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Published on March 20, 2012

KishHealth System Announces Physician Awards

March 20, 2012

Four KishHealth System medical staff members have been recognized as Acclaimed Physicians for 2012. They are Dr. Maria Dana Sutkus, Dr. Catherine Ruetten, and Drs. Jennifer and Douglas Pacaccio.

Dr. Sutkus, an internist and pediatrician in Sandwich, received the award for Outstanding Service to Patients. Dr. Ruetten a family medicine physician in Sycamore, received the award for Promotion of Quality Care. The Pacaccios, podiatrists in Sycamore and Yorkville, received the award for Humanitarian Community Service.

The awards were presented at the health system's fifth annual Physician Recognition Event. Thirty-two physicians from the Kishwaukee and Valley West Community Hospital medical staffs received nominations from their patients and family members, hospital and office employees, the community and medical staff colleagues.

Dana Sutkus, MDOutstanding Service to Patients

Dr. Sutkus of Sandwich Family Practice was nominated by several patients who said she gives her patients undivided attention, "cares about things going on with me," and is "extremely kind, understanding and patient."

Staff members said she is knowledgeable and thorough when examining patients and takes the time to mentor staff, helping them develop clinical and technical skills.

"She is the most caring, sincere, kind doctor I"ve seen," one nominator said. "When you are a patient in her exam room, you and your problems are the most important things to her. She never gives up and will find a solution for anything that is bothering you."

She keeps current with neonatal practice and takes the individual needs of patients and their families into account when creating a plan for their care.

"Her devotion to the Valley West Maternity Suites Department and to its newborns is measured by the healthy babies in our community. She has a passion for her work that is felt in everything she does," a nominator said,

"My father was an obstetrician and he has served as my inspiration throughout my life," Dr. Sutkus said.

She is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and has been on the Valley West medical staff since 1995.

Catherine Ruetten, MDPromotion of Quality Care

Dr. Catherine Ruetten of Kishwaukee Medical Associates, Sycamore, has been a leader on the medical staff serving as chief of staff in 2010, and on several medical staff committees.

Colleagues say she spends countless hours devoted to the continued growth of medical staff members and the level of care they give to their patients.

During her tenure as chief of staff she focused attention on creating a culture of quality within the medical staff, focusing on standards of excellence, fairness and medical staff peer review.

Dr. Ruetten established subcommittees of physician representatives and clinical staff to address quality measures such as reducing mortality, improving relationships with administration and the clinical staff, and improving communication between the doctor offices and the hospital.

A colleague said, "Dr. Ruetten is a role model for other physicians as she continues to participate on the Credentials Committee, Bylaws Committee, and the Quality Committee. As the mother of five, she has a special interest in women"s health and advocates for quality healthcare through all stages of life."

Dr. Ruetten said, "Promoting quality has become my passion. I"m especially proud of what the hospital has achieved and am thankful for the talented and dedicated colleagues who support our goals."

She has been on the Kish Hospital medical staff since 1994, along with her husband, Dr. Timothy Ruetten.

Jennifer and Douglas PacaccioHumanitarian Community Service

The Pacaccios are known for their compassion and desire to serve anyone in need, from the under and uninsured to the desperately impoverished in Africa.

Their nomination included several examples of patients with disabling physical conditions who could not easily afford care. There was a woman with partial foot amputations stemming from severe frostbite. This patient was told by other doctors that amputation below the knee was likely. Dr. Douglas Pacaccio knew he could help her avoid further amputations, and he did. Another patient had a traumatic fall causing brain damage and an ankle deformity. "Money did not get in the way of what was needed for this young woman," a nominator said.

In another example, Dr. Jennifer Pacaccio cared for a gentleman with diabetes who had a deep, infected ulcer. She did multiple surgeries, "never hesitating to treat this patient as she would any other patients who had insurance," her nominator said.

Together they further demonstrated their humanitarian service by traveling to Africa in 2009 and 2010, through "Physicians for Peace," providing surgical care and training. They packed 15 suit cases of supplies and came back with only the clothes on their back, leaving everything else behind. They also held local fundraisers to raise money for "Physicians for Peace" and gave public talks at Kish and Valley West hospitals on their mission trips.

"Our community has two doctors who love what they do, and do it for the right reasons. They want to make a difference in people"s lives. They realize and understand that each and every person who seeks their care deserves the best care, regardless if the care they provide is here or across the globe," a nominator said.

"If you ever go on their mission trip, you will find that you get much more than you could ever give," they said in accepting the award.

The Pacaccios have been on the Kish and Valley West medical staffs since 2007.

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