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.

Sajeev Rao, MD, Fairfield Urgent Care Center

A story shared by his nominators: "On Christmas morning, Dr. Rao was in Las Vegas with his family when his cell phone rang. It was the laboratory informing him of a positive blood culture on one of our patients. This result meant the patient could be in danger so Dr. Rao immediately called the Emergency Department and secured the patient’s contact information. He then called the patient at home to see how she was feeling and to let her know that she needed to go to Bridgeport Hospital for immediate care. Upon talking to the patient, she said that she was not feeling well and she seemed confused and was having difficulty understanding Dr. Rao’s vital instructions. Dr. Rao stayed calm and cool and told her to stay put and unlock her doors immediately. He then called 911 from Las Vegas and spoke with 911 dispatchers in the Connecticut area. Police and an ambulance was dispatched to the patient's home. Then he called the patient back to let her know that help was on the way and stayed on the phone with her until they arrived."

Joe Barney, RN, Medical ICU

Joe was nominated by the friend of a patient, who wrote: “I would like to thank Joe for displaying a tremendous amount of compassion to my friend and his family during his final days. When I first saw my friend intubated with many intravenous lines, I was very nervous. Joe put us at ease and encouraged us to talk to my friend and not to be intimidated by the medical apparatus. His bedside manner was professional, yet gentle, compassionate and caring. He answered all our questions and helped us greatly. Joe shared a personal that experience helped us cope with a very difficult situation and we love him for caring enough to share that with us. He most definitely has chosen the right career for himself. He goes above and beyond for his patients.”

Wendy Griffin, Blood Bank

Wendy was nominated by one of our Oncology nurses for the help she provided in caring for a patient who needed blood: “I knew the patient needed antibodies and called Wendy to ask how difficult it would be to get blood,” the nurse wrote. “Wendy assured me she would process the patient’s sample and get back to me right away. Wendy did just that and went above and beyond by educating me and the physician assistant covering the patient on how the process of getting blood products and conducting an antibody screening works. Ultimately, the blood has to come from the Red Cross in Farmington. Wendy followed up two more times during the night to let us know the status of the blood, thus enabling me to give the patient and her family updates throughout the night. Even though the patient was seven floors away from Wendy, she was still a patient to Wendy, not just a medical record number or blood sample. Wendy’s commitment to our patient led to a better outcome and less suffering for the patient. Both the patient and I can’t thank Wendy enough for her commitment to quality and safe patient care.”

Maria Alicea, Human Resources

A husband and wife were rushed to the hospital after a fire. Tragically, the wife suffered serious harm from the fire, and the doctors faced the difficult task of informing her husband so that he could make the necessary decisions and say goodbye. The family spoke Spanish so it was imperative that an interpreter be brought in to inform the husband and family members. Maria Alicea, who consistently dedicates a portion of her time interpreting for our patients, was called on a Sunday afternoon. She did not hesitate and came in immediately. Maria’s kindness and cultural competence helped the physicians deliver an incredibly difficult message to a room filled with the patient’s friends and family. Maria’s skill as a trained interpreter is secondary to the genuine compassion and empathy that she brings to these incredibly hard conversations. Maria lives the values of patient centered care, compassion and accountability. "

Marissa Zingaro, Nurse, Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Marissa was nominated after fellow nurse Tom Fedora observed her caring for a patient with a fatal injury: “Marissa devoted three shifts to never leaving this patient’s bedside. After a difficult meeting, the family made the decision to donate the patient’s organs. Looking on, I could tell the family was saying goodbye. Marissa stood outside the patient’s room to give the family some privacy. What I saw next said more about Marissa than any words could. With tears streaming down his face, the patient’s father grabbed Marissa and gave her a hug. Marissa connected with this family as more than a caregiver. She became a mentor, guiding them through the process of losing a son.”

Bonnie Szturma, Emergency Department

"An elderly blind man presented to the Emergency Department. He was sent by a social worker after she visited his home for the first time and discovered his awful living conditions. His wife had recently been hospitalized and during her absence, in his efforts to feed their cats, the cats had repeatedly bitten him. He arrived to the emergency department in terrible condition with both bed bugs and lice. Bonnie never shied away for a moment; she engaged and treated this frightened elderly gentleman with compassion. She took him and showered him and scrubbed him clean and tended to his wounds, all the while speaking gently to him and reassuring him that he was going to be ok. Following all of our established safety processes, Bonnie went above and beyond to make sure that our patient was cared for and treated with the utmost respect. Thank you Bonnie."

Nyla Petrahai, RN, Intermediate Care Area

"Nyla had an elderly patient with a fractured femur who was not a candidate for surgery. The patient was declining clinically, confused, in immense pain and calling out. Nyla stayed by her side for the majority of 12 hours, comforting her. The resident called the family and ordered comfort measures for the patient. Nyla took the time to do whatever she could for this patient. She even rubbed her back and sang "You Are My Sunshine". The next night I transported this patient to the oncology floor where her hospice care continued. When the PCT and I arrived to the floor to bring the patient, we followed Nyla's lead, we closed the door and sang "You Are My Sunshine". This is just one of the many examples that make Nyla such an amazing, compassionate, caring professional. Her integrity is an example for all of us."

Dr. Yekaterina Grewal, Department of Medicine

"One of our elderly patients was gravely ill on the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) while her husband was also an inpatient. As it became clear that our MICU patient was going to pass away, I knew that I needed to bring the husband and wife together to say goodbye. I saw Dr. Grewal and asked if she could help me. She instantly sensed the urgency and sprang into action. She helped me move the patient’s husband from his bed into a wheelchair and she raced him down to see his dying partner. She got him to his wife's bedside and he was able to hold his wife's hand as she took her last breath. I can't thank her enough for doing this. I know how grateful he was that he was with his wife."

Janet Janes, RN, Internal Medicine

"While attending mass, Janet heard someone cry out for medical help. She immediately rose and went to the back of the church where a gentleman was lying motionless on the floor. After assessment, she determined he had no pulse and began administering CPR with another nurses help and retrieved an automated external defibrillator. By the time an ambulance arrived, the gentleman’s heart function was restored and he had a strong pulse. The gentleman sent a notice through the church bulletin two months later thanking Janet and the other nurse who saved his life."