LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-one Hospital Hero nominees were honored at National Health Foundation's 11 th annual Hospital Hero awards luncheon, which recognizes individuals who work at the member hospitals of the Hospital Association of Southern California and who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure patients receive high quality, compassionate care.
National Health Foundation held its 11 th Annual Hospital Hero awards luncheon on Friday, November 4, 2016 at the Skirball Cultural Center. Beverly White of NBC4 Southern California served as master of ceremonies. All nominees were honored for their outstanding contributions, and three nominees were chosen as the 2016 Hospital Heroes. The event raised nearly $60,000 in support of National Health Foundation's mission to improve the health of individuals and underserved communities by taking action on the social determinants of health and bridging gaps in the health care system. La Verna McMiller, RN, BSN, MSN is a 2016 Hospital Hero. La Verna manages one of the most challenging patient care units in the state, the sub-acute care center at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro. Patients are transferred from hospitals throughout the state with gunshot wounds, terminal cancer, and other life threatening conditions. She urges her nurses to never give up on a patient and shares her motto, "Miracles do happen." La Verna's optimism results in amazing outcomes for patients who were never expected to return home. Over a 27-year tenure, she has become known for the personal connection that she makes with patients and their families. She is a fierce guardian of safety, especially around infection control, which is extremely important as most of her patients are ventilator, tracheostomy -dependent or in a vegetative state. Under her guidance, her staff provides respect and compassion, treating patients who often cannot respond. Shawn Aguirre, MSN, RN is a 2016 Hospital Hero. When heavy rain poured down on Brea Canyon road during rush hour causing a minor accident that pushed a woman's car into the hill, 20 -year-old Bryce Kulasxa had just left work and pulled over to see if he could help. As Bryce walked back to his truck, he heard a screech and saw a large GMC Sierra sliding out of control. Suddenly, the Cal State Fullerton student was laying underneath the truck in pain and shock. The next thing he remembers is a woman tapping him on his shoulder telling him to "stay with them." That woman was St. Jude Medical Center nurse educator, Shawn Aguirre. For the next 30 minutes, Shawn lay under the truck to calm Bryce while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She called Bryce's mom using his cell phone and stayed with her on the phone until paramedics transported him to the hospital. Tommy Covington, RN is a 2016 Hospital Hero. He served 4 years in the Navy as a hospital corpsman, treating wounded soldiers from Vietnam until 1968. Spurred by a shortage in male nurses, he earned a nursing degree and joined Children's Hospital Los Angeles in 1970. Since 1975, he has worked the night shift - 7 pm to 7 am - on the hematology-oncology floor. He credits his military background for his tireless work ethic and poise when dealing with difficult patient health situations. Covington has remained in contact with many Children's Hospital families. One family, whose child died 20 years ago, joins him on fishing trips. "We email, we talk, and we reminisce about their child we took care of and the love we shared," he says. "Love is the reason I do what I do." National Health Foundation is a nonprofit that is dedicated to improving the health of individuals and underserved communities by taking action on the social determinants of health and bridging gaps in the health care system. National Health Foundation's vision is that all people, regardless of who they are or where they live, can achieve their highest level of health.