Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare receives top honors during Tennessee Hospital Association Annual Meeting

Ugwueke named CEO of Distinction; Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital care team receives COVID-19 Healthcare Hero award
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare President and CEO, Michael Ugwueke, DHA, FACHE, was honored with the THA CEO of Distinction Award, the organization's highest honor, recognizing exceptional leadership and service to the healthcare field in a Chief Executive's career.

(PRNewsfoto/Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare)
(PRNewsfoto/Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare)

Ugwueke's honor is one of two of the THA's top awards Methodist received at the organization's Annual Meeting held this week in Franklin, Tenn.

With more than 30 years' experience in healthcare, Ugwueke began his career at MLH in 2007 as CEO of Methodist South Hospital. Two years later, he took on the dual role of CEO of Methodist North Hospital as well to his scope of responsibility. In 2013, Ugwueke was appointed chief operating officer for the MLH system before becoming president and CEO in 2017.

"Michael encourages an open and collaborative working relationship within the MLH workforce that includes 13,000 MLH Associates and 2,500 provider members of the MLH medical staff," said Richard Aycock, MD, gastroenterologist and medical staff representative of the MLH Board of Directors. "We share his goals of advancing healthcare quality and improving healthcare access for all. He leads by example, demonstrating across the MLH system the importance of being at our best, every day, for those we serve.

"Michael's commitment to transparency, communication and preparedness fosters a calm confidence across our team, especially as we continue to navigate this pandemic together," added Aycock.

The THA also honored pulmonologist Paul Deaton, MD, and registered nurses Callie Lillard and Hanan McNamee with Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, with the COVID-19 Healthcare Hero Award for their work in caring for a severely ill pregnant patient during the early months of the pandemic.

"It's a special calling to be a nurse or medical professional, maybe even more so now," said Aycock. "Throughout this pandemic, we continue to see shining examples of unparalleled courage and compassion. The COVID-19 Healthcare Hero award collectively recognizes three individuals for their unwavering dedication to overall patient care, one patient at a time."

The team of Deaton, Lillard and McNamee united together in the care of Susie Espinoza, who was admitted to the hospital in May 2020 with a severe COVID infection while she was 26 weeks pregnant. Days after she was admitted to the hospital, Espinoza was intubated and placed in a medically induced coma and remained that way for months as caregivers fought to save her life. At 32 weeks pregnant, Espinoza delivered her son, Brandon, by C-Section while still in a coma.

Throughout her hospitalization, the team stayed in constant contact with Espinoza's family and made sure to document Brandon's first weeks with photo collages they posted in her hospital room, giving her one more reason to stay strong. The team provided not only medical care but also placed priority on her emotional well-being, by continuing to talk with Espinoza even during her two-month coma.

"What took place during that time was nothing short of a miracle only by the grace of God and the caring hands of Dr. Deaton, Callie and Hanan," said Espinoza. "They are more than heroes to me. They are now my family."

Today, Espinoza is home with her family and is rebuilding her strength.

For a complete list of this year's THA award honorees, please visit THA.com.

About Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare:

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has been caring for patients and families regardless of ability to pay for more than 100 years. Guided by roots in the United Methodist Church and founded in 1918 to help meet the growing need for quality healthcare in the greater Memphis area, MLH has grown from one hospital into a comprehensive healthcare system with 13,000 Associates supporting six hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, hospice residence and physician practices serving communities across the Mid-South. From transplants and advanced heart procedures to expert neurology services and compassionate cancer care, MLH offers clinical expertise with a focus on improving every life we touch.

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SOURCE Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

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