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Thea Nolan Honored with Josie King Hero Award

Thea Nolan, Physician Assistant IR
Thea Nolan, PA-C

Thea Nolan, Physician Assistant from Interventional Radiology Services, has been named this quarter’s Medical Center Josie King Hero Award recipient. The award was presented to Thea at the Medical Center Leader Town Hall on Wednesday, September 1, by Medical Center President Michael Gustafson, MD. 

Thea spoke up and escalated a concern she had with patients who had implantable ports experiencing leakage. This escalation led to an investigation and discovery of entity-wide issues with ports of a certain lot number. The Medical Center filed formal FDA events to notify the agency about our concern around defective ports. The issue was also escalated with the device manufacturer, which eventually led to a recall by the company. The Medical Center recently received a certificate from the FDA commending the organization and recognizing how our early reporting of the issue led to a national recall and helped to prevent harm in other institutions. 

Thea’s courageous actions to escalate a concern to protect her patients is a great example of the power of speaking up for patient safety and how it can have a tremendous impact – not just for Medical Center patients, but also for patients nationwide. In doing so, it allowed us to react to the issue faster by quickly getting replacement ports and preventing harm to patients on a broad scale. This prevention of significant patient harm, particularly to those cancer patients requiring ports, is a testament to the organization’s goal of zero harm. 

The Josie King Hero Award, named after 18-month-old Josie King who died in 2001 from medical errors, was created by the Josie King Foundation to be given to those who work hard to create a culture of patient safety by listening to the patient/family, encouraging them to speak up and ask questions, improving communication, improving teamwork, looking for the good catches, and fixing near misses before they harm a patient. More than 250,000 people die every year from medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Josie King Hero Award 

Josie King Hero Award

The Hero Award was created by the Josie King Foundation to be given to those who work hard to create a culture of patient safety – by listening to the patient/family; encouraging them to speak up and ask questions; improving communication; improving teamwork; looking for the good catches (near misses) and fixing those near misses before they harm a patient. This quarterly award is for those who set an example for others every day and who inspire positive change at our Medical Center.

Text on the backside of the award:

Thank you for all that you do each day as you care for patients and their families.

Thank you for listening to them and for answering their questions when they are confused and afraid.

Thank you for being brave and for never being afraid to speak up when something does not seem right to you. 
Thank you for looking for the near misses finding them and fixing them so that your patients will never be harmed. Thank you for the good catches. Thank you for inspiring others to be the best.

By working hard to improve communication and teamwork you create a culture of patient safety, which is making a difference.

Thank you for being a hero 

~ The Josie King Foundation