The VOICE of UPMC Shadyside The VOICE of UPMC Shadyside Winter 2020–2021

Gratitude makes a difference to senior care

Over the years, Mrs. Lockhart has generously supported the Senior Care Institute, watching and helping it grow.

When George Lockhart was in his early 80s, the well-known, much-liked Pittsburgh lawyer and civic leader had a fall after attending a meeting. Following surgery and a hospital stay, his physician became Fred Rubin, MD, a geriatrician who had only recently founded the Shadyside Hospital Geriatric Assessment Unit, today’s celebrated Senior Care Institute at UPMC Shadyside. (Please see the story on Dr. Fred Rubin starting on page 24.)

Mr. Lockhart’s son, John, and daughter-in-law, Paula, liked Dr. Rubin so much that they too became his patients, even though they were only in their mid-40s at the time.

“That was 30 years ago, Mrs. Lockhart says. “And I have been fortunate enough to have Fred Rubin as my doctor ever since. I’ve watched his son grow up — and now he proudly shows off photos of his grandson. 

“He is just a wonderful doctor. He listens to people. He’s always thinking of the patients. He’ll call you at 7 o’clock at night with your blood test results. If you call him because you have a problem, he always calls back the same day. He’ll call you on Sunday. He’s just so dedicated.”

“I think Dr. Rubin is one of the most quietly compassionate doctors that I’ve ever met,” she says. “I am very gratified to be able to contribute to his hard work and dedication to older patients and the Senior Care Institute.” 
- Paula Lockhart

When she first met him, Mrs. Lockhart was particularly struck by Dr. Rubin’s ability to think like an older person — even though he was only in his mid-30s. “Dr. Rubin told me that when he was at Massachusetts General Hospital, the front door had no disability access, nor did the subway entrance across the street. And from what I gathered, they didn’t do anything about it when he brought it to their attention. But Shadyside listened to him and developed a more elder-friendly hospital.”

Mrs. Lockhart admired what Dr. Rubin was doing and wanted to contribute to it. One of her first gifts was to help start HELP — the Hospital Elder Life Program — in 2002. HELP volunteers work with hospitalized patients over the age of 70 to try to keep them from developing delirium — an unfortunately common occurrence nationwide when an older person is in the hospital. Now nationally and internationally recognized, HELP serves more than 7,000 elderly Shadyside inpatients a year and has cut the delirium rate in half. 

Over the years, Mrs. Lockhart has generously supported the Senior Care Institute, watching and helping it grow from a small office to one of the largest academic and clinical geriatrics programs in the country, offering ongoing, routine, and preventive medical care to adults age 60 and older.

“I think Dr. Rubin is one of the most quietly compassionate doctors that I’ve ever met,” she says. “I am very gratified to be able to contribute to his hard work and dedication to older patients and the Senior Care Institute.”