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Medical City McKinney received an “A”  Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021. This national distinction recognizes Medical City McKinney’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital.

“We understand that what matters most to our patients is safe, compassionate and, high-quality care. That’s why our colleagues are dedicated to exceeding our patients’ expectations by delivering on that promise in every action, every patient, every time,” says Ernest C. Lynch, III, FACHE, Medical City McKinney CEO.

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over thirty national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

“An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a tremendous achievement, of which this community should be extremely proud,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “I thank the leadership and workforce of Medical City McKinney for its commitment to prioritizing patients and their safety, especially during these trying times.”

To see Medical City McKinney’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit



Medical City McKinney is a 257-bed, acute care hospital located in McKinney, Texas. With a medical team of more than 1,100 physicians, Medical City McKinney offers comprehensive services including a Level III Trauma Center, cardiovascular, neurological services, general and robotic surgery, orthopedics, women’s services, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), inpatient rehabilitation unit and behavioral health services. “A” rated for safety by the Leapfrog Group, Medical City McKinney is a Primary Stroke Center and has an accredited stroke rehabilitation center.

Medical City McKinney is part of Medical City Healthcare.

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Medical City McKinney is a 5-star recipient in the 2021 Women’s Care Awards by Healthgrades, a leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems.

This is the fourth year Medical City McKinney has received the 5-star award for C-Section Delivery and the seventh year the hospital was awarded the 5-star award for vaginal delivery. This 5-star rating indicates that Medical City McKinney’s clinical outcomes are statistically significantly better than expected and places Medical City McKinney among the national leaders in labor and delivery.

“This national recognition speaks to our commitment to high-quality patient care and our promise to our patients – to provide excellence always, every action, every patient, every time,” says Ernest C. Lynch, III, FACHE, Medical City McKinney CEO. “These awards reinforce why Medical City McKinney is the destination of choice for expectant mothers in McKinney and northern Collin County.”

“Women can feel confident selecting a hospital recognized with a 5-star rating for providing exceptional women’s care. We commend the organizations that receive this achievement for their ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care for their patients,” says Brad Bowman, MD, chief medical officer, Healthgrades.

Medical City McKinney is one of eight Medical City Healthcare hospitals honored for outstanding women’s services in the 2021 Women’s Care Awards, including Medical City Alliance, Medical City Arlington, Medical City Dallas, Medical City Las Colinas, Medical City Lewisville, Medical City Plano and Medical City Weatherford.

View Healthgrades hospital quality and methodologies.

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Medical City McKinney achieved Magnet recognition as a reflection of its nursing professionalism, teamwork and superiority in patient care. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence.

With this credential, Medical City McKinney joins the global community of Magnet-recognized organizations. Just 475 U.S. Healthcare organizations out of more than 6,300 U.S. hospitals have achieved Magnet recognition. Eight Medical City Healthcare hospitals have earned elite Magnet recognition status.

“Magnet recognition provides our community with tangible evidence of our nurses’ dedication to excellence always in every action, every patient, every time,” says Cassidi Roberts, Medical City McKinney CNO. “Achieving Magnet status also recognizes our culture of compassion, which is at the heart of our mission to the care and improvement of human life.”

Research demonstrates that Magnet recognition provides specific benefits to healthcare organizations and their communities, such as:

  • Higher patient satisfaction with nurse communication, availability of help and receipt of discharge information
  • Better patient outcomes and improved safety and quality
  • Higher job satisfaction among nurses

Magnet recognition is the gold standard for nursing excellence and is a factor when the public evaluates healthcare organizations. U.S. News & World Report’s annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality patient care.

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Couple shares memorable birth experience at Medical City McKinney for Pride Month

Months of planning went into the dream delivery for Josh Neal and Robert Sleeper’s twins. Together for more than 15 years, the married same-sex couple welcomed healthy biological boy/girl twins via surrogate at Medical City McKinney on March 17. In addition to the babies having a genetic link through the surrogate, each dad contributed DNA to one of the two embryos, so each is a biological father of a baby. They are sharing their pride in becoming parents to raise awareness of the journey of same-sex parenthood during Pride Month.

