The Cellphone Story

The Cell Phone Story
Patient Name : Diane Lansverk

Tuesday morning, a patient complained of a missing cell phone. “I remember it was a Tuesday because Monday had been a holiday,” Diane Lansverk, nurse operations manager, explains.

“I placed my cell phone on the bedside table last night,” the patient had said. “That was the last time I saw it.” He reenacted placing the phone beside him, and the Pat Johnson, nurse, noticed the trashcan directly underneath. She realized the phone must have fallen into the trash.

“We looked everywhere for that phone. We searched under the bed, in the garbage can and in the linen hamper for his phone. We even checked the utility room on the floor,” shares Diane. But the searching did not produce the missing cell phone. It was nowhere to be found.

“The night tech removed the garbage at 6 AM and put the bag in the utility room. The housekeeping personnel picked up the garbage that morning and put it, along with the rest of the garbage from Lucerne, into the big dumpster outside of the kitchen,” Diane says.

Diane called Ed Batton, manager of housekeeping, and together they met outside by the dumpster. Monday had been a holiday and the dumpster was exceptionally full. The summer heat prolonged over the holiday had created an obnoxious odor. “I rang the number for the cell phone and we heard nothing,” Diane recalls. The humidity and heat already hung in the morning air. She dialed again. They heard nothing. Several times she tried, but neither could hear the ring.

Discouraged, but knowing they had done all they could do, Diane went to inform the patient that they could not find his phone. When she explained the situation, the patient was more upset about losing all his work numbers than the actual phone. Diane assured him she would work on replacing his phone, but she knew she could not replace all his contacts.

Half an hour later, Diane received a call from Ed. “We found the phone. Would you like to return it to the patient,” he asked. Knowing the patient would be overjoyed, she insisted Ed return it himself. “How in the world did you find that phone?” she asked.

Ed had returned to housekeeping and said, “We have a job. We need to find a phone.” And with that he and three of his team members, Paul Fritz, Luz Fernandez and Jean Joseph, pulled bag after bag out the trash continually calling the number. When they got to the bottom and back of the dumpster, they finally heard the muffled ring.

“They did not have to do what they did, going through all of that garbage, enduring the smell, heat and filth, to find that phone,” Diane says impressed. But she was not the only one; the patient too was extremely impressed and thankful.

“To me this is an awesome display of one department going above and beyond the call of duty to assist and help a patient,” Diane concludes. “It takes us all.”