Hero Stories

Miranda Franklin, RN ~ Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center

Hero Photo

On September 21, 2016, Miranda Franklin received the Josie King Hero Award.  Miranda is the day shift charge nurse on Unit 8 (med-surg) at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Alabama.  Miranda was caring for a patient who had recently been admitted with altered mental status.  Miranda noticed some very subtle changes in the patient’s level of consciousness, vital signs and lab work.  After talking with the patient’s family she diligently communicated with the primary care physician and consulting infectious disease doctor.  Miranda’s “good catch” and persistence hastened the consult, a diagnosis of meningitis and rapid, appropriate treatment.  The physician recognized Miranda’s skills as life saving for a critically ill patient.


Sylvia Bajek, RN ~ UPMC Hamot

Sylvia Bajek is a nurse at UPMC Hamot’s Operating Room. Sylvia noted during the time-out that the consent on the chart indicated a different laterality than the History & Physical. Sylvia spoke up during the time-out process and she, along with the surgeon, investigated the discrepancy and confirmed the proper side before surgery. Sylvia’s attention to detail prevented the possibility of an adverse event for the patient.

Aaron Julian and Steve Medvis ~ UPMC Hamot

Aaron and Steve are transporters at UPMC Hamot. During a routine transport of a patient to the Radiology Department, they noticed that her condition changed en route. The patient went from being talkative to not being able to speak or look at them. Aaron and Steve realized something was wrong and called a Rapid Response Code. The Code team evaluated and took over the care of the patient. Aaron and Steve’s close attention to this patient during the transport helped them recognize when her condition changed and allowed her to get the care she needed instantly.

Mary Beth Hubbard, RN ~ UPMC Hamot

Mary Beth Hubbard is a nurse at UPMC Hamot’s Medical Intensive Care unit. She was caring for a patient that had an order to receive an IV antibiotic, Zosyn. Mary Beth scanned the medication and also performed the five rights of medication administration – right patient, right drug, right time, right route, and right dose. During this process, Mary Beth noticed that the label on the solution bag and the label on the vial did not match. Mary Beth followed the proper procedure for medication administration ensuring that the patient received the right medication.

Josh Bickford, RN ~ UPMC Hamot

Josh Bickford is a nurse assigned to UPMC Hamot’s Trauma-Neuro ICU. Josh was told that his patient was having an irregular heartbeat throughout the day. Josh was curious about this since the patient was a young man with no previous cardiac history. He believed that the patient’s PICC line had moved and could be causing the irregular rhythm. Josh called the Attending physician and asked for a stat chest x-ray to confirm placement of the PICC line. The x-ray showed that the PICC line was malpositioned and needed to be pulled back. The Attending physician was notified and the PICC line was adjusted. The patient had no further episodes of an irregular heartbeat.

Dan Skrzypczak ~ UPMC Hamot

Dan Skrzypczak is a carpenter at UPMC Hamot. Dan was working on a job when he noticed an older gentleman who looked unwell. Dan asked the visitor if he was okay. The visitor could not speak and simply put his hands to his chest indicating that he had chest pain. Dan immediately called a Code Blue and told the gentlemen not to worry, and that help would be arriving soon. Dan stayed with the gentleman until the code team arrived. The team successfully resuscitated him and he was discharged from the hospital a few days later. Dan’s quick response to the situation was vital in getting the necessary resources to the visitor to save his life.

Bart Matson, DO ~ UPMC Northwest

Dr. Matson was caring for a patient who was just over 40 weeks pregnant. During an office visit, the doctor noticed that the fetus was in distress.  Dr. Matson needed to transfer the patient to a hospital outside of her hometown; so he canceled his appointments for the day and traveled in the ambulance with the patient until she safely arrived at the hospital. The patient arrived safely and had a healthy baby.

Sorrel, Josh, Jim Photo_edited-UPMC 2016
Sorrel, Jim, Aaron and Steve Photo_edited-UPMC 2016
Jim, Sylwia, Sorrel Photo_edited-UPMC 2016

Jim, Dan, Sorrel Photo_edited-UPMC 2016Brian, Dr. Matson, Sue, Sorrel Photo-UPMC 2016Sorrel, Mary Beth, Jim_edited-UPMC 2016












Bobby Rodriguez ~ Carroll HospitalBobby Rodriguez receives Patient Safety Hero Award (1)

Bobby works in our facilities department and goes above and beyond to assure that patient and families understand hand hygiene and isolation procedures.  He also helps to remind our staff when they may miss a step!

