Red Cross Honors North Colorado Medical Center ICU

NCMC Staff receive the Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming Lifesaving Hero Organization of the Year Award.

A New Mexico man, Jose Graciano, considered one of Colorado’s most severely ill COVID-19 patients, spent more than five months on a ventilator at Banner Health’s North Colorado Medical Center ICU before receiving a double lung transplant. The staff who cared for Graciano never gave up on him, which just might have made the difference between life and death.

For their compassion and lifesaving acts, North Colorado Medical Center ICU received the Lifesaving Hero Organization of the Year at the American Red Cross Heroes Soirée on Saturday, March 18.

Graciano was in northern Colorado for work when he was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. Quickly his condition worsened, and he was placed on a ventilator. He was told his likelihood of surviving was low. Graciaco was too sick to receive the double lung transplant he needed to live.

“I think that a turning point was how much he was demonstrating how strong he was becoming. The day he started walking with the ventilator, he was showing our staff that he wasn’t going to give up. I think it led to symbolism with the staff that we weren’t giving up either,” said Dr. Angela Mills, Chief Medical Officer.

The staff at NCMC was able to get Jose healthy enough that, after five months, he could be transferred to a hospital in Albuquerque to be closer to home and family. He was later transferred to a hospital in Phoenix to receive a lung transplant and is now on the rapid road to recovery.

“All the nurses, the people who work here, the work that they do, they are my heroes because they took care of me,” said Graciano.

Graciana and his wife came back to Colorado last September to visit and say thank you to the staff and NCMC. They nominated the hospital for the Red Cross Hero of the Year Award and will attend the Heroes Soirèe this Saturday to celebrate and thank the NCMC staff again.

North Colorado Medical Center ICU received its award on Saturday, March 18 at the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming Rocky Mountain Heroes Soirèe. The event celebrates incredible heroes like the NCMC staff and benefits the Red Cross.

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