LifeSaver Series: Jeruschia Horton, EvergreenHealth

At LifeCenter Northwest (LCNW), collaborating with local hospitals and medical centers is an essential part of fulfilling our mission of working together to save lives through organ and tissue donation. These partnerships literally make donation possible. From patient care and coordination, and communication between various medical teams, we are dependent on our colleagues within the hospital to help facilitate the gift of life and serve the communities in our region. The importance of these relationships cannot be stressed enough, and here at LCNW we want to recognize our amazing donation partners for all their hard work. In an effort to do this, we established the LifeCenter Northwest LifeSaver Award, presented monthly, to honor those who have made outstanding efforts toward donation. Recipients demonstrate a commitment to improving donation outcomes by providing time, energy, and expertise to ensure the best possible donation program at their hospital. We are proud to announce our May LifeSaver Award winner, Jeruschia Horton of EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WA.

Jeruschia-LifeSaver AwardJeruschia is a charge nurse on the critical care unit (CCU) at EvergreenHealth and a leader for donation on the unit. In a recent organ donation case at the hospital, Jeruschia showed great composure, grace, and leadership in helping to coordinate the donation process. She not only helped maintain the opportunity for donation, but also went the extra mile to assure the family, and her coworkers, felt supported and cared for.

Though this particular case had various complexities, Jeruschia remained calm and focused throughout.  She went above and beyond to work collaboratively with multiple parties. The patient was a registered donor but had not yet been declared brain dead; the family was on the way to the hospital and had expressed wishes to withdrawal ventilated support upon arrival; the physicians needed to discuss brain death testing with the family weren’t readily available; and the bedside nurse was feeling anxious about trying  to comfort the family with delays in withdrawal.

Jeruschia worked behind the scenes to incorporate the LCNW team into her planning.  She was able to support the bedside nurse and contacted the physicians needed for brain death testing and bring them to the unit in a timely matter. She also organized a huddle between key hospital stakeholders and the LCNW clinical team to discuss all components of the situation and make a plan. Once the plan was set, things moved ahead smoothly. Because of Jeruschia’s hard work the hospital was able to accommodate both the wishes of the patient and the family, while simultaneously supporting the staff involved. The leadership and dedication exhibited by Jeruschia resulted in lives being saved; three organs were able to be transplanted giving two individuals a second chance at life.

Thank you, Jeruschia, for championing donation and saving lives!