When Bobby goes into a patient’s room to do work and the patient is on isolation, he takes the time to explain to the patient and their family why he is in isolation gear and why it is important for them.  He also explains why the patient’s family should be following the same procedure.  He also educates them on the importance of hand hygiene.  If he sees a staff member not following appropriate infection control techniques (hand washing or isolation), he reminds them of the importance and then reports that back to our Infection Control Practitioner.

Emily Udseth-Carroll HospitalEmily Udseth ~ Carroll Hospital

On September 28, 2015, Emily, a Peri-Op/PACU nurse at Carroll Hospital was the recipient of the Josie King Hero Award. Emily was selected as the Hero of the Year. Emily was working in Peri-Op one morning checking a patient in for surgery.  The patient was scheduled to have a tubal ligation. By our policy, if a female patient had a negative serum pregnancy within 7 days prior to the surgery, we did not need to check a urine pregnancy prior to surgery.  This patient arrived on the 7th day.  By Policy, Emily did not need to do a urine pregnancy.  Emily decided to do one anyway.  It came back positive.  In disbelief, she checked another and it again, came back positive.  This time she notified the surgeon who then ordered another serum pregnancy.  This too came back positive.  The surgery was canceled and the doctor spoke with the patient.  The result of this, along with the safety of the patient and her unborn baby, was an immediate policy change that day related to female patients coming in for surgery.  Now they check all females of childbearing age/ability regardless of whether or not they have a documented serum blood test.


Amy Alsante ~ Franklin Square Medical Center


Congratulations to Amy Alsante! Amy was awarded the The Josie King Hero Award at Franklin Square Medical Center on Monday, November 17, 2014. MedStar has partnered with the Josie King Foundation to present a monthly award to an Associate who inspires colleagues through their work speaking up for patient safety. Amy was nominated by the team because of the presentation and work shared at the MedStar Quality and Safety Corporate Council. The work she is championing at Franklin Square Medical Center through tools and culture change inspired everyone around her. Amy was honored at a lovely reception with her coworkers and members of leadership.

Cake         FranklinSquareLeadershipatHeroAwardEvent-November2014

 Franklin Square was so excited about the                          Great to see the President and Board Chair at 

        award they made a photo cake!                                                                the event!

Katrina Dennis ~ Emory University Hospital


Congratulations to Katrina Dennis, RN, Unit Director of Unit 52 at Emory University Hospital Midtown! Sorrel had the honor of presenting the Josie King Hero Award to Katrina last week. Katrina was given this award in recognition of her leadership that has inspired everyone on her unit. Her passion for quality and safety is evident to all. Keep up the great work Katrina, Sorrel



Donna Shifflett ~ Montgomery Medical Center

DonnaShiflett-MestarreceivingHeroAward-Fall2014photo3Congratulations to Donna Shifflett, a senior coder at MedStar Montgomery Hospital, who was recognized in December 2013 for catching a coding discrepancy that had direct impact on a patient’s quality of life. When Donna noticed that a young woman had been diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, but that the corresponding radiology report negated that diagnosis, she contacted the attending physician immediately alerting him of the contradicting information. The patient was subsequently called back in for evaluation, and when Donna’s suspicions were confirmed, the anti-coagulant medications that had been started were discontinued.

Thanks to the mindfulness of Donna Shifflett, this young woman’s life was returned to normal. She is truly a leader and patient safety hero, and we look forward to hearing similar stories throughout MedStar.


Peter Pronovost ~ Sr. Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, Director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Sorrel had the honor of presenting Peter Pronovost with the very first Hero Award. Peter has worked tirelessly for many years on the patient safety front. He has inspired healthcare providers not only throughout the United States but also around the world to create a culture of patient safety. Peter’s work continues to transform the healthcare industry making it better for us all. Peter is a hero to so many.