Split Second Decision Saves a Life, Earns Gaithersburg PACU Team the Josie King Hero Award


By Erica Chester, Director, Corporate Communications

On a spring day in the Mid-Atlantic Region in 2017, a member was admitted for routine elective surgery at Kaiser Permanente’s Gaithersburg Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). During recovery, the member experienced an airway emergency.

“Early recognition of airway issues is important. You want to get ahead of the issue rather than behind it,” said Michelle Golden, director of the ASC which includes the Pre-op and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) team, which was anonymously nominated to receive the Josie King Hero award.

The team was recognized for excellent leadership, situational monitoring and advocating for the patient’s safety by stopping the line when the member’s condition worsened and became life threatening. The stop the line concept is used in Highly Reliable Team training that allows any staff to speak up about a concern related to safety.

“We quickly explored all options, keeping in mind the safety of the patient and being mindful of the associated risks of intubation. The Anesthesiologist and PACU team were able to stabilize the airway and quickly transfer the patient to a nearby hospital for further emergency care.  Everyone is pleased with the decisions that were made that day,” said Golden.

Golden said she was happy to receive recognition of the team’s amazing work through the Josie King Hero award.

“I’m excited to accept this award on behalf of the Gaithersburg PACU team. We see handling this event and others as doing our job. The best thing ever is to see that the member is doing well,” said Golden.

Promoting safety throughout the year is part of employee and physicians’ goals. If you know of a team that exemplifies safe patient care, consider nominating them for the Josie King Hero Award. Nominations will be taken until close of business January 31, 2018.  Click here for additional information.

Nomination forms can be submitted via email to: KPMAS-Patient-Safety@kp.org or via fax to: (301) 816-5801, Attention: Patient Safety.

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