Hospital workers 'pizza' it forward

June 12, 2013

In the midst of caring for nearly 40 patients injured by a tornado that touched down in North Texas, Lake Granbury Medical Center (LGMC) Emergency Department Director Ann Quinlan, RN, was handed 14 pizzas.

What she didn’t realize at first was that LGMC had just become the latest recipient in a series of goodwill pizza deliveries that began with the Boston marathon.

An ED nurse in North Carolina wanted to show her appreciation to the emergency workers responding to the bombing by having pizzas delivered to the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency department.

The sentiment, from one ED to another, acknowledged how physically and emotionally overwhelming such events can be.

A few days later, the staff at Mass General was quick to repay the favor by sending an order of pizzas to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center were ED workers were caring for people injured in the fertilizer plant explosion in West.

The gift was so appreciated by Hillcrest that an ED nurse paid it forward to LGMC when she heard about the tornado nearby.

When Quinlan accepted the delivery, she was so focused on making sure everything continued to run smoothly in the ED that it took a moment to understand what was happening.

Quinlan listened to the delivery person read the message that came with the pizzas that said, “We wanted you to know that we are thinking of you.” The gesture was simple, yet so sincere, that it nearly brought Quinlan to tears.

After the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore was devastated by another tornado on May 21, Quinlan felt compelled to do something to help.

She picked up the phone and called in an order of pizzas to the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.

“It’s hard to explain how it feels to know someone you’ve never met is thinking of you,” Quinlan said.

“These kinds of emergencies aren’t just one night of hard work. They take a toll on staff. This kind of gesture meant more to our staff than words can explain.”

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