North Suburban Medical Center
September 25, 2020

In late August this year, Cody Grove, a local paramedic with Adams County Fire Rescue, found himself in the North Suburban Emergency Department after transporting a young child to the hospital in Thornton.

The child had swallowed an unknown object, but was awake and breathing well during transport. Additional medical care was needed to identify the object and find the best course of treatment.

That same day, Kasey Wichael, an X-ray technician with North Suburban Medical Center, was supporting the emergency department and was called to the child's room to perform an X-ray. As Wichael prepared for the procedure, the child suddenly started choking.

Wichael immediately called for support and began "back blows" on the child - an appropriate medical approach given the child's age and size. Within seconds, the object was dislodged and Wichael was holding the object in her hand.

Paramedic Grove overheard the sounds and immediately went to his patient's room where he saw Wichael caring for the child.

"When I rounded that corner my heart had sunk, and I expected the worst. Instead I found a crying child with no more airway obstruction," said Grove.

After witnessing the quick actions of the ER staff and Wichael in particular, Grove decided to share the story with his leaders.

"Kasey showed what it means to be a healthcare provider, and what it means to be an amazing person. She showed that everyone in that ED can be the difference between a good outcome and a bad outcome, and that they are willing to act above and beyond the circumstances of their normal duties to make sure the outcomes are good."

Grove's letter made its way to the CEO at North Suburban Medical Center and in response, Wichael was selected as the hospital's Patient Safety Colleague of the Month.

Paramedic Groves attended the ceremony and formally met the healthcare hero he encountered on that day, and Wichael met the thoughtful Paramedic who celebrated her work.

"I find great comfort in knowing that staff at the hospital have the training, wherewithal, and initiative to make the difference in patients' lives and outcomes," said Groves.