The Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed him the “Groin Crusher,” but Pete Schiavo prefers nicknames that don’t make him sound like an amateur wrestler or a medieval torture device. “I’ve been called a lot of things — Petey Pressure, the Groin Guy… One patient called me ‘Patch-Em-Up Pete,’ and I love that,” he said.
Schiavo, who just hit 17 years at PAH, is a hemostasis tech. After catheters are removed from a patient’s femoral artery following a coronary procedure, he applies pressure to their groin for about 30 minutes to aid in clotting. It could easily be an uncomfortable situation — both physically and in terms of awkwardness — but Schiavo’s infectious spirit and jovial sense of humor ensure that not only do his patients (well over 10,000 at this point) relax, but they remember him long after that half hour passes.
Q: Tell me about the journey that led you to becoming PAH’s groin-crushing superstar.
A: I spent six years in the Navy before becoming a welder at General Electric. I remember four guys on the job clutching their chests and dying of heart attacks; the nurse was only at the plant for a few hours, and we didn’t know CPR. GE offered to put some of us through EMT school, and I became an EMT for nearly a decade, then joined my wife [Michelle Schiavo, RN], at PAH. Three years in, they offered me this position, and within two weeks, I knew it was meant to be. If there’s a job that fits somebody like a glove, this is it.
Q: What are the top three things you want people to know about your job?
A: Being detail-oriented is everything because if I’m not aware of what’s going on with a patient, they could die. My motto is, “No one bleeds on my watch.” Cultural awareness is also part of my job, so I always explain my role and ask permission. I bring them in as participants: “I’ve got to do something to make sure you stay safe, and I need you to help me, help you.” And I think my passion for the job comes across. I’ve never woken up and thought, “I don’t want to go to work today.” I had my own cardiac cath two years ago, so I’ve been there, and I pour my heart and soul into this.
Q: What makes your interactions with patients so memorable and meaningful?
A: The first thing I do is explain to patients that we’re going to get to know each other very well. If they’re a challenging patient, I try to peel back their layers so we can make a connection. I’m also really invested in taking care of veterans; I feel I have a duty to take care of them like they’re my own. But whoever it is, I always say, “I can promise you two things: You’ll never forget my name or my face.” And nobody ever does! I have people come up to me down the shore, at bars and restaurants, on the street — “Excuse me, are you Pete? You held my groin eight years ago!”
Q: How does this recent experience in the spotlight feel?
A: I’m totally blown away. Beyond humbled. So flattered. It makes me feel so good to know that my work is affecting people positively and that it reflects well on the hospital as a whole. My goal is to be there for my patients — and now they all know who I am when they come in! It’s pretty crazy being “the groin-crusher.”