In December 2017, Sergeant Guy Bouvet, Sergeant Vivian Brown, Correctional Officer Ashley Watson, and Control Room Operator Gary Dougherty were presented with a patient who was in full cardiac arrest. While we cannot tell you exactly what happened next due to federal patient privacy and confidentiality laws, we can tell you that this team did not freeze. They reacted to the situation in a professional manner and did not leave the patient’s side until the medical team for the facility could arrive.

Once called, Nurse Tracy Hammitt and Nurse John Kling responded. Nurse Hammitt and Nurse Kling both assisted the first responders in resuscitating the patient. Neither Nurse Hammitt, Nurse Kling, nor the team that first responded left the patient’s side until EMS could arrive. Nurse Hammitt,  Nurse Kling, Sergeant Guy Bouvet, Sergeant Vivian Brown, Correctional Officer Ashley Watson and Control Room Operator Gary Dougherty saved the patient’s life.

Saving a life is a team effort. To celebrate their actions and recognize all individuals involved, Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. (ACH) presented the Lifesaving Award, an award to honor non-medical first responders, Sergeant Guy Bouvet, Sergeant Vivian Brown, Correctional Officer Ashley Watson, and Control Room Operator Gary Dougherty. These individuals performed an exceptional act under emergency conditions, where the action rendered directly resulted in sustaining a human life. Nurse Hammitt and Nurse Kling were both presented with A Golden Stethoscope, an award specifically for medical staff when they save a life.

Many people wonder, why does anyone die in jail? The media will tell you it is because the medical care is terrible, but those of us who work in corrections know the truth.

The truth is that our patients pose unique challenges for the medical and mental health teams. Our patients generally do not or cannot access health care outside of jail, and they usually do not know their family’s medical history. Our team does a lot of good things for a population that otherwise, oftentimes, would not receive any health care at all.

For example, we provide mental health treatment for people who are self-medicating with drugs, which causes them to end up in jail. We provide prenatal care for a significant number of women who otherwise would not receive it in the community. We provide dental care for people who quite literally have never sought dental care their entire lives.

We take a population of people who statistically do not (or cannot) take care of themselves and address their needs. Our people are improving public health.

Thank you to this lifesaving team for their commitment to our patients’ health and safety. ACH appreciates you!

ACH is the nation’s largest health care provider for county jails. Headquartered in Illinois, ACH’s team of over 900 people across 17 states treats an average daily population of over 36,000 patients.