Meet the man who ‘crushes it’ at work.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHANIE FARR

PHIL­A­DEL­PHIA — No­body ever warns the pa­tients at Penn­syl­va­nia Hos­pi­tal about Pete Schi­avo, “The Groin Crusher.”

The first time most peo­ple meet Schi­avo, they’ve just come out of a coro­nary pro­ce­dure and he’s ex­plain­ing that af­ter the catheters are pulled out of their femoral artery, he’s go­ing to ap­ply pres­sure to their groin for 20 to 40 min­utes to aid in clot­ting.


Or it would be, if it was any­one else but Schi­avo, a gre­gar­i­ous, emo­tional, wise­crack­ing guy who is all South Philly, even if he lives over the bridge in Jersey now.

Schi­avo, 52, was so over­whelmed to learn that reader Sandy Ku­ritzky, whose hus­band’s groin he crushed ear­lier this year, nom­i­nated him for an ar­ti­cle that he wept tears of joy sev­eral times dur­ing his in­ter­view.

“I know he doesn’t re­mem­ber me or my hus­band be­cause he has his hands on so many groins,” Ku­ritzky said. “But Pete’s at­ti­tude with his pa­tients and their care­givers is so up­beat and friendly and car­ing and funny that it makes a stress­ful time less stress­ful and dif­fi­cult.”

Pa­tients and their fam­i­lies don’t for­get the way Schi­avo touches them — phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. He’s won awards, had money do­nated in his name, and gets stopped all the time by for­mer pa­tients who want to buy him drinks or din­ner.

“I’m hold­ing some­one’s groin for 20 min­utes, they tend to re­mem­ber me and no­body else,” Schi­avo said. “I tell them: ‘I can prom­ise you two things when I’m done: You’ll never for­get my name or my face.’ And they never do.”

Pa­tients such as Pa­tri­cia Wal­ters, 73, of South Philly, are com­pletely taken with Schi­avo and his sense of hu­mor.

“What you’re do­ing is re­ally crazy!” Wal­ters said to Schi­avo. “You put your whole heart and soul and your whole body into this. You have a gift and tal­ent that’s unique.”

Schi­avo, who held Wal­ters’ hand through­out his visit, gave her a big hug.

“I couldn’t have been more priv­i­leged to hold your groin,” he said.

Schi­avo es­ti­mates he has crushed “well over 10,000 groins, without even a sweat” dur­ing his 15 years at Penn­syl­va­nia Hos­pi­tal. He’s learned that a three-fin­ger method works best be­cause if you use your whole hand “you’ll fa­tigue out in min­utes,” he said.

At 5 feet, 2 inches, Schi­avo some­times needs a step stool to stand above pa­tients as he ap­plies pres­sure for 20 to 40 min­utes.

But Schi­avo is no stranger to pres­sure. He grew up at “Nint and Jack­son” in South Philly and grad­u­ated from West Catholic High be­fore join­ing the Navy. He spent six years in the ser­vice, dur­ing which he ran com­put­ers on anti-sub­ma­rine air­craft, saw con­flict in Libya, and was put in ga­tor-in­fested swamps for sur­vival train­ing.

“My train­ing taught me sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and at­ten­tion to de­tail, which helps me in this job to­day,” Schi­avo said. “If I’m not at­ten­tive to de­tail here, some­body is go­ing to die.”

Af­ter the Navy, Schi­avo be­came a welder at a Gen­eral Elec­tric plant in South­west Philly. When four of his col­leagues died of heart at­tacks at the plant in a short pe­riod of time, GE of­fered to put em­ploy­ees through EMT and para­medic school so they might be able to aid their col­leagues in the fu­ture. Schi­avo raised his hand. Af­ter train­ing, he be­gan moon­light­ing as a crit­i­cal­care tech­ni­cian and vol­un­teered with his lo­cal am­bu­lance com­pany. Af­ter the GE plant closed, Schi­avo was hired at Penn­syl­va­nia Hos­pi­tal — the na­tion’s first hos­pi­tal — where he worked as a crit­i­cal-care tech for three years be­fore his cur­rent po­si­tion opened up.

Within days, he knew it was the per­fect job for him.

“This fit me like a glove, this was like the miss­ing piece of the puz­zle for me,” he said.

Schi­avo’s wife of 29 years is a nurse at Penn­syl­va­nia Hos­pi­tal and the cou­ple have two adult daugh­ters. On his down time, Schi­avo likes to make his own wine, cook, and fish “dow­nashore.”

“It takes too much en­ergy to be mis­er­able, it’s just eas­ier to be happy,” Schi­avo said, of his in­domitably pos­i­tive spirit. “I’m the party guy. I’m that guy. I’m all about la dolce vita — the sweet life. I love eat­ing, drink­ing, and par­ty­ing, when I’m not work­ing, of course.”

Pete Schi­avo, a He­mosta­sis Tech, be­comes emo­tional while talk­ing about how much he loves his job at Penn­syl­va­nia Hos­pi­tal.

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