OCH Regional Medical Center recently recognized Postpartum/Pediatrics Registered Nurse Abby Richardson with the DAISY Award. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day. Richardson was selected for the award based off of two nominations from former patients.

Colin Kennedy was admitted to OCH just days before Christmas for a collapsed lung.

“Throughout my six day stay at OCH, I loved every nurse who walked through my door, but there was something so special about Abby,” wrote Colin Kennedy in the DAISY nomination form.

As a healthy, competitive swimmer with Starkville Shockwave and Starkville High School, 17-year-old Kennedy never expected to spend Christmas in the hospital. Kennedy was admitted through the OCH Emergency Room after a diagnosis of a collapsed lung due to COVID.

“Initially, we were afraid for Colin after his diagnosis of a collapsed lung,” said Julie Kennedy, Colin Kennedy’s mother. “The prompt and professional actions by OCH staff, especially Abby Richardson’s kind demeanor and genuine concern for Colin, quickly alleviated our worries.”

“Abby felt like family to me,” wrote Colin Kennedy. “One of the hardest things about being in the hospital was not being able to see my other family members due to COVID-19, but she changed that.  She was so genuine, and I am so grateful for how encouraging and helpful she was to my mom and me throughout my hospital stay. She truly was the best.”

Kennedy was transferred to UMMC for surgery after his collapsed lung didn't respond to treatment.

When Kennedy’s right lung didn’t respond to treatment, he was transferred to University of Mississippi Medical Center for surgery, and even then, Kennedy and his mother said Richardson continued to check on them.

“Abby checked in daily with my mom to see how I was doing and asked if there was anything she could do to help. This brought joy to me, knowing that she was still checking in on me, even though I was released from her care,” wrote Kennedy.

Three weeks after the surgery on his right lung, Kennedy was sitting in class when his left lung collapsed.

"That's something you never forget what it feels like," he said.

Kennedy went back to UMMC for surgery, this time, on his left lung. Even months after being discharged from OCH, Richardson continued to stay in touch with Julie Kennedy, receiving updates on Colin's health. She was glad to hear the latest update; he recently renewed his lifeguard certification and is ready for his summer job at the pool.

Richardson was also nominated by an adult female patient who wrote, “Abby was such an amazing person when she took care of me last year. I knew she was a good person with a great spirit. We need more people like Abby who are willing to help in any way she can.  I loved the smile she brought to my room. It went a long way to make me feel better.”

Richardson, who has worked at OCH since October 2019, said she chose nursing because she wanted to make an impact on others.

“I always want others to feel loved, seen, heard, cared for and valued at all times,” said Richardson. “I am beyond honored to be a recipient of the DAISY Award. Hearing how I have impacted patients brought tears to my eyes and such joy to my heart. I truly love being a nurse. It is the most rewarding job, and I could not imagine doing anything else.”

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family. Barnes died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.)  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

To nominate an OCH nurse for the DAISY Award, visit och.org/daisy-award-nominations.

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