Denise McCoy, Suncoast Hospice Respiratory Therapist

Denise McCoy, Suncoast Hospice Respiratory Therapist

Congratulations to our January Impact award winner, Denise McCoy, a respiratory therapist with Suncoast Hospice, a member of Empath Health.

McCoy joined the organization in 2016 and cares for patients with respiratory conditions in our Care Centers and in patients homes in mid- and south Pinellas County. She teaches oxygen education and safety during new employee orientation and helps with oxygen emergency preparation during hurricane season.

“I feel very blessed to work for Empath Health. I work with many wonderful people,” says McCoy. “Most importantly I feel honored helping our patients and families through their difficult transition ahead.”

The monthly Impact Award recognizes and celebrates staff for their positive impact on others, demonstration of our values and above-and-beyond service.

Here is an excerpt from McCoy’s nomination:

“The first time I placed a respiratory consult, I sent Denise to see a patient with pulmonary fibrosis. This was a terminal patient who loved his life. He had realistic expectations as to the progression and decline of his disease process. He wanted nothing more than to enjoy his last months and have enhanced quality of life to do so.  He loved his family, he loved his sports teams, he loved his food, and ultimately, he loved his respiratory therapist, Denise McCoy.  Denise became a staple in our patient’s weeks. Our patient made the comment to me, that his life became so much better when he relinquished traditional medicine, and he chose hospice.  I credit Denise for this. Each time our patient’s respiratory effort would decline, Denise would pull another trick out of her bag so he could continue to enjoy his life. Denise would adjust his oxygen, suggest nebulizer treatments for better oxygenation, she suggested a morphine order just when he needed it. Once she caught a respiratory infection really quickly and immediately requested I order him antibiotics. She caught this infection quickly because she would often just stop by to see how he was doing and say hi. Our patient lived alone and he enjoyed company.

Every time I called Denise when our patient would become compromised she showed up within the hour or sooner.  She reduced his fear for the time when he would become imminent, with him having the knowledge he would be comfortable due to Denise’s consistency and care.  

Ultimately, when our patient endured his last respiratory crisis, Denise showed up 10 minutes after I called her, made sure he was comfortable and when it was decided our patient would go to the St. Petersburg Care Center, Denise was willing to ride with the ambulance if needed. She assisted the medics in setting up the special machine that she had placed this patient on a few months prior, the machine that enhanced his life and, more than likely, ultimately prolonged this patient’s life. A life he truly enjoyed, until his last breath.”

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