When a devastating diagnosis left Gabriella and her family searching for answers, her colleagues and own professional experience helped provide a sense of comfort on a loved one’s end-of-life journey
Our employees are driven by a common purpose to serve Baxter's mission of saving and sustaining lives. Recurrently, the lives of our employees connect with that on a personal level. We'll be sharing these employee stories as part of an ongoing "Mission Moments" series.
Here is Gabriella's story.
For someone experienced in discussing product improvements and new designs with healthcare providers and patients in her market research role at Hillrom, Gabriella understood the impact medical technology has on patients' lives. She has continued to provide insights in her competitive intelligence and corporate strategy position at Baxter, which completed its acquisition of Hillrom in December 2021.
An even deeper connection to her work was forged when that patient at the other end of the product was her parent. Gabriella's father Randy was diagnosed a few years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Her father worked trading in the dried distillers grain market, which eventually became the ethanol industry. In his work and at home, he was an engaging role model who could hold a conversation with anybody.
"I knew immediately what we were faced with when it comes to his deterioration," she said. "My mom has a physical therapy background, so she also had a very realistic picture of how tough it was going to get. I think that helped up front know that we needed to tackle things head on."
Soon after the diagnosis, the muscles in his arms and legs began to weaken. The family took proactive steps to abide by Randy's wish to be cared for at home by purchasing a patient mobility lift and later an airway clearance device, both of which are Hillrom products that are now part of the Baxter portfolio.
Working with her father’s physician, Gabriella connected with her colleagues to secure the equipment, have it delivered to her parents' home and provide support.
“I know they do that for all patients, but it just felt unique knowing you work with all of these people and know some of them as they are helping you through the process," she said. "We were well cared for across the board."
My mom said, ‘it feels like you were in this job for this reason,' to help us figure out how to do this well for your dad before he died. You were here to help us bridge the gaps.
Gabriella, Competitive Intelligence & Corporate Strategy
The customer service experience and the support Gabriella received when she became a full-time remote employee so that she could be close to her family only bolstered her loyalty.
"It goes a long way," she said. "It does reflect very positively on a company when they can meet someone's need in a time of crisis. It was very important for me to spend that time with my dad before he passed away."