These fathers had a vision and a plan for their childbirth experience. Every detail, ranging from which dad would be in the delivery room to which dad would be in the warming room to solidifying plans for the couple to room-in with their newborns was made in advance.

Sarah Thetford, RN, labor and delivery nurse, worked closely with the couple to provide a virtual tour of the labor and delivery suites, newborn nursery and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), due to COVID-19 restrictions for hospital visitors. She also worked with colleagues to ensure the labor and delivery team was familiar with the couple’s vision and birth plan.

“With Sarah’s help we knew the decisions we had to make and it gave us time to think and plan,” says Neal. “We didn’t feel like we were missing anything.”

 Important for the fathers was the opportunity to bond with their newborn babies immediately after birth. Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged for all new parents to promote bonding, reduce the baby’s stress levels and help normalize their heart rate, blood sugar and body temperature.

Bear and Elle, born one minute apart and weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces each, were born about a month early, at 36 weeks gestation. Bear’s breathing was irregular and he immediately went to the NICU to be placed on a CPAP to help regulate his breathing. Medical City McKinney offers a Level II NICU, capable for caring for small or sick babies.

“The nurses in the NICU were so accommodating. They brought extra chairs into the NICU so that we could do skin-to-skin contact with Bear and Elle, together as a family,” Sleeper says.

Staying in a private labor and delivery suite near the NICU, Neal and Sleeper were able to have their newborns by their side. The nursery nurses helped the new dads with feeding and burping techniques, diapering, bathing and skin care for newborns. Less than 24 hours later, Bear’s breathing stabilized and he was released from the NICU.

“Just because they are two dads doesn’t mean they don’t have questions and worries,” Thetford says. “We wanted them to feel like they had the knowledge they needed so that they could go home and enjoy these two babies together.”

“It was like newborn bootcamp over 48 hours. We set our alarms and we were up every three hours for feedings,” Sleeper says. “The nurses helped us create habits and best practices that we still carry with us today.”

Medical City McKinney is dedicated to healthier tomorrows and is proud to foster a culture of inclusion, compassion and respect for all. Every birth experience can be customized to the unique needs of every family. The nursing team was focused on calming these new dads’ nerves and helping them become comfortable with their new roles as parents to twins.

“The team at Medical City McKinney made this experience so seamless,” Neal said. “We were treated just as well as the children.”

“We really got to know the nurses, and I am not going to lie, saying goodbye was emotional,” Sleeper says. “We left with big smiles. Our kids were brought into this world with love and joy and that’s thanks to the staff at Medical City McKinney.”

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Last fall, Galen Johnson woke up short of breath, thinking he was having a heart attack. A trip to Medical City McKinney’s emergency department revealed something completely different – a mass on his left breast.

He was referred to Solis Mammography for a mammogram and biopsy, which confirmed that Johnson had invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), the most common form of breast cancer.

“I could feel the mass on my left side. It was large enough to put pressure on my lung and cause me to be short of breath,” says Johnson, a 59-year-old warehouse manager and hobby sports and nature photographer. “I thought breast cancer was just a woman’s thing. As guys, we don’t think about breast cancer. But I found out firsthand that it happens to men too.”

With IDC, cancer cells originate in the milk ducts, spreads to other parts of the breast tissue and can eventually spread to other parts of the body. The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men each year.

Johnson is sharing his story to bring awareness to men’s breast cancer for Men’s Health Month, an annual observance aimed at raising awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease.

Following the mammogram, Johnson was connected with Brandy Meierhofer, BSN, RN, Medical City McKinney’s Sarah Cannon breast cancer navigator. As a cancer navigator, Meierhofer supports patients throughout their cancer journey from diagnosis to recovery.

