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Home Care Heroism
How a prescription delivery morphed into a life-saving venture.

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Rick Serrano and Eleanora Yale
Rick Serrano catches up with Eleanora Yale in a more relaxed state.

Rick Serrano still doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. “I was just doing my job,” says the Johns Hopkins Home Care driver. Terry Barcikowski, senior medical office coordinator in the Department of Medicine, begs to differ.

On a snowy afternoon last February, Serrano pulled up behind Eleanora Yale’s home. Yale—Barcikowski’s mother—saw the truck coming and walked through her alley to accept the package. After signing for it, she told Serrano not to bother carrying it into the house for her. “I like the snow,” she said.

Moments later, as Serrano was preparing to leave, he saw the elderly woman slip and fall on an icy patch. Serrano did an about-face. “I told her not to move, in case she broke a bone,” recalls Serrano, who was also concerned that the woman might go into shock. He grabbed a couple of blankets from his truck, called 911 and reported the incident to Barcikowski. After making sure Yale was safely in the hands of paramedics, Serrano went on to make another delivery.

By the time Barcikowski arrived, the ambulance was about to leave. “I’d hoped to thank him in person,” she says. Barcikowski relies on home care deliveries for her daughter Katie, who has cystic fibrosis. “It was so cold that if he hadn’t stayed with my mom, she might not be here today.”

The next morning, Yale, who’d broken her foot in the mishap, called Serrano’s supervisor to express her gratitude. “He was an angel,” she told Mitra Gavgani, director of Pharmaquip Infusion Services and Pediatrics at Home.

Serrano, who’s been on the job eight months, typically makes 22 daily deliveries throughout Baltimore. In addition to dropping off meds, he assists with bed set-ups and liquid oxygen and teaches families how to use equipment safely.

Honored at a recent employee recognition event, Serrano will be featured in an upcoming issue of Infusion Magazine. “Usually the clinicians, nurses and pharmacists get the attention,” says Gavgani, who pitched the story. “But they can’t do their jobs without exceptional behind-the-scenes people, like Rick.” This past quarter, Home Care received more than 100 compliments about their staff of 400. Serrano admits he’s grateful for the recognition. “The best part about my job,” he says, “is that you feel like you’re helping people and getting paid for it.”

–Judy F. Minkove

 

 

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