UNION — Employees of Union Internal Medicine have pitched in to help a co-worker at a time when she needs it most.
Tracy Bevis is a medical assistant at Union Internal Medicine (the office of Dr. Robert Yannetti, located at 408 North Duncan Bypass). Her co-workers said she brightens the office for them, as well as for patients.
“As a medical assistant, she’s caring and compassionate with the patients here,” said Pam Vaughan. “She knows the patients and gets involved, not only with their medical conditions, but their lives. I think that’s why our patients love her so much. She makes them feel comfortable.”
Andrea Smith added that Bevis’ witty personality makes the workplace more enjoyable.
“She’s a cut-up,” Smith said. “She keeps us going.”
Bevis has been on medical leave, however, since April 29, due to a congenital vascular abnormality. Her subclavian artery (which branches from the aorta to the carotid artery) was out of place. While the subclavian artery is normally above the esophagus, in Bevis’ was underneath the esophagus.
This blocked Bevis’ air supply, causing her to suffer choking and shortness of breath, and she even passed out while working.
Her particular case is rare because the defect is congenital and is normally discovered in children, but Bevis was not affected by it until adulthood.
Reconstructive surgery was required, and according to Bevis’ co-workers, she was extremely anxious from fear of the major risks involved with the surgery, which required her carotid artery to be cut. Other nerve-racking factors about the surgery were that Bevis was to be the first adult to receive the surgery from her particular doctor. At first, she was told the doctor would cut through her chest, similar to an open-heart surgery procedure, but she was relieved to find out the doctor would be able to go through the neck. Bevis was also advised that there was a possibility she could suffer a stroke from the procedure.
Bevis had her surgery on Monday, and her co-workers said they have since spoke with her on the phone.
“She is doing well considering everything she has been through,” Vaughan said.
Bevis is now left with expensive medical bills which put a strain on her and her family, considering her prolonged absence from work (she has been on medical leave for a month, and recovery is expected to take three months). She also lives in a single-income household with her sons — Michael, Trey and Reid.
Bevis co-workers have pitched in and held three fundraisers for her. The first fundraiser was a raffle for a $100 cash prize, which was donated by Upstate Medical Supply. The second fundraiser was a t-shirt sale. Vaughan said the fundraisers have sparked a large response.
“Tracy is a vital part of our practice,” she said. “Patients have been really responsive to our fundraisers. Tracy is well thought of in the community.”
A third — and currently ongoing — fundraiser is a raffle for a Savage Axis 270 Winchester rifle with a Bushnell scope (bolt action with synthetic stock) which was donated by Southern Woodworks, LLC, in Union. Tickets are $1 each, and they are available at Union Internal Medicine and The Union Daily Times. The drawing for the rifle will be held June 30 at Union Internal Medicine, and the winner is not required to be present to receive the prize.
Bevis’ co-workers said they look forward to the day she can return to work.
“We miss her, and we want her to come back healthy and strong again,” Smith said.