Where do people turn when faced with the unrelenting pain of chronic pancreatitis?
At University of Minnesota Medical Center, Louise Berry is often the first hopeful voice that new patients encounter. Berry is a care coordinator for the University of Minnesota Health Total Pancreatectomy and Islet Auto-Transplant (TPIAT) Program. Berry explains how her work helps her patients rediscover the joys of everyday life.
Why are you passionate about your work?
I helped to create my role. The patients who come to our program are typically very sick and experiencing chronic pain. I am at the center of helping them find a way forward. It’s a hugely rewarding job. There seems to be no end to what we can do to develop the program and improve patient care.
What is one of your favorite memories from your job?
I remember passing through the clinic and catching a glimpse of a lady I recognized to be the mother of a patient. I went to say, “Hello,” and the person in front of her turned around and hugged me.
I was stunned.
It was her daughter—a patient who had been curled up in pain and very underweight when I first met her. But after a successful TPIAT, the person hugging me was an attractive young lady with a huge vibrant smile. I couldn't believe it was the same person. Now she’s back to her favorite activities—even teaching Zumba classes—and living on her own.
She has what we always wanted for her: her life back.
What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community?
No day is ever the same. The power and passion of an academic and research establishment constantly moves us forward. I worked for a private hospital in the past, but it wasn't the same. The people you encounter here are curious and driven to make continuous improvements.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I moved to the U.S. from England in 1984, so I love staying in touch with my family here and there. My children are all grown and living in different cities pursuing school and careers. My husband is a pilot, so we do a lot of traveling.
I am also a (slow) runner and recently have persuaded various family members to tackle half marathons!
Tell us one surprising or interesting fact about yourself.
I was a qualified midwife in England. You know that PBS show, Call the Midwife? It’s all true! My life was the original Call the Midwife—from the stories to the uniforms. I took part in 50 supervised deliveries before I could take my final exams. The first mother I helped through delivery named her baby after me!