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Christopher Ponton, RN

WellStar WFE West Team

Consistence and persistence along with stellar clinical skills are some of the qualities that make Christopher Ponton an extraordinary nurse.

It also led him to correctly diagnose a patient’s painful issue which in turn led to surgery to correct a serious syndrome and save the patient’s leg.

Ponton was the nurse on duty when a patient came in with gunshot wounds. The orthopedic physicians assistant (PA) did an assessment but Ponton suspected compartment syndrome (CS) based on the patient’s left leg. At this point, the PA was not concerned with CS.

The patient had a difficult morning due to the pain and as it continued to worsen, Ponton felt certain that the patient was suffering from CS.

According to Kristen Morris, Ponton’s manager, “Around lunch time Chris paged/called for over an hour after the patient was seriously looking like he was in trouble. Chris called the orthopedic PA’s cell phone, his attending’s cell and pager, the orthopedic office, and two operating room RNs to voice his concerns.”

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The PA was finally able to come see the patient and Ponton pointed out that he had witnessed compartment syndrome before and this case looked like CS. The PA wanted to wait until the orthopedic doctor was out of surgery to reassess.

However, it became necessary to call rapid response when the patient started complaining of chest pain and abdominal pain. Ponton insisted that an orthopedics doctor come immediately.

Morris says, “Trauma surgery was reconsulted at that time and they were there within minutes due to the abdominal/chest pain. Chris’s determination and advocacy for this patient resulted in the orthopedic and trauma team taking him for emergency surgery to perform a fasciotomy on the patients lower extremity to relieve the pressure in that extremity.”

She adds, “This patient’s leg was saved solely due to Chris’s outstanding advocating efforts and highly skilled training. His persistence gave this patient a future in which he may of had a very different outcome.”

She also says, “I believe that Nurses are called to this profession and they are given a special gift to perform at this level. That is exactly why Chris has been nominated for this prestigious award. He is an exceptional and phenomenal clinician. Chris trusted his intuition and he continued to advocate for this patient until others saw what he already knew. He never gave up on this patient.”

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