Social media weaves through daily life for many people. For St. Luke’s employees, it may also save lives.
Mike Lock, a St. Luke’s security officer, was working a late shift at St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Center in July when his team was flagged down by a charge nurse on duty that night.
“She requested assistance in helping to locate a woman … in the parking lot,” Lock said. “She had received information that a woman was having a seizure, and she got that information from her daughter.
“Apparently, Mom’s phone wasn’t working, but she was able to reach out to her daughter through Facebook on her iPad.”
Lock and the team knew they had an emergency on their hands, but they were having difficulty finding the woman who needed their help.
“I asked the daughter to message her mom and tell her to honk the horn or turn on her lights – anything – and she relayed that to her mom through Facebook,” Lock said.
Eventually, Nate Overn, another St. Luke’s security officer, located the woman in the back of the parking lot in a car that was mostly hidden by a tree.
“By the time I got to the car, Nate was assisting her into a wheelchair,” Lock said. “I thought Nate did a great job of finding this lady with the minimal amount of information we had. … The emergency response team was activated. We met them at the door and the emergency staff took over from there.”
Abbey Abbondandolo, St. Luke’s senior director of security, was pleased that his team was able to turn a difficult situation into a success story that night.
“The narrative often is that social media has a lot of ills, but I do think it’s a valuable communications tool,” he said. “In certain circumstances like this, it might be the difference between someone surviving and not surviving.
“It’s a great example of how we can leverage social media, and we have a very engaged security department.”
As a whole, St. Luke’s is very engaged, and its social media presence is constantly growing.
The organization’s Facebook page has more than 15,000 followers; the LinkedIn account has 17,000 followers and has grown by 67 percent over last year. A video showing a “Walk of Respect” for a patient who provided the life-saving gift of organ donation has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube, and other video content has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times by people across the globe.
St. Luke’s active involvement on digital platforms over the years has helped connect patients to providers half a world away, establish patient-provider relationships as families have contemplated moving to new communities and in some cases, as with the woman recently in distress in the Nampa parking lot, pinpoint the need for intervention in critical circumstances – not necessarily what Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey might ever have envisioned, but when time is of the essence, potentially a life-saving tactic.
“It’s super-positive that we are able to use social media,” Abbondandolo said, “that we are able to use it for good. I think we’ll continue to do so.”
Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.