Coral Gables Hospital Cardiopulmonary director George Diaz has been honored as a “Tenet Hero,” a distinction awarded by Tenet Healthcare, the hospital’s parent company.
He was nominated by his colleagues and then chosen by a national selection panel for his innovation and achievement in patient care and his community involvement.
Diaz joined the Coral Gables Hospital family in 1977 as a respiratory therapist and is described as having contagious charisma and an unconditional willingness to lend a helping hand.
In addition to his role as cardiopulmonary director, Diaz is a patient safety officer, and he constantly looks for ways to improve patient care.
After noticing an increase in bathroom falls, he discovered that patients were grabbing the shower curtains when they lost their footing because they were the same color as the wall. Diaz decided to add a ribbon to the curtains, so they can be tied back when they’re not in use, and since then, no falls due to shower curtains have been reported.
Another idea he implemented that became a best practice was installing ceiling tiles that urge “high-risk” patients to “Call; don’t fall.”
Determined to reduce readmissions caused by pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Diaz implemented a team to educate patients and make followup calls after discharge. This resulted in a 7.8 percent reduction in readmissions in 2015.
Diaz’s compassion reaches beyond hospital walls as a community volunteer building houses on weekends with Miami-Dade Habitat For Humanity and reading stories at the Lighthouse Center for the Blind. He also has helped out his co-workers by driving them to and from work when they had no transportation, and he is always among the first to volunteer for community outreach events hosted by the hospital.