Thirteen favorite stories of 2013

Top StoriesEach year, In the Loop, like many of the world's great news organizations, looks back and shares a few favorite stories from the year gone by. It's an edifying and uplifting exercise, and it gives us a story to publish around the holidays that doesn't feel like real work. (Especially when we use the same old packaging.)

Since we're not a particularly scientific lot, each year we simply pick our own favorites. This year, we chose our Top 13, what with this being 2013 and all. (And since we couldn't bring ourselves to whittle things down to a top 10.) We weren't even totally happy with sticking to 13, but we can't change the calendar. At least not until next week.

Anyhoo, without further ado, here are some of our favorite Mayo tales from 2013:

Game Night on Domitilla 4 -- Nurses on Domitilla 4 put on a game night to lift the spirits of a patient awaiting a transplant, caring for the emotional health as well as physical health of their patient.

Helping to improve care for all patients -- After watching her sister struggle to get the care she needed because of Down syndrome, a Mayo medical student knew she wanted to help change things for patients with disabilities. 

More than words -- Jake Schindler, diagnosed with autism, uses art to communicate with his family. His audience is now expanding as the family is donating 10 pieces of his art to Mayo Clinic Health System in Menomonie.

Trying each other's shoes on for size -- Nurses and residents developed a program to improve collaboration and "bridge the professional divide," improving both teamwork and patient satisfaction in the process.

Hey look, that's my kidney -- A new 3-D "virtual dissection table" helps teams plan for surgery and helps surgeons communicate the complexity of surgeries to patients.

Inside, looking out -- Julian Melson, after being "outted by a co-worker," found "support and encouragement" from his supervisor and peers in his MERG group.

Mayo CEO hugs furry new partner -- John Noseworthy, M.D., took the stage with Sesame Street's Rosita, Chelsea Clinton and others to announce a new initiative to promote healthy living and disease prevention among poor women and children in Latin America.

Saying it with flowers -- For John and Barb Meyer, delivering bouquets of flowers from their gladiola field to patients in need of a pick-me-up has become a labor of love. For patients, it’s another sign of how Mayo cares for the whole patient.

A flood of problem-solvers -- After a torrential downpour sent a surge of floodwater into Mayo's Charlton Building in Rochester, the response by Mayo staff was immediate and impressive.

Lil Boo ready for whatever's next -- Robert 'Boo' Maddox V survived H1N1, 500 days in the hospital, and more. But not until he came to Mayo Clinic did doctors say, "I know what's wrong ... I'm going to fix him."

Sister Joseph, meet Joseph the Carpenter -- Joseph Howlett came to Saint Marys Hospital in 1917 looking for work and was given a carpentry job. Learn how this humble carpenter repaid the favor years later and started the Sister Joseph Endowment Fund.

Ready, set, flash mob -- A Mayo employee recovering from cancer is surprised by her "Three North family," who showed up with a rousing statement of support via a bit of song and dance.

A piece of his heart from cells in his arm -- "What if you could stockpile a set of spare parts -- not for your car, but for your body?" That was the dramatic opening to a fairly extraordinary report from 'ABC Nightline' correspondent Bill Weir.

You can find more stories about random acts of kindness, profiles in courage, patients doing backflips and thanking their lucky stars, staff helping each other out during a May snowstorm, and much more in the old In the Loop blog archive and here on the new external In the Loop blog. Check them out and then let us know what clicked with you.