Best Care in Action: UTMB employee exemplifies how compassionate care can help patients—and their beloved pets

Feb 17, 2017, 16:14 PM by KirstiAnn Clifford
JudyandDog
Taking care of patients’ four-legged friends is not part of Judy Trevino’s job description.

But that didn’t stop the medical lab scientist at UTMB’s Angleton Danbury Campus from showing compassion when a newly admitted patient needed help.

Trevino, who spends most of her time in the Angleton Danbury Hospital lab, was recently called to the ICU to help a phlebotomist who was having trouble drawing blood from an uncooperative patient. When she got there, she started talking to the male patient as she worked and noticed he was crying.

“I knew I didn’t hurt him when I drew the blood, so I asked what was wrong,” Trevino recalled.

His response came as a surprise. Earlier in the day, he had been pulled over by law enforcement after he had been observed swerving across lanes of traffic. The sheriff’s deputy quickly determined the man was in the midst of a medical emergency. An ambulance took the driver directly to the UTMB ADC Hospital and his truck was towed away—with his beloved dog inside.

“He was crying because he was very worried about his dog,” said Trevino. “He didn’t know who had his dog or if it was fed. So I told him that I would locate the dog and would take care of it until he got out of the hospital. He immediately perked up and said, ‘You would do that for me?’”

Trevino reassured the patient that she doesn’t make promises she can’t keep and called the sheriff ’s department to track down the man’s truck and dog. She learned the dog had been left with the owner of an auto shop where the truck was impounded and arranged to pick it up.

For the next several days, Trevino took care of the dog, a toy Pomeranian, while the patient recovered in the hospital—she even made sure the dog was fed its usual diet. When it was time for the man to be discharged, she returned the dog to a very grateful owner.

“The man said I was his angel,” said Trevino. “All I did was take care of his dog, which was the cutest little thing, but I am really glad that I could do that for someone, especially since he didn’t have any family living nearby.”

Trevino acknowledged that not everyone is able to take a patient’s pet home with them, but it’s the added personal touch that makes all the difference. Her supervisor, Monica Watkins agreed, and said she was proud to have Trevino as an employee.

“Sometimes we get moving so fast that we overlook that personal piece, but Judy took the time to listen to the patient and truly provide Best Care,” she said. “By taking care of the dog, the patient had one less thing to worry about and was able to focus on his own healing. Sometimes the healing process depends on that personal touch. We could all take a lesson from Judy. Her actions are a reminder that no matter what our positions are, we can help UTMB provide Best Care by putting our best face forward to every patient, every time.”