Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital presented the 2014 Pauline C. Christie award to hospital volunteer Ruthann Haigh at a luncheon for volunteers this week. The annual award was started 26 years ago by the Women's Board in honor of Pauline C. Christie, a past president of the Women's Board who began her work with the hospital in the 1950s. The Pauline C. Christie awards stand as a symbol of community members coming together to give back to their local hospital.
"We are honored to recognize Mrs. Haigh for her two decades of service to our hospital and patients," said Thomas J. McAfee, president of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. "Mrs. Haigh is a wonderful example of the many volunteers who give their time and their talents to benefit our patients."
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Haigh, of Lake Forest, has volunteered a total of 3,184 hours at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital since starting as a volunteer in 1993. She serves predominantly in the surgery waiting room, where she provides updates to families waiting through a loved one's surgery. After surgery is complete, she connects families with the surgeon and provides updates to the family during the patient's initial recovery process. She also provides assistance to families while they wait, such as guiding them to refreshments or calling for chaplain services.
In addition to her work in the surgery waiting room, Haigh participates in the hospital's What's the Buzz information meetings to gain first-hand information from physicians and nursing staff to serve as an ambassador to the community. Haigh began volunteering at hospitals when she was in high school, taking the elevated train from her home in Evanston to a Chicago hospital. She was also the very first volunteer at Glenbrook Hospital in the early 1970s.
"Volunteering at hospitals has always been an important part of my life," Haigh said. "It brings me great fulfillment to help the families of our patients during a very anxious time while they wait through surgery."