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  • Patient and Parents Discover First-Class Care in Alma


Samantha Denardo

Samantha Denardo

Soccer Star and Emergency Surgery Patient

Burt, Michigan

“Of all the times I’ve been in a hospital, this was definitely the best. I felt safe there.”

Patient and Parents Discover First-Class Care in Alma

Samantha Denardo will never forget the final game of her freshman year at Chesaning High School. Fifteen-year-old Samantha and her teammates were in Ithaca for a soccer match. “They were barely seven minutes into the game when the accident happened,” said Samantha’s mother, Jennifer Whiting. “Samantha started to plant her foot to block a ball and someone fell into her. I’ve seen her in many pileups and thought she would just hop up.” This time was different. 

“When I realized she was seriously injured, I had to make a quick decision,” Jennifer said. “Do I take her to Saginaw to the hospitals I know, or do we go to the closest hospital, one I know nothing about? As a parent, I wanted to get help fast. We went to Alma.”

Jennifer soon realized she had made the right decision by choosing MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot for her daughter’s care. 

“I didn’t know what I was walking into, and I was unsure of what to expect from a smaller-town hospital, but they were very quick and had Sam ready for surgery in less than two hours,” Jennifer said. “There was no wait time -- every minute was spent checking, diagnosing and prepping her. I’m not used to that kind of service.”

Samantha had sustained multiple fractures in her lower left leg. Orthopaedic Surgeon Brad Binsfeld, D.O., repaired the damage with a plate and several screws. “We really appreciated Dr. Binsfeld’s skill and bedside manner,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer and her husband, Mike, were impressed by the staff at the Medical Center. “Everyone there – from the surgeon who set her leg to the ladies in the cafeteria – was very personable. You can tell they like their jobs and are dedicated to helping patients,” she said. “The nurses were very attentive and managed Sam’s pain well. Little things made a difference, too, like being able to share meals with her in her room. The environment was so nice; it helped keep Sam in a good frame of mind.”

Samantha agreed. “Everyone there is so helpful,” she said. “No matter what I asked for, they would help me out. I liked that it was a smaller hospital because I got to know my nurses and they knew me. That really helped during my stay.” Samantha has gone through several nasal surgeries and more than one procedure for an earlier sports injury. “Of all the times I’ve been in a hospital, this was definitely the best. I felt safe there.”  

Jennifer said people went above and beyond her expectations. “One of the hospital staff members gave me her phone number and said ‘Call me anytime – I just live down the street.’ Even in the community -- from the people at the local pharmacy to the MMR driver -- everyone was kind and personable. The Alma girls’ soccer team even sent a card, and six of the girls came to visit Sam.” 

While Samantha had to spend a couple of weeks in a wheelchair, then several weeks in two different types of casts, Jennifer said she’s healing well. She started driver’s training and was talking about the fall soccer training and conditioning schedule just two weeks after the accident. 

“It was an awful situation, but we had a great experience,” Jennifer said. “I wasn’t expecting such a wonderful facility in such a small town. It is like the Hilton of Hospitals. I’m so happy we chose Alma.”



For more information on orthopaedic care, or other first-class specialty services offered at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot, visit