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.

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, 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, 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, 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.

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.”

Meryl Edwards, RN, Care Coordination

“Late in the afternoon on a recent Friday, Meryl was addressing a very difficult situation for her patient. Earlier in the week, the patient was in a motor vehicle accident with her son. She sustained serious injuries and was being treated in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit but her son did not survive. Not only was the patient dealing with her own recovery, she was also mourning the loss of her son. The funeral was scheduled for Sunday and Meryl needed to allow the patient an opportunity to say her last goodbye and have closure. Meryl hit the phones hard until she found the resources to allow this mother to be safely transported to her son’s funeral along with a medical team to ensure her safety. Meryl practiced compassion and patient-centered care and recognized how important this was for this family. This is not the first time I have seen Meryl display this kind of passion and devotion to her patients. She frequently states that “we always have to strive to do the right thing for our patients.” I was later informed that that the patient told her nurse she felt at peace knowing that she was able to say goodbye to her son. Thank you, Meryl.”

Eva Wallace, APRN, Palliative Care, and Kimberly Wills-Rinaldi, social worker, Center for Geriatrics

“Our son had an auto accident which resulted in devastating burn injuries. When we first saw him in the hospital, he was wrapped in mummy-like gauze. We were emotionally drained knowing his prognosis was very poor, and the surgeons could not rule out the need for amputations. Our son’s case has been very complex, with surgical, medical and psychological challenges. We are so thankful to our surgeons, who recognized that we could benefit from the special compassionate approaches Eva and Kim could provide. They kept us up-to-date on our son’s status and each of the 15 surgeries he had. Although we had excellent open communication with all the doctors, nurses and therapists in the burn center, we still needed more. Kim and Eva met with us in the family lounge where we could close the door and speak about anything and everything. We needed the counseling. We needed the ability to cry and vent our thoughts, frustrations and fears without being judged. Kim and Eva were instrumental in helping facilitate a full team-family meeting that helped address a lot of questions about intensive rehabilitation, future surgeries and psychological issues. This was very helpful for our entire family. Kim also gave us and our son a stuffed dog to cuddle with. Our son named his dog “Baily Jr.” in honor of our dog at home. Knowing we could call Kim and Eva whenever we had a question or needed someone to talk to was very reassuring.”