UDC Clinical Services Receives Public Health Hero Award
The Utah Department of Corrections Clinical Services team was named the 2012 Utah Public Health Hero Award for its response to last year’s high-profile botulism incident. The case impacted approximately a dozen prison inmates after they brewed and consumed an illegal (and, as it turned out, poisonous) substance.
The nomination credited the Draper prison’s medical staff for decreasing the severity of the illness, and even for preventing deaths thanks to its speedy recognition and treatment of the food borne botulism.
The illness is very rare, making it difficult to identify in a timely manner. Prison staff played a critical role in noticing the symptoms and getting them treated before they worsened to an irreparable stage.
The entire prison medical staff earned high praise for its emergency response in a nomination form that was filed with the Utah Public Health Association. Specifically commended for their individual efforts through the emergency situation were Pauline Sturdy, Colleen Guymon, Dr. Richard Garden, Dan Ritter, and Logan Clark.
When inmates began exhibiting symptoms of the illness, nurse Colleen Guymon conducted interviews to help discern exactly which offenders actually had botulism as opposed to which inmates either had less-severe illnesses or were being disingenuous in effort to manipulate the services.
Guymon insisted on sending inmates to the hospital to obtain care needed – She was knowledgeable, responsible, and experienced in dealing with this population, the nomination stated.
Pauline Sturdy had worked extensively with public health to establish an ongoing relationship with allied agencies. She was commended for her participation on conference calls throughout the ordeal, as well as for her efforts to educate staff and inmates during continued efforts to flush out all botulism cases. “Pauline has always supported public health, and her service is exemplary – Her medical/public health knowledge and experience greatly benefits the community,” the nomination said.
Through all the praise for the medical staff’s swift and potentially life-saving response to the extremely rare and high-profile case, Dr. Garden remained humble and honest, stating, “We are just doing our job.”
Public Health officials also thanked clinical services and the prison for allowing officials from the CDC to study the botulism incident as part of a broader effort to benefit public health at large. Health officials hope to turn this life-threatening ordeal into a positive learning experience that will allow them to benefit society by formulating forward-looking lessons.
At a later point, several individuals including Logan were received at an Awards Luncheon by the Utah Public Health Association where they received the Utah Public Health Hero Award (organization). Here are a few pictures from that event.
The second picture is of other award winners for the State of Utah. This is not including the group from the Utah State Prison.