Meierhofer connected Johnson to critical resources, including surgeons and oncologists, and also to nonprofit organizations that focus on supporting breast cancer patients in a variety of other ways.

“I am here to walk alongside Galen in his journey, providing education, information and smoothing out any barriers to his care,” says Meierhofer. “We’ve come an incredible distance in breast cancer treatment in recent years. Today, treatment is specific to each patient, often allowing for successful outcomes.”

As one of nine children in his family, Johnson has watched cancer impact the lives of four of his siblings, taking the lives of two. His father and uncle also were treated for prostate and colon cancer.

“I’ve been checking myself for prostate cancer since I was 40, but never considered checking myself for breast cancer, even though two of my sisters had breast cancer,” Johnson said.

With encouragement from Meierhofer and his Medical City McKinney surgeon, Umar Butt, MD, Johnson underwent genetic testing, which revealed he has a gene that additionally puts him at a higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer.

“Based on genetic testing and his family history, we removed the cancer and performed a mastectomy and lymph node removal on his left breast," Dr. Butt says. "We also did a preemptive mastectomy on the right side as men with breast cancer have 20 to 30 times the risk of developing breast cancer on the opposite side, much greater than the increase in risk for women with breast cancer. "

Just weeks after his double mastectomy, Johnson started a five-month, bi-weekly chemotherapy treatment plan. He is grateful that his cancer navigator Brandy, who he calls his “angel,” checks in with him often for updates.

He is also talking to his adult son and encouraging him to undergo genetic testing and develop a plan of action with his primary care doctor for early screenings.

“I’ve been a stubborn male all of my life, but through this, I’ve learned I need to stop being stubborn,” Johnson says. “If I had followed up on this a year ago, when I first found the lump, I might not have to go through chemotherapy. I’ve learned, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

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Jeremy McDonald’s dreams of winning gold during the spring Special Olympics were dashed when he took a tumble running the 100-meters. But he found another winning team in the emergency room at Medical City McKinney.

The 19-year old Special Olympics athlete broke multiple bones in his arm during the fall and had to be brought via ambulance to Medical City McKinney’s emergency room. The injury required his nurse, Brenda Cannedy, RN, to immediately prep McDonald for X-rays and emergency surgery by cutting off his beloved Special Olympics t-shirt.

“Jeremy was proud to be participating in the games and he told me how he was a fast runner, but he was sad that his Special Olympics shirt was ruined because I had to cut it off,” Cannedy says.

Wanting to cheer him up, Cannedy started placing calls to McKinney high schools looking for a new McKinney Mavericks shirt. The McKinney Mavericks is the McKinney ISD Special Olympic team. A local police officer stationed in the ER overheard the request and placed calls to local high school resource officers.

The break in McDonald’s arm required immediate surgery. Medical City McKinney orthopedic trauma surgeon Mark Hubert, MD, surgically reset the broken bones in his forearm.

“While it was a clean break, we had to place plates and screws in to hold the bones in normal alignment so that he will heal properly,” says Dr. Hubert. “Jeremy is a very upbeat young man and had a great attitude despite his injury.”

In the meantime, Cannedy and McKinney Police Department officers worked together to locate a replacement McKinney Mavericks shirt, along with a McKinney Police department t-shirt and workout towel. Cannedy and McKinney Police School Resource Officer Mo Caudell delivered the shirts to Jeremy prior to his discharge the following day.

“At Medical City McKinney, we truly do care like family for our patients and each other,” Cannedy says. “I stopped by to check on him, and he was grinning ear to ear. He was telling everyone that would listen about his visit and his gifts. Finding a replacement t-shirt provided some additional healing medicine and brought us all joy.”

“Everyone was wonderful and took such great care of Jeremy. He connected with his nurses and physicians, and made friends with everyone during his hospital stay,” says Karen McDonald, Jeremy’s mom. “Jeremy loves all the new shirts. He is so excited that he wants to wear one of them every day.”

