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10/1/2002
Press Release

ASHP Honors New York, Washington D.C., Hospital Pharmacists for Courageous Service

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has granted its Executive Vice President’s Award for Courageous Service to a number of the pharmacy personnel for their efforts in successfully maintaining vital pharmacy service for those wounded during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Recognized were the pharmacy staffs at the New York University Downtown Hospital; New York-Presbyterian Cornell Burn Unit; St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan; and the DiLorenzo Army Health Clinic at the Pentagon. Ronald Gaudette, senior staff pharmacist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the lead pharmacist on the Boston-based Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) that cared for victims and rescue personnel at Ground Zero in New York, was also an award recipient.

Despite their shock and horror, the pharmacy staffs at New York-area hospitals moved quickly to prepare for those wounded in the World Trade Center attack. The Cornell Burn Unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital received eighteen severely burned patients, several times their normal patient load. The pharmacy personnel handled an unprecedented volume and intensity of work. The satellite pharmacy serving the burn unit would stay open 24 hours, seven days a week, for the next two months.

At Ground Zero in New York, Ronald Gaudette noted, “the boundaries between disciplines truly dissolved. Everyone was pitching in, doing whatever they could.” Gaudette was the lead pharmacist on a federal medical response team that saw an average of 500 workers a day over their 11-day deployment. The DMAT was stationed at Stuyvesant High School, where Gaudette used a double-locked classroom to store the supply of medications.

After evacuating the Pentagon, Lorna LaGarde, pharmacy chief of the DiLorenzo Army Health Clinic, and her staff established a makeshift pharmacy under an umbrella in an outside courtyard. They worked for 28 hours, ferrying pharmaceuticals to physicians and nurses.

“These practitioners demonstrated an amazing display of grace under pressure and an abiding commitment to the care of patients,” said ASHP Executive Vice President Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D. “They are true heroes, having valiantly faced one of the greatest tragedies in our nation’s history.”

The ASHP Executive Vice President’s Award for Courageous Service recognizes individuals in health-system pharmacy who go beyond the call of duty to serve patients or assist pharmacists in serving patients, such as under emergency conditions or in times of natural disaster or other cataclysmic events. 

The award may be granted at any time at the sole discretion of the ASHP Executive Vice President. ASHP members, Board members, staff members, and others may nominate individuals for the award, which may be given without regard to a nominee’s membership in the Society.

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.  For more information, visit ASHP’s Web site, www.ashp.org.