Family of the late John Keeley, MD

Frightened after being in an automobile accident with her 3-year-old daughter, Betty Williams will never forget the personal attention she received from the late John Keeley, MD, a surgeon in the Emergency Department at Loyola University Health System (Loyola).

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“I was waiting to have glass removed from my forehead, worrying about my daughter, when Dr. Keeley walked into my room holding her. He said, ‘I just wanted to let you know your little girl was fine,’” she recalled. “Then he removed the glass from my forehead himself, instead of calling over a tech to do the job.”

This happened about 30 years ago, but it’s still a comforting thought to Ms. Williams, who has been a service coordinator in the Emergency Department for 31 years and worked under Dr. Keeley. She remembers Dr. Keeley as a very precise and patient man. “He loved the emergency room, he really did,” she said. “He was truly a teacher at heart, happy to explain medical terminology and all the procedures he performed to patients, their families and medical students.”

A recent $2 million gift from the Keeley family, in honor of their father and grandfather, will provide for renova¬tions to the Emergency Department. The department will be renamed the “John L. Keeley, MD Emergency Department.”

“The gift really speaks to the work Dr. Keeley did in the Emergency Department and the impact he had on patient care and the education of students and residents,” said Mark Cichon, DO, director of Emergency Medical Services. “It’s enabling us to move forward on improvements to benefit our emergency patients and staff, creating a living legacy to a man who was highly valued by the department.”

The gift will be used to refurbish and update patient care areas, giving them a more modern look and providing soundproofing so patients have more privacy. “Pleasing aesthetics and a decrease in noise volume have been shown to reduce stress in both patients and staff and reduce the number of medical errors,” Dr. Cichon said.

The gift also will be used to improve the staff work areas by making them more ergonomically functional with new chairs and adjusted counter heights. The Emergency Department waiting room also will be overhauled and moved to a more private area.

Dr. Cichon said the gift is greatly appreciated because the Emergency Department hasn’t undergone a renovation since the late 1980s. “The gift will assist us in creating a new Emergency Department that provides the best experience we can offer to our patients at a time that they are undergoing incredible worry and stress,” he said.

Dr. Keeley, a heart specialist and surgeon who passed away in 1992, was the chair of the Department of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine from 1958 to 1969. He continued to attend weekly Department of Surgery conferences and worked as an Emergency Room physician until 1982, when he was 78 years old.

“Just about all of us grandchildren, at one time or another, spent time in Loyola’s Emergency Room to get stitches or have a broken bone mended,” said Kevin Keeley, one of Dr. Keeley’s grandsons.

“Emergency rooms can be very scary places, but a modern and comfortable environment can help families through their difficult situation.”

“Upgrading the Emergency Department will help improve the delivery of care and increase efficiency and work flow,” he added. “The Keeley family hopes our gift will help provide services to a greater number of people in the community. That would be the most fitting way to honor my grandfather’s lifetime of work and commitment to Loyola.”

For more information about supporting Emergency Services at Loyola University Health System, contact the Office of Development & External Affairs at or (708) 216-3201.

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