Michigan Doctor’s Visit Inspires Photo Contest

January 29, 2015



If the walls could talk at Mercy Hospital Cassville, Dr. Paul Fauteck’s ears would never stop ringing. The Lawrence, Michigan psychologist’s recent, picture perfect experience as a patient left quite an impression.

“The last time I visited Cassville was in 1944, when I was 9 years old,” said Dr. Fauteck, now 79. “I was amazed by the scenery and how friendly the people were. So when my wife and I decided to drive from Michigan to Texas for a conference, I insisted we return by way of Cassville.”

Dr. Fauteck is accustomed to feeling under the weather due to emphysema, but something just didn’t seem right midway through his trip. “I became lethargic at the conference, but I attributed it to my age. I didn’t realize I was coming down with pneumonia while we were out sight-seeing along Roaring River. My wife finally said she was taking me to the hospital.”

From that point, Dr. Fauteck only remembers getting a CAT scan and talking with his care providers at Mercy Hospital Cassville. “For some time I was glassy-eyed and unresponsive,” he said. “Several of the co-workers acknowledged that my survival had been very tenuous. I was bloody close to kicking the bucket, and I think if I’d been in Chicago or Michigan, I wouldn’t be alive, because it would have taken longer to get admitted.”

He says the personal attention he received was like no other. “Don’t get me wrong, we have very fine facilities where I live, but the one-on-one attention I received in Cassville was as good as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around.”

After a five-day stay with Mercy, Dr. Fauteck and his wife extended their vacation to take in a few more Ozarks sights before returning to Michigan. Soon after, he penned a heartfelt letter to Mercy Hospital Cassville’s president, Doug Stroemel, thanking him and Mercy for his experience. Tucked inside the envelope was a $500 check.

“Dr. Fauteck recalled the walls of the hospital being a bit bare and cold, unlike everything else he had experienced inside the building,” Stroemel said. “He suggested we buy something to make it a bit warmer, so we decided to hold a photography contest in which co-workers could submit their own original images to fill the walls.”

In an effort to incorporate each season, the contest spanned several months with dozens of entries. “We wanted to capture the best scenery of the region, something Dr. Fauteck truly appreciated,” Stroemel said. The final selections, which fit the theme Ozarks Beauty, were enlarged and printed; the roving farm lands and babbling brooks are now viewable in the halls of the hospital.

“I’d like people to know what a gem Cassville has in Mercy – a real gem,” added Dr. Fauteck, who was proud to hear about the project. “I owe my life to Mercy – no exaggerating! I will be 80 in a few weeks, and I just might be back in the region later this year. However, I hope to visit as a tourist and not be wheeled in!”

“I’m still so touched by Dr. Fauteck’s kind words about our hospital and the wonderful care he received,” Stroemel said. “We’re so very proud to know we made a difference in his life, and he has also made our lives a lot brighter.”

Photos provided by Becky Collins, Connie Craig, Janet Haddock, Kristen Johnson, Lisa Mitchell, George Roden, Pam Rupp, Marilyn Schellen and Sonya Williams