I've had the pleasure of working with Ms. Martinez for the past seven years. She helps coordinate home health as well as other patient-specific needs. Throughout the seven years, she is always sweet, compassionate and kind. She always follows through to make sure the patient's needs are met.
One shift, she again went above and beyond the call of duty. This case had a profound effect on the patient. A retired military veteran with a service dog to help him with severe PTSD arrived at our hospital for an outpatient procedure. When the time came for the patient to be transferred to the OR, the question was "who would take the dog?" Brenda stepped in and told the patient that she would make sure the dog was cared for while he went to surgery. With the help of some hospital volunteers, the dog was loved and well cared for.
Issues of concern arose when the patient had awakened in my PACU and informed me that his ride had fallen through and he would need to take an UBER home. Decisions for a patient to "cab it home" are made on a case-by-case basis. (I learned this after several calls to Risk Management as well of research into the TGH policy). The number one priority status post-anesthesia is for the well-being and safety of the patient. On many occasions, my unit has admitted patients for an overnight stay if they received general anesthesia and did not have proper transportation home. There was much conversation between me and the surgical team as to whether the patient should be admitted or allowed to proceed home in an UBER taxi. The question of course then was "what do we do with the dog?" I'd been in contact by phone with Brenda multiple times since the patient had arrived in the recovery room. When the concerns had arisen for a possible patient admit, Brenda came up to the unit. She told me that she had made a promise to the patient that she would take care of the dog. She was an hour and a half late for a dinner date with her significant other at this point but said, "I'll just take him home with me if that's what needs to be done." Her commitment was to honor her promise to the patient.
The Risk Management Team stated that the patient needed to be recovered in the PACU for a period of a few hours and then the decision would be at the discretion of the surgeon (for a patient to be transported by somebody other than the family or friend). Both the surgical team and anesthesia spoke with the patient at length, and the decision was made to allow the patient to proceed home after the wait period. Brenda stayed at the hospital until all final decisions were made and the patient was set to go. The patient teared up with joy after being reunited with his dog. He said he was overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of everyone at Tampa General. Brenda said that she felt like she could not leave until she knew that he would be safely discharged. Her comment was, "I made a promise to him." She stayed with him until the transporter left the unit with him to meet the UBER pick up.
My life and my job are better for having someone like Brenda Martinez on our TGH team. It is with gratitude for her dedication that I nominate her for Tampa General Hospital DAISY Award.