Veteran says WellStar nurse saved his life
by Geoff Folsom
February 21, 2013 12:48 AM | 5763 views | 7 7 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emil Infusino(MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
Emil Infusino(MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
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All lung cancer patients WellStar diagnoses with its screening program receive a special coin. Infusino carries his with him everywhere he goes.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
All lung cancer patients WellStar diagnoses with its screening program receive a special coin. Infusino carries his with him everywhere he goes.
Staff/Laura Moon
slideshow
“Each one is very special to us,”  registered nurse Vickie Beckler, lung screening program coordinator for Marietta-based WellStar said. “I guess I like to give a little bit of hope to encourage every lung cancer patient. For each life we help save, that person can help spread the word and get awareness out there.”<br>Staff/Laura Moon
“Each one is very special to us,” registered nurse Vickie Beckler, lung screening program coordinator for Marietta-based WellStar said. “I guess I like to give a little bit of hope to encourage every lung cancer patient. For each life we help save, that person can help spread the word and get awareness out there.”
Staff/Laura Moon
slideshow
A Navy veteran said a WellStar Health System nurse was his “guardian angel” in his battle against lung cancer.

Emil Infusino met registered nurse Vickie Beckler, lung screening program coordinator for Marietta-based WellStar, when Beckler came to look at Infusino’s house last year in Paulding County. When Beckler’s real estate agent couldn’t make it, Infusino stepped in and showed Beckler the property himself.

When Beckler noticed the Navy cap that Infusino, 65, was wearing, she asked him if he could help spread the word about a Veteran’s Day lung cancer screening event WellStar was hosting. But Infusino, a smoker for more than 50 years, said even after he passed out fliers to his friends at the American Legion and a local senior center, he wasn’t sure if he should get tested.

“I had one flier left. I said, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” he said. “About three days before the screening, I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’”

When he was tested at WellStar’s facility in Hiram, doctors found a small spot on Infusino’s left lung, which made him the only one of the 40 veterans tested that day to come back with an abnormality. He set up an appointment to check out the spot two days later at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. There, doctors told him he had a spot that might be cancer and would need a biopsy. The biopsy determined that he would need surgery.

On Dec. 3, Infusino underwent surgery, during which the upper part of his left lung was removed, along with its associated lymph gland.

By having the screening, Infusino credits WellStar with saving his life.

“It’s the type of cancer that they would usually not detect until it’s too late,” he said. “That tiny little spot could have killed me.”

A second discovery

Last week, Infusino was back at WellStar for a cardiovascular checkup, when doctors discovered a 100 percent blockage in a crucial artery. He said they were able to insert a stint and clear it out, saving his life for the second time in three months.

Infusino said he will never look at WellStar buildings the same again.

“We take those buildings for granted and those people for granted,” he said. “Because they are definitely angels in disguise.”

Now, Infusino carries a special coin Beckler gave him wherever he goes. The coin reads, “To help you heal and wish you love, may an angel bless you from above.”

Beckler said she gives a coin to all the lung cancer patients WellStar diagnoses with its screening program.

“Each one is very special to us,” she said. “I guess I like to give a little bit of hope to encourage every lung cancer patient. For each life we help save, that person can help spread the word and get awareness out there.”

Ready for the big day

In May, Infusino will do something he said he wouldn’t have been able to do without help from doctors — walk his daughter, Christina, down the aisle for her wedding.

“That’s another thing I just took for granted until I found out I had cancer,” he said. “You don’t appreciate it until it’s there, and all of a sudden you just lost it.”

Infusino, who served in the Navy and the Army, would like to get the word out to more veterans about the screening services WellStar offers.

“If there’s some way we can let them know it’s available to them, even if one person goes and it saves their life, it’s worth it,” he said.
Comments
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WellStar Foundation
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February 21, 2013
Thank you to the generous donors who gave free screenings to those who have served our country. The Beverly Fund donated a significant portion for this good cause.
Thankful13
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February 21, 2013
We are very fortunate to have people like the nurse in this article who recognize the value of early detection and are willing to invest their personal time to help.
WellStar Foundation
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February 21, 2013
Thank you to our generous donors who made free screenings possible for those who have served our country. One of these generous donors was The Beverly Fund. If you want to help make a difference for those in need, go to www.wellstar.org/giving or call 770-956-GIVE. 100% of every dollar raised goes toward the designated project.
Kathi Mansfield
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February 21, 2013
I am so sorry that VFP42 has had such a bad experience in her/his life that trusting becomes an issue. I can promise Ms Beckler did not get paid, she was on a house hunting venture as per the article. Nurses are caring people, their job does not end when they leave their "day job". As a Infusion Center Manager I see everyday how my nurses go above and beyond on and off duty. Ofcourse our employees at Wellstar believe in their organization and will support, but we are not on the streets "flagging" down business, we just care and want the best care for our community
VFP42
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February 21, 2013
Wellstar are angels in disguise? Didn't they get paid? Weren't they just soliciting work, the same as D.A. King's Illegals up at the B.P. station do?

If they did this for free out of the goodness of their hearts, then I will buy that they are angels in disguise.
CSamhain34
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February 21, 2013
So, the message is that people cannot do any good thing if they get paid? I guess none of us who are employed have any right to think that we are doing good in the world, then.

Thank goodness that unemployment is on the rise. Let's pray for more layoffs so that we can all DO GOOD and congratulate ourselves for not making any money.
In the Know
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February 21, 2013
VFP42 - The screenings were free, paid for by the WellStar Foundation. Thanks for your continued support.
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