“I was seeing a patient who was very upset and anxious and beginning to show signs that she might transition to physical aggression. I told the patient that I needed to step out and would be right back,” said Liz Mort, MD, senior vice president of Quality & Safety and chief Quality officer. “When I did step out, Georgina Thompson, a medical assistant in Women’s Health Associates and one of the best medical assistants I have ever had the privilege of working with, was standing there about to knock to see if I was OK. She had called security and alerted the medical director of the practice. Georgina demonstrated best practice in thinking about staff and patient safety. Thank you, Georgina, for, literally, having my back.”

This story was included in one of 49 nominations – demonstrating extraordinary dedication to safety – shared during the ninth annual Patient Safety Stars Appreciation Breakfast March 12. The celebratory event, hosted by the Lawrence Center for Quality & Safety, kicked off Patient Safety Awareness Week, during which the hospital celebrates its staff and hosts various educational programs, focusing on key safety themes.

Nominated by their peers, Patient Safety Stars go above and beyond in their efforts to improve and enhance patient safety at the MGH. This year, 39 individuals and 10 teams – a new addition to the awards – were honored as Safety Stars.

“Four hundred individuals over the past eight years have been recognized,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president. “This year we hope to further strengthen our culture of safety by recognizing teams as well as individuals. These awardees are pursuing the most important actions that care providers possibly can – taking great care of our patients today, learning from that care, and providing better and safer care tomorrow.”

As was demonstrated by Thompson and many other of the nominations read at the breakfast, staff safety is as important as patient safety. “Keeping ourselves safe is a critical part of providing safe care for our patients and families,” said Mort. “Staff safety is one of our institutional Quality and Safety goals in this year’s plan.”

Visit apollo.massgeneral.org/safetystars to see all the awardees and their nominations, as well as a video from the breakfast. The Safety Stars will be highlighted throughout the year on the homepage.

Read more articles from the 03/23/18 Hotline issue.