Henok Kassa

Oct. 25, 2021
Henok Kassa

Transporter’s effusive nature improves patient outcomes

Henok Kassa is a numbers guy.

Eight. That’s the number of years he worked in Ethiopia as an accountant before moving to Colorado, a place he calls, “opportunity land.”

17,500: That’s about the number of steps he walks during a shift as a patient transporter at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

10: Number of hours in a shift.

Four: Number of years he’s worked at UCH.

And two. That’s the number of times he’s had to help perform CPR on patients he was transporting.

“It’s a little stressful, but I knew what to do thanks to the Basic Life Support training we get,” said Kassa.

On a recent run, Kassa was pushing a patient in a wheelchair back to her room following her procedure in the endoscopy clinic. Kassa, who is friendly and chatty, began asking the patient a few questions during the journey from AOP to her room.

“Henok is always smiling and engaging with patients,” said Kriste Crespi, patient transport manager. “He’s truly interested in hearing about their day or about books they are reading, and patients appreciate the interactions.”

This time, however, the patient wasn’t responding.

“I couldn’t see her face because I was pushing her in the wheelchair, but I felt like something was wrong,” said Kassa who stopped and saw that she was dizzy, pale and not breathing well. He immediately called for help. Some nearby nurses ran to his aid and called a Code Blue.

“He definitely saved her life,” said Crespi. “It was a long walk back to her room, and had he not stopped to check on her, she may not have survived.”

Kassa checked to make sure the patients were ok.

“That they are alive is the most important thing,” said Kassa.

Kassa loved working with patient transport, but he made the decision to join the pharmacy team. He’s studying to be a pharmacy technician.

“I see my future here,” he said.

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About the author

Molly Blake is a communications specialist for UCHealth. She joined the team in 2019. Molly spent much of her journalism career freelance writing for various publications including The New York Times, NBC news, alumni magazines and more. She is the proud spouse of a United States Marine Corps veteran, and wrote extensively about their life in the military.

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