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Sheehan grateful for Summa's orthopedic excellence

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Promise magazine.

Kiel Pfefferle, M.D.

Helen Sheehan and her husband, Dr. Otfried Niedermaier, a Summa Health cardiologist, have generously supported the Summa Health Cardiovascular Fellowship Program for many years. Following Helen’s successful knee replacement surgery at Summa Health System — Barberton Campus, they made their first gift to the Summa Health Orthopedic Institute to establish a lectureship series and honor Helen’s surgeon, Dr. Kiel Pfefferle

A retired registered nurse, Helen expected to experience post-operative pain following her surgery. Dr. Pfefferle’s skills in cutting-edge pain management — a game changer, said Helen — allowed her to be out of bed within three hours after surgery and back home within 24 hours. Her ability to begin physical therapy and actively move with minimal pain contributed to her swift recovery. 

“It was truly a positive experience from the first step onward,” said Dr. Niedermaier. “The physicians, nurses and everyone at Summa-Barberton worked as a team to make sure Helen had the care she needed.”

“There was such precision of care, such a generous spirit, and we wanted to recognize that,” said Helen. “We live in Shaker Heights. I could have had my surgery 10 minutes down the road instead of driving an hour each way. We had a choice, and we chose Summa Health and Dr. Pfefferle. I would do it all over again.”

For more information about supporting the Summa Health Orthopedic Institute, contact Andra Polasky at 330.375.3873 or


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