Just weeks after the fall, McDonald wears a brace on his arm and continues to heal. He graduated from McKinney High School in late May, and is looking forward to a summer of playing video games and hanging out with his family.

“It was a blessing to receive such great care from everyone at Medical City McKinney,” McDonald says. “Everyone was wonderful. They took great care of Jeremy.”

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Area rugs, personal walkers or scooters, poor lighting, medication and pets are the primary cause of falls in the home. According to the CDC, falls send more than 300,000 patients a year to the hospital with hip fractures, the majority occurring in patients 65 years or older.

With evidence-based care practices in place for treatment of hip fracture, The Joint Commission has awarded Medical City McKinney with the disease-specific hip fracture certification for the second time. Medical City McKinney achieved this initial certification in 2018.

“Achieving and maintaining this certification means that the entire care team across multiple departments follow best practice protocols for treating hip fractures, resulting in exceptional care and outcomes,” says Ernest C. Lynch, III, FACHE, CEO of Medical City McKinney. “This recertification is another reason why Medical City McKinney is the destination of choice for hip fracture surgery in the greater McKinney area.”

As a Level III Trauma Center, Medical City McKinney’s trauma team focuses on getting patients with a hip fracture surgical treatment within 24 hours of their fall. The hospital treats more than a dozen patients every month for hip fractures caused from a fall.

“Certification in hip fracture means our data is continually reviewed to ensure high rates of success in treating hip fractures,” says Mark Hubert, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeon. “Our goal is to get a patient mobile in order to begin crucial physical therapy with the goal of restoring mobility as soon as possible.” 

With more than 1 in 4 older adults reporting a fall each year, it’s important to assess the environment for hazards. The CDC recommends several tactics to reduce the risk of a potentially traumatic fall:

  • Review medications with a physician or pharmacist. Some medicines cause dizziness or sleepiness, which can increase the risk of falls.
  • Stay active and do exercises to improve leg strength and balance.
  • Remove trip hazards in the home such as throw rugs.
  • Make sure the home is properly light.
  • Install handrails on staircases and grab bars in bathrooms.

“Also, keep an eye on your small pets. Tripping over a small dog or cat is one of the most common causes of a fall, resulting in a hip fracture,” Dr. Hubert says.

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As a veteran Allen firefighter and paramedic, Jason Denton knew the signs of a stroke. He just never expected to experience those symptoms himself. He, along with his physicians, are bringing attention to the warning signs and lifesaving treatment for National Stroke Awareness Month.

In early March, after helping with a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Allen, Denton put a call into his brother as he was leaving. During that conversation, his brother immediately noticed Denton didn’t sound normal. His brother called Denton’s wife, Jennifer, who encouraged him to turn around and seek help.

“From my truck, I got the attention of a co-worker who helped me get back into the vaccine clinic. It was obvious. I was having a stroke,” Denton says. “I had facial droop and I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t get the words out.”

 Allen firefighters at the COVID-19 clinic called an ambulance and brought Denton to Medical City McKinney, a Primary Stroke Center. Stroke symptoms can be identified by the acronym FAST:

  • F – Facial drooping
  • A – Arm weakness
  • S – Slurred speech
  • T - Time

“When I arrived at the hospital, everyone on the stroke team was at the door. I went straight for the CT scan. After the CT, they immediately administered tPA,” Denton says.

TPA is a clot-busting medication that can be a first-line and lifesaving treatment for stroke. It works to break down the clot that caused the stroke and restore blood flow to the brain.

“TPA is very time-sensitive. We need to administer the medication within 3 to 4 and a half hours of the onset of symptoms,” says Mike O’Neal, MD, Medical City McKinney emergency medicine physician. “With Mr. Denton, we were able to administer tPA within 15 minutes of arrival, which increases his chances of fully recovering any lost function.”

