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Our Stories

Meaningful human connections are what good caregiving is all about. At Bridgeport Hospital, they’re happening all the time – with patients, clinicians, staff and volunteers on the units, in treatment areas, over coffee and in the hallways. Personal tales like these are the heartbeat of Bridgeport Hospital. Take a moment to add your story, too.

ashley pastor quality award winner

Quality Award to Ashley Pastor, RN

Congratulations to Ashley Pastor, RN, off-shift administrative manager, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award Aug. 25. She was nominated by a colleague, who wrote:

“Recently, the Surgical Intensive Care Unit staff was notified of an incoming admission 15 minutes into the start of a shift. They quickly prepared a room for the patient, who had suffered a serious trauma to the head.

“When the patient arrived, a team of physicians, residents, nurses and other staff offered to help. Ashley was informed of the severity of the situation and was a consistent calming presence on the unit. She jumped in, providing care, offering assistance and ensuring that she had full understanding of the situation.

“The patient's condition was grave and when his parents arrived, Ashley led the meeting. The surgeon explained that the patient's condition was critical, and Ashley compassionately asked if the family had any questions about the decisions at hand. Through Ashley's questions, the team was able to learn that the patient had a four-year-old son, that he was a business owner and that both of his parents beamed with pride when talking about him.

“Ashley established such a strong rapport with them, that she accompanied them into their son’s room and never left the bedside. Ashley’s compassion and leadership inspired me and she deserves to be recognized.”

Dorothea Dawkins, RN

Dorothea Dawkins, RN

“A patient on was having a tough time communicating with staff. Interpretive devices were used and clinicians were able to properly communicate the patient’s medical plan to him but due to health issues, he was not able to verbally communicate back. It was especially challenging when it came time to order meals. Staff tried to decipher the patient’s special requests but it proved to be difficult. Dorothea suggested making a book of pictures with all the foods the patient likes to eat. She took photos of his favorite foods and other foods he might want to try. She then placed the photos in a book that allowed the patient to view and point to what he would like to eat for the day. The patient was very pleased with Dorothea’s new system. Dorothea’s idea shows her compassion and that she is very patient-centered. She not only figured out a way to make the patient happy but how to make him feel important, too. Thank you Dorothea for putting our patients first.”

Keri Bill, RN, Emergency Department

Congratulations to Keri Bill, RN, Emergency Department, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award July 28. She was nominated by a co-worker, who wrote:

“Recently, an 11-year-old boy with autism was brought to the Emergency Department. The child was hungry, so we offered to order food but his mother informed us he would only eat certain foods and she would have to depart briefly to get it. The moment the patient's mother left, the boy started bouncing on the bed and racing around the room. Keri entered the room to help and the boy jumped into her arms and held her tightly. Keri instantly recognized that this was calming the child, so she sat on the bed with him and continued to hold him. Keri then asked me to keep the door open and continue to observe from the threshold of the room. Keri’s soft touch, quick thinking and assertive leadership allowed us to keep our patient safe and content until mom returned with food for him. Thank you Keri. We are lucky to have a leader like you with us on the front lines.”

quality award winner

Quality Award to Sylvia Roman

Congratulations to Sylvia Roman, patient care technician, West Tower 6, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award June 23. She was nominated by a co-worker, Francesa Logan, who wrote:

“I was sitting on a one-to-one with a patient who required total care due to limited mobility, speech and confusion. Sylvia entered the room and greeted the patient with her magnificent smile and quickly began to administer care. I stepped away for a moment and when I returned, the patient was clean, shaved, repositioned and comfortably sleeping. I asked Sylvia if the patient had been assigned to her for that shift and she replied that the patient had not but she was there to make sure patients are attended to quickly whether or not they are on her list. I so admire the dedication, compassion, integrity, accountability and respect that Sylvia has for our patients. Thank you Sylvia for making the patient's day brighter and mine as well.

Rudo Mupoperi Exantus, RN

Quality Award to Rudo Mupoperi Exantus, RN

Congratulations to Rudo Mupoperi Exantus, RN, Emergency Department, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award May 26.

She was nominated by Nurse Manager Keri Bill based on comments from a paramedic student, who said: “Rudo is an excellent preceptor for the Bridgeport Hospital Emergency Department. On several occasions, she has gone above and beyond to help students. Rudo was so supportive and patient while the student was learning to do intravenous lines (IVs). After a few weeks of not having to do any IVs, Rudo quickly noticed that the student was somewhat hesitant with the skill, so she took her aside to review what she had been taught. She did this during a hectic shift, when she could have used the time to step away and take a quick breather. Instead, she wanted to help someone in need. I really appreciate people like Rudo. Thank you so much for helping train our next generation of caregivers.”

Michael Rea

Quality Award to Michael Rea, Facilities Engineering

Congratulations to Michael Rea, Facilities Engineering, Milford Campus, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award April 28.

He was nominated by a co-worker, who wrote: “There aren't enough words to express my sincere gratitude to Michael Rea. He has been a godsend whenever there is a facility issue that needs to be addressed. There have been many significant issues that could have compromised our patients but with Mike's caring nature and concern for safety, our patients have remained safe. Mike is always willing to devote his time to ensure that the hospital is safe and all systems are up and running. I know I may take for granted the fact that we have heat, lights, and water but that is because I know Mike Rea has our backs to make sure nothing fails. Thank you Mike. You are so appreciated here at the Milford Campus!”

brenda garcia rn

Quality Award to Brenda Garcia, RN

Congratulations to Brenda Garcia, RN, Heart and Vascular Center, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award March 24. She was nominated by a co-worker, who wrote:

“Brenda was on her way to work recently when she witnessed a man get hit by the car in front of her. She immediately pulled over to the side of the road and ran to his aid. He was conscious and bleeding from his head.

