Here to help: A plumber who puts patients first

Mark Neumann in front of pipes

Mark Neumann

Patients are Mark Neumann's first priority, but he isn't a doctor, nurse or tech.

Instead, he works as a plumber in the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, doing everything from repairing drains and water lines to installing medical gas systems.

"I believe if I do my job to the best of my abilities I can make someone's stay here that much better or make someone's job that much easier. I decided early on I was here to help everyone."

On most days, he works in the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, where he's gotten to know many patients over the years.

"I chat with them about sports, how they are feeling, or anything else they seem interested in," he says. "A lot of our long-term patients really appreciate having someone to talk to during their stay."

Mark's coworkers started putting "Finding Nemo" stickers on his tool cart as a joke, but collecting decorations from the popular children's movie soon became a hobby for him. Mark says the stickers help break the ice when he goes to patient's room and that his tool cart fits our spirit of creating a fun, healing environment.

Mark's been with UMHS 15 years and knows first-hand what it's like to have a sick kid. Years ago, his son was a patient at Mott.

"It touches you because you know what these families are going through," he says. "Patients don't come to our hospital unless they really need to be here. We try to make their stay as comfortable as possible and to improve their quality of life. Sometimes that means fixing a shower leak and sometimes that means talking to a patient about their day."

"No day working here is ever the same," he says. "I get to meet tons of interesting people. They are what make this job worth it."

Reprinted with permission of UMHS Headlines.

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