The “Code Stroke” team at Medical City McKinney administered the lifesaving tPA to Denton, and shortly after receiving the medication, he was transferred to Medical City Plano for surgical treatment of the stroke.

“Jason had a stroke affecting his speech and right arm. Stroke is a life-threatening event and in Jason’s case it was caused by a clot blocking one of the major arteries supplying blood to the dominant brain hemisphere,” says Jazba Soomro, MD, interventional neurologist at Texas Stroke Institute at Medical City Plano.

“With the help of advanced technology, we were able to perform a procedure to remove the clot from Jason’s brain artery quickly and restore blood circulation and maximize his chances for better recovery,” says Dr. Soomro.

Two months after his strokes, Denton is working on his recovery with outpatient therapy and hoping his story may help save other lives.

“Every day, I can feel myself get stronger,” Denton says. “I look forward to going back to my job and enjoying time with my wife and my kids. I have a lot of life ahead of me.”

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New technology helps stabilize joint and realign toe, without shaving off protruding bone

Bunions are more than a painful bump on the side of your foot. They are a deformity caused by an unstable joint located in the mid-foot, just below the big toe. This unstable joint causes the big toe to move toward the smaller toes, making it difficult and painful to walk.

Medical City McKinney podiatrists have a new approach and technology to surgically rotate and realign the metatarsal bone located just above the mid-foot joint. This technique alters the metatarsal bone's position and rotation, removes the unstable mid-foot joint, and fuses the two bones with titanium plates.

“The benefit is that we can adjust the foot so that everything is back in its natural state. We no longer have to shave off the protruding bone. Instead, this procedure brings everything back into natural alignment,” says Charles Marder, DPM, a podiatrist on staff at Medical City McKinney.

The technique also improves recovery time for patients. Following surgery, patients spend about two weeks in a boot. Previously, patients having bunion surgery would typically spend six to eight weeks in a cast. 

 “This new approach has improved bunion surgery and patient outcomes,” says Dr. Marder. “I’m excited about this new technology and technique, as the positive results are reproducible every time.”

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Medical City McKinney announced Elizabeth Kim, MD, Deb Miller, RN, and Sharon Weter, as the recipients of the Frist Humanitarian Award, the hospital’s highest employee and volunteer award.

The Frist Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize a physician, employee and volunteer at each HCA Healthcare-affiliated facility who demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their community.  The Frist Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the humanitarian spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA Healthcare, the parent company of Medical City Healthcare.

Elizabeth Kim, MD, is a trauma surgeon that organizes medical mission trips to Haiti, and during her most recent trip, she and her team saw 96 patients and staffed 40 surgeries. The impact of her trips to Haiti has led Dr. Kim to establish an international medical rotation for medical residents to assist with medical missions.

Deb Miller, RN, is recognized for developing innovative ways to teach others through hands-on training courses, mentoring a high school robotics team, and volunteering at a local nursing home and other charities. She has won two innovators awards at the hospital and division level for her innovative teaching programs and created fun, customized hands-on training puzzles for nurses to participate in during Nurses Week.  

Sharon Weter is a member of the Volunteer Auxiliary and averages more than 400 volunteer hours a year. Since joining the Volunteer Auxiliary five years ago, Weter has served in several roles throughout the hospital, including accounts payable clerk and assisting in the gift shop. She also helps out at Community Health Clinic of McKinney, where she contributed 760 volunteer hours last year.

Medical City McKinney is a 260-bed, acute care hospital that offers comprehensive services including a Level III trauma center, cardiovascular, neurological services, general surgery, orthopedics, women’s services, a neonatal intensive care unit and behavioral health services. Medical City McKinney is a primary stroke center, a stroke rehabilitation center and the Joint Commission accredited total hip and total knee replacement center. Medical City ER Stonebridge, located at Custer and Hwy 380, is Medical City McKinney’s off-campus emergency room. Medical City McKinney is part of Medical City Healthcare. For more information: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.