Published on February 25, 2019

Parkview Honored by Red Cross as Pueblo Heroes

(Pueblo, CO, Feb. 22, 2019) –  Parkview Medical Center is proud to have been honored twice by the American Red Cross during this week’s Hometown Heroes Awards dinner.

The nurses working in Parkview’s nursery and neonatal intensive care unit and the team of service dogs who brighten people’s days and make our patients and staff safer were honored with the Community Partner and Animal Hero awards respectively.

The nurses were honored for the exemplary work in the technically and emotionally difficult arena of assessing and treating newborns suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, meaning the infants are born addicted to controlled substances introduced in the womb and are suffering withdrawal symptoms.

The nurses were nominated for recognition by a team of “cuddlers”, volunteers who work to comfort the babies.

“These nurses are heroes because they are called to do this work and to be the protectors of the innocent; protectors against pain and discomfort, against the odds, and perhaps even against those who originally inflicted this condition upon them,” the nomination form read. “They are heroes because they embody experience, compassion, and impartial service to those in need.”

The nomination goes on to tell stories of how the nurses work as a team to evaluate the babies and determine the course of their care and singles out an event where an infant began seizing the nurse knew immediately what was happening and arranged a helicopter flight to a facility for a higher level of care.

“The nurses must evaluate what course of life is best for the baby, either returning to their mothers or going into foster care,” the nomination said. “If the former, the nurses work tirelessly with moms on bonding, feeding, changing, and overall caring for a baby while providing countless resources to the families. If the latter, they must arrange for social services to intervene. It’s a reality that’s tough for most of us to even think about, but to the nurses on the NICU, it’s their daily work.”


Three black Labrador retrievers a pretty common sight around Parkview Medical Center’s campus and the affable pups spend their busy days doing distinct and important duties for the Medical Center.

River, Sarge and Celie each are heroes in their own way to Parkview Medical Center and the community for Pueblo.

River is a key piece in an expanded security infrastructure at Parkview Medical Center designed to keep illicit narcotics and controlled substances out of the hospital. River is trained to detect those drugs and alert veteran Parkview Security Officer Arlene Workman to their presence.

River works side-by-side with Workman as she rounds the hospital and visits each of Parkview Medical Center’s security checkpoints.

While River’s focus is to detect illegal drugs and marijuana in the hospital, it’s hoped that his presence will discourage people from trying to bring the drugs into the hospital in the first place.

The work is important because illicit narcotics can interfere with other medications patients are taking, and opioids from outside can have a compounding and dangerous effect if they are combined with other medicines prescribed by doctors on patient floors.

While River is just in his seventh month, his presence combined with the other security measures seems to be having an effect. From January to August of 2018, there were 25 incidents where Narcan, a life-saving medication used to counteract an opioid overdose, was used on a patient floor (rather than following surgery or in the emergency room). Since the new security apparatus was put implemented, that number has dropped to zero.

Sarge has been with Parkview Medical Center a little more than two years now, helping patients at the Parkview Center for Rehabilitation get back on their feet. Patients interact with Sarge in different ways, depending on their needs. Some play fetch, others walk with him, others play tug. The varied, seemingly normal interactions can help the patient work on different aspects of balance and strength depending on their needs.

Therapists have said patients who work with Sarge often are happier and work harder at their rehabilitation, which can help improve patient outcomes in the long run.

Parkview’s third black Lab, Celie, hardly goes anywhere without some sensible accessories: A flower pinned to her collar and happy-go-lucky attitude that’s the kind of infectious quality welcome in a health care facility.

Celie is Parkview’s outreach dog, bringing moments of happiness and fun to staff, visitors and patients alike at the hospital. Celie helps people stay positive, and a good attitude helps morale and the healing process.

About Parkview Medical Center

Founded in 1923, Parkview Health System in Pueblo, Colorado, offers general acute healthcare and health specialty services. As a private, non-profit organization, Parkview is licensed for 350 beds and provides a full range of healthcare services including a verified Level III Trauma Center along with exceptional comprehensive cardiac and orthopedic care. Parkview Health System is the leader in all service lines in our service area. As a vital healthcare source, Parkview’s service area includes Pueblo County and 14 surrounding counties, which together represent 370,000 total lives.

Parkview Health System is the largest non-government, nonprofit, private sector employer in Pueblo County with approximately 3,000 employees and provides a skilled medical staff of over 370 physicians. The impact of our workforce triggers a strong impact on the community as Parkview’s annual payroll contributes $232 million to the economy.