Nurses Honored For Saving Inmate’s Life
By DEBORAH A. MILES
Outside the Groveland Correctional Facility in Livingston County, a light snow was falling December 30, 2016. Inside the prison’s infirmary, PEF-represented nurses were caring for inmates who were sick, injured or in need of medication.
Then a medical emergency occurred, as two corrections officers observed an inmate who was unable to walk without assistance and was incoherent. As they were applying CPR, two registered nurses, Kimberly Koronas, and the acting nurse administrator Sue Beck, rushed to the inmate’s dorm where Koronas applied the automated external defibrillator and Beck administered three doses of Narcan to the inmate.
“We were busy that day, but everything stops when a medical emergency occurs. I was working on the clinic side and I was on sick call that day. We just do our jobs. That’s what I felt we did that day. That inmate also has a mother, and that’s what I was thinking about, too, when we revived him, because I am also a mom,” Koronas said.
The inmate was transported to a local hospital for further treatment, and was returned to Groveland CF. And yes, he thanked the nurses and officers for saving his life.
For their quick and decisive action, the nurses and corrections officers were presented with letters of commendation for their efforts by the facility’s executive team. The officers also received plaques in July recognizing their life-saving actions at a New York State American Legion convention where they received applause from more than 600 convention attendees.
“Security enables us to provide medical care to achieve a most favorable outcome. Security really supports the medical staff at Groveland CF. They allow us to do what we have to do for the inmate. We give the best care we can give,” Beck said.
She also credited the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for regular and ongoing training and education that provides knowledge to medical staff which is necessary to perform emergency medical care.
“We are provided with the latest equipment and have a strong foundation of support from other regional and statewide facilities,” Beck said.
Beck has worked at Groveland CF for four years. She said every day is different with nearly 1,000 inmates in the medium-security’s general population. There is a nursing staff of 15 registered nurses who provide 24-hour care every day. They treat a myriad of health-related issues ranging from a common cold to a stroke or heart attack.
Both Beck and Koronas said they felt honored and proud to be recognized for being part of a team that saved someone’s life, but that providing nursing care in a prison environment is most gratifying.
“It is very rewarding to work here,” Koronas said. “Working in a correctional facility is a unique nursing experience. It’s specialized, because along with the population being inmates, they are also human beings. Nurses are caregivers in every situation.”