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'Rock Star' at Jennie Edmundson: Physical Therapist Was Patient's 'Guardian Angel'

From the Heart
Published: July 29, 2019

 

Bobbi Gill calls Mary-Ellen Bartels, MPT, CLT-LANA, her “guardian angel,” and for good reason.

Bobbi has been a physical therapy patient at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital for four years as she’s battled balance issues, a torn rotator cuff, back problems, lymphedema and other health challenges.

Bartels, a physical therapist, has been by her side much of the way.

 

“She is the total package”

Bobbi has been so impressed with physical therapy staff members that she left a glowing recommendation on Facebook. Bartels, she wrote, “is a rock star!”

“She is the total package,” Bobbi said. “She’s caring, she’s compassionate, she’s friendly, she’s professional, she’s intelligent, she’s efficient.”

She added: “She puts me at ease. She has a very calming, soothing voice. She’s been working with me for so long that she knows my personality.”

The two talk about everything during therapy sessions: their kids, pets and “life in general,” Bobbi said. “When I go for physical therapy, it’s like going to see a friend.”

 

Bobbi Gill

Inspiring each other

Their relationship makes sometimes difficult therapy more bearable.

Bobbi’s shoulder issues are especially challenging.

“I would tell her, ‘I’m in pain, but we’ve got to make that arm move,’” Bobbi said. “She would be gentle, but she would push it as far as I could take it.”

A cancer survivor, Bobbi is also grateful that Bartels urged her to talk to her doctor about swelling in her feet and legs. That turned out to be lymphedema and meant more time with Bartels – a certified lymphedema therapist.

“Bobbi is a joy to work with,” Bartels said. “She’s very hardworking and always keeps trying. She’s had some rough times with different diagnoses. She could get frustrated and give up, but she hasn’t. She just kept going. She’s inspiring to me.”

 

People person makes a difference

Bartels has been a physical therapist at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital for over 23 years.

What’s kept her there so long?

“The people, definitely,” she said.

She loves the bonds she’s able to make with patients, but she’s also proud of the team around her.

“The people I work with are wonderful,” she said. “I like the whole team approach we have.”

And while Bartels said she’s humbled to receive so much praise, Bobbi said she deserves every bit of it. 

“When you say Methodist is The Meaning of Care, she epitomizes that,” Bobbi said. “She is the picture of The Meaning of Care.”

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Patrick Smith

About the Author:

Patrick Smith, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, has over a decade of experience writing and editing for newspapers and other publications. He enjoys meeting new people and telling stories that highlight Methodist's mission to deliver The Meaning of Care.

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