PHIL Award: Respiratory Therapist’s Advocacy Honored


Richard Williams, Chief Nursing Officer Tami Putney, MSN, RN, NE-BC, and Director of Nursing Practice and Professional Development Jennifer Standfest, MSN, RN, NE-BC, celebrate. Below Richard with Respiratory Care Manager Deb Kerner, LRN, RRT-NPS.

Respiratory therapist Richard Williams, LRT, RRT, made history by becoming the first Munson Medical Center respiratory therapist to receive the national PHIL Award™ for exceptional respiratory care. In a year when hospital respiratory therapists have played important roles in caring for COVID-19 patients, nine members of the team at the hospital received nominations for the award.

“I want to thank all of you for the care you deliver to our patients every day,” said Chief Nursing Officer Tami Putney, MSN, RN, NE-BC.

“I was really surprised,” Richard said following a short recognition ceremony in front of his colleagues in the department. “I try and do the best I can do for my patients, like I would do for my own family.”

Respiratory Care Week

The award was presented during national Respiratory Care Week, which recognizes the role the 68 therapists at the hospital play in helping patients with lung diseases, traumatic injuries, and other breathing challenges from the Emergency Room to NICU, ICU, COVID-19 unit.

The award is the only nationally recognized hospital-based program that honors respiratory therapists. Nominations can come from patients, their family members, and other caregivers. It was started by the Michigan-based FACES Foundation, founded in 2006 by Sharman Lamka to honor her husband, Phil, who died as a result of complications from an Interstitial Lung Disease.

A respiratory therapist at the hospital since 2003, Richard was nominated for the honor by a speech pathologist Beth Westrate who witnessed firsthand his advocacy for a young patient who was involved in a motor vehicle accident and received a tracheotomy.

“When it was time to start trialing this patient with a speaking valve, Richard was an incredible advocate for moving things along and allowing the patient to wear the valve as much as possible,” Beth wrote. “Richard’s coordination and communication skills with me were flawless and it made a somewhat complicated case less stressful, which allowed the patient to receive the best care. I could tell that he cared deeply that this patient and all his patients have the best possible outcomes.”

Advocate for Patients

Richard’s advocacy for the patient played a “huge role” in the eventual removal the tracheotomy tube. 

“This is only one example of a critically ill patient Richard has championed incredible care for,” Beth said.

In addition to a framed certificate, Richard received a specially created sculpture called “Appreciation.”

Respiratory Care Manager Deb Kerner, LRT, RRT-NPS, said the department’s Unit Action Council was instrumental in bringing the award to Munson Medical Center.

Congratulations to Richard and all of our respiratory therapists who make an amazing impact on the lives of our patients and community.