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.

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.

Gloriann Albini, APRN, Hospitalist Service

Recently, a patient suffering from cancer arrived at the hospital in the late afternoon for admission. The patient was very uncomfortable and had been struggling to keep any food or liquid down for days, which prevented her from taking her pain medication. Gloriann was on our floor, so I asked if she could assist with the admission. Normally, the Hospitalist team completes these admissions, but Gloriann said: "I know they are busy, I'll call and let them know that I will do it." Gloriann was able to get the patient nausea medication within 10 minutes of arrival, quickly followed by pain medicine. Then she spent about two-and-a-half hours with the patient and family. She explained the benefits of palliative care and requested a consult with a palliative care provider. The patient and family were very impressed with Gloriann's compassion and the time she had spent with them. They were very relieved to learn more about palliative care. By the time my shift was over that evening, the patient was able to walk around, order dinner and actually smile. The patient must have thanked me 20 times but Gloriann deserves all that gratitude. Thank you, Gloriann, for putting our patients first!

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.”