Heroes At Heart

Katie Chandler, Director of Guest Resources/Pastoral Care

Sometimes the simplest things - like a toy - can lead to something much greater. Katie Chandler was waiting in the drive through line at McDonald's. She was on a mission to surprise her son John. The day before John was not very happy with his "Happy Meal" because the toy inside was more suitable for a girl, and John was all boy! Katie decided to see if she could swap the toy and have it for him when she picked him up from daycare. 

While in line Katie noticed a woman outside who appeared to be upset. The woman was looking on the ground and reached into some bushes. As the woman raised up, all of a sudden she fainted and fell to the ground! Katie immediately left the line to see what she could do to help. The woman was unresponsive so EMS was called.  The lady had been in the restaurant with her 4 year old grandson when her wallet was stolen from the counter.  A police officer and the woman had gone outside to look on the grounds for the wallet.  

EMS needed to transport the woman to our Emergency Room but there was no one else to take care of the grandson. Without hesitation Katie offered to take the grandson with her while she picked up her son, and then meet them at the hospital.  After checking on the woman at the hopsital and giving her contact information to the ER nurse, Katie took the boys to McDonalds to eat and play. 

While at McDonald’s, Katie received a call from the ER nurse that the woman could go home.  Katie returned to the hospital, waited for the woman to be discharged, and then drove the woman and her grandson back to her car at McDonald’s. Since the woman had no wallet or money, Katie also bought her supper and filled her car with gas so she could drive back home.

Katie was nominated for the Hero @ Heart award by a nurse in the ER who wrote, “Katie never once complained or seemed to be put out by the unexpected situation. So thankful to have wonderful people like Katie working at JMCGH!”

Sandy McLemore, another employee who happened to be at McDonald’s while Katie was caring for the grandson, also nominated Katie. Sandy shared, “Katie is a very busy mom, but she took Warren (the grandson) under her wings and treated him like her very own.  Not only did she help Warren and the grandmother out, but I’m sure the staff in the ER was very thankful someone was there to help with this 4 year old who wanted to be anywhere but an ER patient room. She represented West Tennessee Healthcare in a very positive way.”

Not only is Katie a WTH Hero @ Heart, the woman recognized Katie with a “Heart” in the Jackson Sun “Hearts and Darts” column. 

Melanie England, EEG Technician, West Tennessee Neuroscience Clinic

What began as a typical afternoon for Melanie England, an EEG technician at WT Neuroscience Clinic turned out to be anything but.  Melanie was in the parking garage adjacent to the Medical Office Building when she witnessed an elderly gentleman crash into one of the concrete support beams as he attempted to park his car. The airbags deployed and the gentleman received several cuts and scrapes.

Melanie immediately ran over to see what she could do to help and called EMS. Melanie then talked calmly to the man while she took care of his bleeding cuts with some gauze she happened to have on hand.  Melanie also had to calm the man’s wife, who fortunately had stepped away from the truck and was not involved in the accident. She was a great comfort to both who were understandably very shaken by the ordeal.

Melanie kept everything well under control. Her actions and the manner in which she handled the situation demonstrated a true Hero @ Heart.

Tommy Goff, Coordinator, Radiology

One Saturday in the early spring, Tommy went to Beech Lake to enjoy some time off. While there, a man sunk his wave runner. He was desperately holding on to the fully emerged wave runner and was panicking. Another man nearby swam over to calm him and they both ended up holding on to the sunken vessel.

The rescue squad was called, but after they arrived and put their boat in the water on the other side of the lake, it would not start. The first man had been in the water for 30 minutes and was now displaying signs of hypothermia. A police officer on the bank decided it was time to act and jumped in the lake. Tommy, without hesitation, also jumped in the frigid water. Tommy and the police officer swam to the men, and swam the men and the emerged wave runner to the shore.

The employee who shared this story said Tommy has always put others first, and as humble as he is, would not have shared this story. We are so proud to share his story and recognize Tommy as a Hero @ Heart!

Steve DeBerry, Service Technician and Greg Jeffries, Bio-Medical Technician, Medical Center Medical Products

Although it was the holiday season, it was a sad time for Carol and her friends who had arrived at a Jackson hotel to attend the funeral of Carol’s mother. Due to a stroke several years earlier, Carol was confined to a wheelchair. In their haste and anxiousness to get to Tennessee, the group forgot the cord to charge the battery operated wheelchair.

