She saved their leg and maybe their life
When a nurse starts their shift, they cannot know the impact they will have and when that impact will be felt or realized by those affected. In fact, the ripple effect of that impact may last a lifetime. It is with great pride that I nominate JoAnn Lay for the 2019 Hazel Latondress Impact Award for her life saving intervention on behalf a routine patient that had a routine surgery on a routine day in the Bronson PACU.
Jo is an experienced nurse that moved to Kalamazoo to be close to family and was gladly hired by the Bronson PACU on the recommendation of her sister, another Bronson nurse. It has proven to be a truly special partnership and Jo quickly ingratiated herself to staff and proved her value quickly while expertly managing the often difficult 11a-11p shift in PACU.
On an otherwise normal day, Jo took report and began recovery care on a standard post-operative Spinal Fusion of Dr. Michael Kasten. This recovery was progressing as expected but late in that recovery Jo picked up the apparent lack of a pulse in the patient’s foot. This relatively isolated finding, not directly related to the surgery, could have been explained in a number of benign ways with regard to positioning or “cold feet”. Jo however, drawing on experience and thoroughness, initiated further follow-up with Dr. Kasten who requested further testing and a vascular consult. The patient was found to have a massive clot, nearly the length of their leg, that was occluding the major circulation in their leg. It required immediate complex vascular surgery which was carried out that night by Dr. Sarat Vaddineni. It was the opinion of both Drs. Kasten and Vaddineni that without JoAnn Lay’s early detection and prompt reporting of her potentially benign finding, this routine patient having a routine surgery would have certainly lost their leg if the surgery was delayed even a few hours. Furthermore, it is not too dramatic to state that this patient could have lost their life from complications arising from such a large clot. As it is, the patient recovered well from the vascular surgery AND the back surgery. JoAnn’s impact should be obvious for the patient she cared for that day. She saved their leg and maybe their life. But she also saved a parent, a sibling, and a friend as that patient served all of these roles to the people that care for this routine patient who had a routine surgery. She also impacted Dr. Kasten’s life as he outlined in a handwritten letter praising her care and personally thanking her. But I also hope she realizes she has impacted the lives of her co-workers who were inspired by her act that day and hope to mold our care in his/her reflection. For this reason and many not listed here Jo Lay has earned the 2019 Hazel Latondress Impact Award.