for volunteering

After moving from Tennessee to Harvest, retiree David Parkinson figured he’d get to know the area by volunteering.

But it took a heart scare for him to realize where he wanted to volunteer – Madison Hospital.

Parkinson was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – a rapid, irregular heartbeat – in November 2018. His Heart Center Madison cardiologist, Gocha Saliashvili, MD, recommended a cardioversion procedure to shock the heart back into the proper rhythm. Parkinson needed a second procedure two months later.

Even though he chose Madison Hospital mainly because of its proximity to his home, Parkinson said he came away from both visits thoroughly impressed with the facility and the professionalism of the staff.

“The employees there – from the ER to the ICU and the medical floors – are just exceptionally good,” Parkinson said. “They’re organized and disciplined, and they follow protocol. As a patient, that really gives you a comfortable feeling.”

His hospital stays made such a positive impression that Parkinson, 72, decided to give back by volunteering. On Friday afternoons, the retired Army Corps of Engineers colonel wheels patients from the ER to the imaging department for diagnostic scans. He also makes sure all medical supplies used on the fifth floor are up to date.

With Parkinson spending so much time at Madison Hospital, his wife, Patricia, decided to volunteer also. She helps run the hospital gift shop on Friday mornings.

While he loves the sense of purpose that he gets from volunteering at Madison Hospital, Parkinson said another benefit came as a pleasant surprise.

“The volunteers get free lunch,” he said, “and the cafeteria has the best hospital food I’ve ever eaten!”