One of the friends looked in the phone book and found Medical Center Medical Products. She called the number and explained the situation to Greg Jeffries who answered the phone. Greg told her he understood and would come to the hotel.

Within 30 minutes Greg and Steve DeBerry were at the hotel and had Carol’s wheelchair plugged up and charging! They refused to let Carol pay for the cord or for their time.

In her letter to Medical Center Medical Products one of the friends wrote, “Needless to say, none of us will forget what a wonderful and unexpected Christmas gift that was – not only the free service they provided to someone who was on a limited income, but the amazing Christian witness these two men gave. It was one of the great blessings in our lives to have two Christian strangers show up unexpectedly in our lives in such a meaningful and beautiful way. We met as strangers, but we parted as friends.”  Friends – a fitting description for Heroes @ Heart!

Nicole Jones, Supervisor, Patient Scheduling – Jackson-Madison County General Hospital

Nicole Jones was heading home after a long day at work. Outside, it was very cold, windy and snowing like crazy for November. Nicole noticed a young couple walking to the bus stop.  The man was carrying a small child about two years old.  Instead of continuing on her way home, Nicole turned around and pulled up beside the couple. All three were cold and wet. The couple looked so relieved when Nicole asked if they needed a ride. They had just been to the doctor’s office because the baby was sick with a bad cold and congestion.  Nicole gathered them in her car and drove them to their home in downtown Jackson.

Going by bus would have meant a long wait with transfers and more waiting at each bus stop – the last thing a sick baby needed. But what the family did need and find was Nicole, their Hero @ Heart!

Brittney Broach, RN, Emergency Department – Jackson-Madison County General Hospital

Brittney Broach was driving in Humboldt when she was surprised to see an elderly gentleman driving on the wrong side of the road.  Brittney quickly jumped to attention, sounding her horn and blinking her headlights until the man stopped. Brittney also stopped and ran over to the car. The gentleman was disoriented and did not understand what had happened.  Brittney called EMS and the man’s family. When the father’s son arrived, she relayed the incident and stayed with them until the ambulance arrived.  Later Melanie called to check on the father and found out he had suffered a stroke. 

The son wrote in a letter:  My father is alive and well today because of Brittney Broach and therefore I believe she should be rewarded in some way for her caring spirit. She is the kind of employee that you should be proud to have on your payroll.

He is right - we are so proud to have Brittney on the payroll and to recognize her for being a Hero @ Heart!

Deborah Marcum, Clinical Documentation Improvement Nurse/Case Management; Caleb Stanfill, ER Technician – Jackson-Madison County General Hospital   

Caleb Stanfill, was making his usual drive on Highway 412.  He was about 100 yards behind a van when the unexpected occurred and the van wrecked with another vehicle.  Both vehicles flipped several times.  Occupants were thrown from the vehicles with several children involved. Caleb came to a halt and jumped out to see what he could do to help. Caleb was able to open a boy’s airway so he could breathe. He also held pressure to stop bleeding on another boy until someone else ran over to help. By this time the van was smoking so he and others helped people get out and away from the vehicle.

Deborah Marcum soon happened upon the same accident.  She comforted a 9 year old boy who was hysterical and bleeding, along with the boy’s mother. She also assisted a 13 year old who was unresponsive and a man with a head injury.

Neither Caleb nor Deborah knew the other was there that day. Their co-workers and friends found out about their heroic actions and thought their stories should be shared.  It was reported that the scene was mass chaos with many “rubberneckers” and grown men just standing around taking pictures with their cell phones while crowding the scene and hindering help.  But not Caleb or Deborah – their co-workers wanted others to know how they jump in and help any way they can in both their daily work and personal lives.  True characteristics of Heroes @ Heart!

Jana Combs, RN, A6 - Jackson-Madison County General Hospital

On a hot summer Sunday, Jana Combs and her family were eating dinner when they heard screeching tires.  As they looked up out the window they witnessed a vehicle crash in front of their home.  Immediately, Jana’s nursing instinct kicked in.  She jumped up from the table and ran outside to the aid of the driver.  In the 100-degree temperature, Jana initiated CPR and worked on the driver non-stop until EMS arrived, which was about 30 minutes since they live in a rural area.

The son of the injured man had been plowing in a nearby field and ran over to find his father.  Jana continued performing CPR while the son stood by. Although the man passed away due to his injuries, the son said he and his family were so grateful that Jana was there to allow him a chance at life. We too are thankful that Jana was there and so proud to have a true Hero @ Heart among us.   

