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Tenet recognizes five for their efforts
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Emergency room registered nurse Jen Vander Maaten gives Ali Movache a hug. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Five Doctors Hospital nurses and respiratory and radiology therapists were awarded the coveted Tenet Heroes Awards — four as a life saving team and another recognizing a radiology technologist lauded for making everyone feel important.

The team of four was recognized for saving the life of the hospital’s “Mr. Coffee” — Ali Movache — after he collapsed with a heart attack in his coffee shack by the main lobby last year.  He was immediately found without a pulse and beginning to turn purple. Registered nurses Kalleen Braiden and Gina Cronin as well as respiratory therapists Micky Brinkman and Darin Shaw were credited for making the difference between life and death for Movache.

Nearly a dozen staffers rushed to the lobby when they heard the Code Blue sounding.

Elieth “Maggie” Gutierrez — a radiology therapist — was honored for her undying kindness to others that became a habit from her childhood. It had become Gutierrez’s family tradition to buy gifts for the needy before buying them for each other. She brought the tradition to Doctors Hospital.

Gutierrez was born in Nicaragua and relocated to America with her family as a young child.  She clearly remembers their lack of money on Christmas. Gutierrez and her siblings had no Christmas lights, no presents and only meager food in their kitchen.  

A “Santa” dressed in street clothes knocked on their door that year to personally deliver goodies with the help of his two sons.  Struck by the generosity of the stranger, Gutierrez made it her personal mission to make everyone feel important. She has done that with the help of her children in assisting strangers in the community.

In the case of reviving Movache, there was a long list from the initial heroes to staffers like Jen Vander Maaten who zapped Movache with the defibrillator to RN Tina Burch who took possession of his car and moved hers out of the family garage to keep his as protected as possible.  Burch spent almost every lunch hour and break in the coffee shack when he returned to work, to keep an eye on Movache to watch for any serious symptoms.

It all began when respiratory therapist Darin Shaw walked into the coffee shack just as Movache dropped to the floor behind his counter.  Shaw checked his friend and found he had no pulse and turning blue — dragging him out into the hospital’s front lobby.  He started CPR and called for an emergency response Code Blue that drew the emergency room staffers to the front of the hospital.  Respiratory therapist Micky Brinkman had been just around the corner with his resuscitator bag in his hand. Jen Vander Maaten brought the crash cart. She was the one to activate the defibrillator — requiring only one shock. Emergency room Dr. Greg Moore was also on the scene.

Movache’s  personal doctor, Karl Wolf, was in the middle of office calls just across North Street.  His patient later visited Movache after he had returned to work a month later wanting to meet him personally.  He said Dr. Wolf had apologized leaving in a rush as he said, “I have to go and save the coffee guy!”

Movache recalled awaking in the emergency room and seeing Dr. Wolf in his face whispering, “You’re going to be OK, you’re going to be OK”  to his patient and long-time friend.

In presenting the Heroes awards to the staffers, CEO Nico Tejeda said, “It’s impressive that this team performed its duties in a non-traditional setting — not in the emergency department or in a patient’s room, but in the hospital lobby.”

Movache was later told that had he had that attack anywhere but a hospital setting, it would no doubt have been fatal.

 “The four lifesavers have also been nominated by the American Red Cross for its own Heroes’ Award,” Tejeda added. “For exemplifying the values of quality and service and for reminding everyone that Doctors Hospital of Manteca succeeds as a team — they are all Tenet Heroes.”