By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – A bilingual nurse at Women & Infants Hospital who, while in mid-air, helped a Spanish-speaking man having health issues, was recently recognized as the 2012 Home Loan Unsung Hero Award. The award is given annually to nurses who perform heroic acts above and beyond the scope of their regular jobs, according to hospital officials.
Lizbeth Graham, RN, who works in health and nursing education at the hospital, was flying back from her native Bolivia with her sick father when an elderly gentleman with multiple medical problems began experiencing shortness of breath on their flight.
Graham and a doctor on the plane responded to help. The man spoke only Spanish, so Graham translated as she helped the doctor identify the problems and remained calm for the patient.
The award was created six years ago after the hospital received a $10,000 donation from Home Loan President and CEO John Murphy. The money was placed in an endowment and the interest is awarded annually to a Women & Infants nurse or nurses who have performed a heroic act.
Murphy was inspired by the bravery of Women & Infants’ nurse Christine Provencal, who jumped into the Providence River on a cold December day in 2003 to rescue a woman whose car had plunged into the icy waters.
Sheri Boucher, of the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, received an honorable mention. Boucher has served in the military for the past 18 years and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves as an air evacuation flight nurse transporting injured soldiers from the field to the nearest hospital for medical treatment. She is stationed in Afghanistan and has made multiple trips transporting wounded soldiers to a military hospital in Germany.
“The nurses at Women & Infants perform heroic acts as part of their jobs every single day. The Unsung Hero Award is a way we and the community recognize their skills and compassion,” said Angelleen Peters-Lewis, senior vice president of patient care services at Women & infants.