Kids battling cancer in the Cleveland area have a hero on their side -- Dr. Jeffrey Auletta, a pediatric oncologist at University Hospitals.
Auletta, who lives in Strongsville, was given a Hero award Nov. 14 by the Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"Parents of his patients say his expertise goes without question, but what makes Dr. Auletta extraordinary in a city full of amazing medical care is that he truly becomes part of his patients’ lives, not just their treatment," an award summary says.
Some examples: Staying overnight at a child's bedside. Personally walking tests to the lab to get results faster. Taking the time to sit with his patients just to talk. Great hugs.
Dr. Auletta also received the People’s Choice award in the medical category, racking up a record-breaking 1,500-plus votes -- more than anyone has ever gotten in any category.
The Red Cross gives hero awards to people who have "shown extraordinary courage, compassion, character or humanity by saving or improving the lives of others."
The winners were honored at a luncheon at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland.
Categories for recipients are Life Saver, Military or Safety Forces, Medical, Community Volunteer and Innovation.
Here are some excerpts from Auletta's nomination:
• Tirelessly attends to the needs of his patients with professionalism, grace and commitment.
• Dr. Auletta is pivotal in helping local families receive the support they need to deal with this dreaded disease. He collaborates with others around the world so that his patients receive the best care and treatment possible.
• He is there to celebrate his patients' successes and is also there to share in their misery and pain.
• Doctors often give over their personal time to their patients but Dr. Auletta goes above and beyond in thism as well. Patients and parents shared that during treatment, Dr. Auletta not only provided medical facts, but sincere compassion and a hug when needed.
• Outside of the hospital and treatment rooms, he and his family attend events for his patients such as end-of-treatment parties, and events for causes supporting cancer research and awareness. Dr. Auletta is a part of his patients' lives, not just a part of their treatment.