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Greenwich Nurse Reaches Out to Community

GREENWICH, Conn. —Nurses work inside hospitals to save lives everyday. But to improve the overall health of a community, doctor may need to go beyond the sterile hallways. For Greenwich Hospital, that someone is Kathy Carley-Spanier of Rye Brook.

“We provide lectures and health fairs and go into the schools to give interactive seminars on health habits,” Spanier says in the Greenwich Hospital library. She has a busy schedule as director of community health. As director of community health, Spanier has an incredibly busy schedule and many varied responsibilities.

“Two hospitals closed in New York, and we saw an increase in Westchester County patients, so we changed the scope of our community outreach to beyond just Greenwich,” she says. Those hospitals were St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains and New York United Hospital Medical Center in Port Chester. Spanier previously worked as the director of nursing services at St. Agnes.

Spanier fell in love with Greenwich Hospital in 2000 when she gave birth to her son there. She was impressed enough that when St. Agnes closed in 2004, she knew where she wanted to work. “He was born on a day a lot like this,” she says, smiling and looking out the library window.

In her resume of community outreach, which includes teaching CPR to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, there is a note about earning the Healthcare Heroes Award from the American Red Cross for saving an infant's life in 2006. Spanier says she was in the right place at the right time.

“I happened to see a police officer stop in front of me and run into a store. He looked like he needed help,” Spanier says. Inside that store, a mother was delivering her son prematurely. Spanier ran in and provided emergency care and CPR for the infant while waiting for EMS to arrive. They got him to the hospital, and a little more than a week later the newborn was sent home with a clean bill of health. Spanier says she knows he's alive and well today.

She keeps the incident in perspective though, happy to have saved a life but feeling there are others that deserve recognition. “I kind of feel like the EMS are the true heroes because they save lives every day,” Spanier says.

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