Four employees in an office looking at the camera, smiling

Martina Santangelo’s journey started with a teenage dream of nursing school, leading her to a Medical Administration program at the Herzig Institute. Fate brought her to Mount Sinai Hospital when Dr. Allan Gross sought a medical secretary from her program, a role Martina secured among twelve candidates.

On July 11, 2023, she celebrated four decades as the Clinical Secretary for Dr. Allan Gross, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon who was awarded the Order of Canada for his pioneering work.

“I arrived in Canada in 1967 as a little girl from Italy, paving the way for my sisters to attend university. I spent 40 years working alongside the incredible Dr. Allan Gross, who is not only an extraordinary surgeon but also an exceptional teacher. My journey introduced me to fellows from all over the world, and I’ve been fortunate to build knowledge, friendships, and a strong support system that stood by me like a second family,” Martina said.

Today she is still a proud Sinai Health employee, but that’s not Martina’s only affiliation with Sinai Health – she has also been a patient at Mount Sinai Hospital.

In 1986, Martina got married and the following year found out she was pregnant with their first child. Complications arose when she was 23 weeks pregnant while at work one day, she suddenly experienced horrific back pain. Her colleagues wheeled her to the obstetrics (OB) area. She learned that her baby would have extremely low chances of surviving if she was born that day. Turning to her faith and determination to get through this tough moment, Martina was discharged to her home after three weeks in the hospital under strict bedrest orders. She faced a high-risk pregnancy due to a partial placental abruption and later gave birth to her daughter, Stephanie, amidst intense pain and a life-threatening hemorrhage. Despite fertility issues after her first pregnancy, Martina’s second pregnancy was closely monitored by Dr. Marshall Barkin, her OB and his team, ensuring a healthy birth for her son, Andrew.

Recalling every second as a vivid memory, Martina says, “In the realm of high-risk pregnancy cases, expert medical care can make all the difference for the well-being of moms and babies—and having a team that will work tirelessly to make your delivery feels like the miracle it is.”

Stephanie with her daughter Madeline

Stephanie with her daughter Madeline

“My two children, Andrew and Stephanie, were born here at Mount Sinai Hospital, as was our granddaughter Madeline, who will turn three this November. I’m profoundly grateful for the dedication and support of the hospital staff who cared for me and my family. Life’s journey has indeed come full circle, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the incredible care and community I’ve found here.”

Read more about Martina’s story which stands out as a testament to resilience, faith and the life-changing care provided by the team at Mount Sinai Hospital.