Medical Center Medical Products

Several employees with Medical Center Medical Products were presented the Hero @ Heart Award. Genia Echtenkamp, Bethany Herr, Jeff Herr, Donna Muckelvaney, Candy Peterson, and Kimra Thomas received the award from Karen Utley, vice president of hospital services at a recent directors' meeting.

A truck driver named Edjuardo walked into the Medical Center Medical Products on Hollywood Drive complaining of chest pain and looking for the hospital. He was from Puerto Rico and spoke only broken English. The staff could tell Edjuardo was nervous and frightened. Soon several employees took action. Donna Muckelvaney determined that he needed medical attention and called upon Bethany Herr, respiratory therapist, as well as RNs Kimra Thomas and Candy Peterson to assess his condition.

They kept him calm while checking his vital signs, and then informed him further evaluation was needed at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Jeff Herr, pharmacist, took Edjuardo to the emergency room as Genia Echtenkamp, EMT and pharmacy technician, called the emergency room to alert them of the situation.

After Edjuardo was admitted to the emergency room in good hands, Jeff gave him his personal cell phone number in case he needed anything else. Kimra alerted Edjuardo's employer of his status, the location of his vehicle and assured them she would call with updates.

After his discharge from the emergency room, Edjuardo called Jeff, who picked him up and transported him to his truck. Jeff even offered to pay for his prescriptions. The employees called Edjuardo the next morning and found out he was doing fine. He said his delivery was made on time and he "had friends in Jackson, Tennessee." Friends who are truly Heroes @ Heart!

Maria Stanfill, RN, Emergency Department

Sometime after midnight one early April morning, Maria Stanfill was driving on a road in Chester County when she came upon an accident scene. She immediately stopped so she could assist our Chester County paramedics. After everyone was treated and found to be okay.

Maria discovered that the couple was from Tupelo, MS and their car was totaled. They had no way home. Maria got on the phone and made arrangements to meet the couple's daughter at Wal-Mart in Selmer. Maria then put the couple in her car, drove them to Selmer and stayed with them until their daughter arrived.

What a fortunate couple. Unhurt in the accident, and rescued by a Hero in the middle of the night.

Bobbie Doran, Trauma Nurse Specialist, Trauma Services

Bobbie Doran was driving home after a long day at work as a trauma nurse specialist when she came upon a car accident that had just occurred. Bobbie immediately stopped and jumped out of the car to help. A woman and her grandmother were in the car injured. The women were so glad to see Bobbie - they assumed she was with EMS since she still had on her scrubs and WTH name badge. Bobbie climbed in the backseat of the car to brace the neck of one of the women until the ambulance arrived. All the time Bobbie was very comforting and kept both ladies calm. The daughter and granddaughter of the women called the Patient Relations office because she wanted everyone to know what Bobbie did for her family and said that Bobbie was just WONDERFUL!

James Ross, Chief Operating Officer

James Ross, Chief Operating Officer, was surprised with the Hero @ Heart Award presented by Vice President Catherine Kwasigroh at the February 23 Directors' Meeting. Although we have seen it in the movies - a tense announcement is made over a plane's intercom "is there a doctor or medical personnel on board?" - fortunately, not many of us have experienced it in real life. But that's just what happened when James, Catherine, Marty Fordham and Jeff Blankenship were returning from a Cerner training event in Kansas City.

A fellow passenger was having serious medical issues. In addition to being our COO, James is also an RN and he immediately jumped into action taking control of the situation. After assessing the passenger, starting oxygen and initiating chest compressions, James firmly advised the crew that they needed to land the plane so they could get the passenger to a hospital. The plane made a very quick, emergency landing in St. Louis where emergency personnel were waiting to transport the passenger. It was reported that the passenger survived. We are so proud of James for not being afraid to get involved and being a true hero @ heart to a stranger in need!

Suzanne Jones, Food & Nutrition Services

One day in August, what started out as Cafe co-workers enjoying a routine lunch break together, turned into a very frightening situation. Jennifer Golden, one of the employees began choking. Everyone there came forward to offer assistance but Suzanne Jones was the real lifesaver. Having been a certified nursing assistance in the past, Suzanne immediately went into action by performing the Heimlich Maneuver and dislodging the food.

Thanks to her past training and quick action Suzanne was the Hero for the Day and today we want to honor her as a true Hero @ Heart.