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.

Natasha Nazzaro, RN, Medical ICU

During the COVID-19 pandemic, although visitor restrictions are necessary to safeguard patients, visitors, staff and the community, it is difficult for patients in need of family support and for loved ones who can’t physically be present to provide that support. To overcome this obstacle, the Patient Experience and IT teams collaborated to provide iPads to each unit to aid in the visual communication between patients and families. On the MICU, Natasha Nazarro, RN, was excited about receiving the iPads. She knew how important these devices were, especially for critical care patients. Natasha volunteered to take the lead in coordinating iPad and video chat usage for the unit. She came in twice a week on her days off to reach out to families and set up video chats between patients and their loved ones. This allowed family members to be “present” with their loved ones, many of whom were intubated. MICU leaders noted that iPad usage helped to decrease the number of calls to the nursing station because families of patients felt like they were actively involved in the care and are less anxious. The calls also brought huge smiles and positive responses from patients who were alert. In finding a “new normal” in this environment, staff have used creative ideas to ensure that we are always doing what is best for each of our patients and the people who love them. In order to fully illustrate the effect, please see the following note from the family of a MICU patient: ‘Dear Natasha, we have been deeply touched and humbled by the tender care you’ve showered on our uncle. You’ve truly displayed genuine patience and compassion toward him. During our video visits, we were able to witness how you tried to let him know he was not alone. Even though we could not be there, he knew he was loved through your touch. For this, we are eternally grateful.’ Mirroring the sentiments of this family, we all give kudos to Natasha for her loving and compassionate work.

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.”