“Brenda reassured the man and called 911. Afraid he would lose consciousness, she quickly assessed him and gathered as much information from him as she could. She asked him not to move and told him help was on the way.

“The man said he was cold so Brenda ran to her car and grabbed a blanket to cover him. At the same time, she tried to calm the driver who hit him. She waited with the victim and continued to comfort him until help arrived.

“Brenda displayed kindness and compassion while using her nursing skills and remaining focused on the needs of the injured man. She also showing accountability by stopping and not hesitating to help someone in need.

“Thank you Brenda for representing us so well in our community. You are a hero.”


Karen Hagerman and Mary-Kate Durette-Piccirillo, RN

Congratulations to Karen Hagerman, first cook, Food and Nutrition, (not pictured) and Mary-Kate Durette-Piccirillo, RN, Labor and Delivery, for receiving the Bridgeport Hospital Quality Awards for January and February.

Karen was nominated by her supervisor, Charles Hoffman, who wrote:

“Karen approached me in my office and informed me that she encountered a patient who had just been diagnosed with COVID-19. The man was distraught and feared he might not be able to receive the support he needed while battling the virus.

“Karen showed her compassion and created a laminated card with times for daily virtual support meetings, as well as a 24-hour support group number on one side and a prayer on the other. Karen asked that we send this card to the patient with his breakfast so he could have the information and receive the help he needed.

“This action touched my heart as I am sure it did the patient's, as well. Karen sets a prime example for how to live the Yale New Haven Health standards of professional behavior both inside and outside of work. I could not be happier to have her on my team.”

Mary-Kate was nominated by a newborn’s family, who wrote:

“Our family would like to recognize Mary-Kate for her exemplary ability as a nurse. Our son was born Jan. 16, and an hour after his birth he suddenly became unresponsive while attempting his first breastfeeding. Mary-Kate immediately took him, alerted the rest of the staff and started doing chest compressions within seconds.

“Her actions saved our son’s life. She followed up with regular updates throughout the night, keeping us informed of his status in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. She made sure to answer all our questions and comforted us during this most stressful time.

“Mary-Kate exemplified the characteristics of professionalism, compassion and service. She truly made us feel like our son was receiving the best possible care. Thank you so much for all that you did Mary-Kate, we are forever grateful. 

Ursula Iqbal

Ursula Iqbal, CT Burn Center

My 41-year-old son caught on fire when a gas can exploded. He sustained third- and fourth-degree burns over 38 percent of his body. I had no idea what was involved in caring for a burn survivor. I remember my son was in critical condition and his blood pressure dropped quickly. His wife and I were immediately removed from the room and had no idea what was happening. Once my son was stabilized, Ursula came to us and explained what happened in a very calm and reassuring tone. She was able to explain everything that was going on, which made it so much more manageable for me. She did not minimize his condition and she explained things in a manner that I could understand. She did not try to rush or brush us off. She spoke until I was clear on what was happening and what the future days might entail. I was there 12 to 14 hours every day. Watching all the ways she cared for him taught me how to care for him at home. Ursula just had a way of making everyone smile. One day, I asked her, how she could do her heart-wrenching job every day. She answered, ‘Because I know my patients will continue to get better every day.’ Ursula’s kindness and patience were never-ending. Even after my son’s release, when I brought him home to my house. I was so sure I was not taking proper care of him and at his first follow-up at the Burn and Wound Center, Ursula was there and reassured me I was doing everything right. That gave me strength to continue caring for him instead of him going to a rehabilitation facility. I still communicate with her and whenever I have a concern or question about my son, I reach out to her. She is always helpful and honest with me. I know she loves her job because of her actions. I know I trust her in every way.
Gerald Watford RN

Gerald Watford, RN, Emergency Department

“A patient in the Emergency Medical Services hallway was being discharged home recently at 6:30 am. The patient arrived at the hospital without shoes and had been wearing slipper socks. That morning, there was a winter storm and Gerald wanted to be sure the patient had proper footwear to stay warm and dry. Gerald assessed the situation and the patient's feet and then removed his own shoes and gave them to the patient. The patient was quite surprised and very appreciative. Thank you, Gerald, for doing the right thing.”
Monica Lage, RN

Monica Lage, RN, and Laura Bennet, RN, Emergency Department

It was an extremely busy day in the Emergency Department when the team received an unidentified, critically ill patient. The patient had been walking outside and collapsed. Police did not know who the patient was and her only identifier was her cell phone. Laura and Monica worked did a complete work-up of the patient and made her comfortable. They reflected on her circumstances: unconscious, fighting for her life and without any family or a hand to hold. Laura and Monica agreed how important it was to find the patient’s family. Just then they saw that her phone had a missed call and a light bulb went off. Monica answered the next call and after a lot of coordination the patient’s daughter arrived at the hospital. She sat by her mother, held her hand and cried, and in response the patient’s heart rate accelerated at the sound of her daughter’s voice. The once unidentified patient was now surrounded by her family and church support system. It was an emotional sight to behold. If not for the dedication and compassion of both these employees, it is uncertain how long this patient would have remained alone. It makes us proud to work with such esteemed colleagues and to know that this is the culture of the Bridgeport Hospital community.