Lance Bartolazzi

Lance Bartolazzi, RN

Aurora BayCare Medical Center
Green Bay, Wisconsin
United States

I nominate Lance Bartolazzi and Teresa Hesler for a DAISY Award. Please see the story below:
I had a homeless patient that came in via EMS on Saturday. The first clinical impression was that he would be an obvious admission, but as it had turned out he did not meet criteria for admission. To give you a visual of this patient, age 40, he was very unkempt, dirty skin, greasy hair, foul smelling. He had severe scarring from a past burn that started partially on his face, trailing down his abdomen and to his waistline, covering his entire back and both arms. His burns had to have been very severe as you could see his heart beating. He had tattoos around his neck, which I had later learned that he had done in attempt to hide his burn scarring. His shirt was filthy, shoes barely attached by a couple of threads.
When this patient arrived he was very anxious and appeared scared. When asked to take off his shirt to hook him up to the monitor he appeared very embarrassed. We were not busy that day, so I got the opportunity to spend extra time with him. He said before coming to the ER he was in a dumpster and someone had called 911. He said he had been homeless since 2001. He went on to say he did not speak or communicate with a lot of people. He felt he wanted to share his burn story with me. He told me he was camping in Oregon in 2001, he had a bad experience in the fact that he was beaten, tied up and set on fire. He was very emotional when telling his story. He said since he had not been the same, he was homeless, lost in life. He said he was born in Baily Harbor and his journey is taking him back there in hopes to find himself again, coming from Montana.
Meanwhile, all labs, etc come back - not meeting criteria to admit, leaving us to discharge him to the streets. I called the Crisis Center for help - immediately turned down. I called BCMH - again immediately turned down. I called ABMC social worker - she came down and gave him references. Homeless shelter full, unable to take anyone at this time. Holly from phlebo offered her church for a reference. During this time, the patient got a meal tray and I had called security to see if there were any male clothing items in lost and found that have not been claimed. The security guard took time to look for items, unfortunately the lost and found had been cleaned out 2 days prior and items not claimed have been discarded. I had called Suzette, house supervisor, she had taken time out to look, nothing. I spoke to people in the ED. Lance, ER nurse in ED said he had a couple of shirts that he was taking to Goodwill, brought them in. Dr H was in the ED, he said if he had a extra pair of shoes he would have given them away. I called Suzette back explaining we will be discharging him but wonder if we had a place to offer a shower prior to him leaving. Again, she had taken time out to find an empty room on 2north and supply items needed. I spoke to Dennis, a volunteer in the ER if he would be willing to supervise him as this patient showers. He was more than happy to. Jenny S had made sure he had a couple of bottles of water for his journey. I then updated the patient on the plan of care. Explaining I am very sorry that we cannot provide a place to go after discharge, but we offered him a place to shower and a bus token. Although you could see the pain in his eyes he was so grateful.
Dennis had taken him upstairs to 2nd floor to shower, shirts were donated by Lance. After patient showered Dennis took him to the bus stop in front of the main entrance. When Dennis came back he had said he gave the shoes he was wearing to the patient. He said he had given directions for the bus route but his journey was north so he pointed him in the direction to highway 43.
Although the end result was not there to offer a safe place for him to go, so many people had pulled together to offer what we could. I know how grateful this patient was because I truly saw it in his eyes and Aurora has shown him we are a hospital that cares about their patients. I am grateful to have taken care of him because I saw the care and compassion come out from so many different people.