When Northwestern Medicine surgeon Anthony F. Altimari, MD, feels stressed, he picks up his guitar and starts strumming. He has encouraged other physician musicians, or “rockin ‘docs,” to do the same at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
Several of those physicians swapped their medical instruments for musical instruments on Friday, May 20, to perform an outdoor concert, intended as a show of thanks to nurses and other support staff for their unwavering dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The nurses and entire staff do a phenomenal job caring for patients, and we want to celebrate them,” Dr. Altimari said. “Music is my relaxation and my peace, and I want to share that.”
Research has shown listening to music can lower heart rate and cortisol levels, release endorphins, reduce burnout and depression, and provide a distraction from stressors.
Dr. Altimari’s band, Vital Signs, includes his daughter Emily Altimari, a communications specialist at Northwestern Medicine, and his son Marc.
They got the crowd dancing with covers of popular hits.
Pulmonologist Timothy J. McGee, DO, joined in on harmonica for a few songs, including “Hard to Handle.” Michael A. Schmidt, MD, Interventional Cardiology, hopped on the drums for a rousing cover of “Sweet Caroline.”
The tempo slowed for a bit for some soothing songs by Marc J. Conte-Russian, DO, Internal Medicine.
ICU nurse Katie Ragona, RN, and Jeffrey Huml, MD, medical director of Critical Care Medicine, joined up for a couple of duets, including some Garth Brooks and Jimmy Buffett favorites. OR Tech Reggie Hunter brought the house down with a finale of “Sweet Home Chicago.”
The Central DuPage Hospital medical staff provided lunch for the noon show and a midnight meal for those working third shift.
Watch a video at twitter.com/NMHC_News.