June 1, 2020 – Southeast Georgia Health System recently announced that its
Department of Emergency Medicine Chief,
Mohsen M. Akhlaghi, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM, has been awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Association
2020 Physician Hero Award. Akhlaghi was one of five Hospital Heroes selected
statewide, and the only recipient to receive the Physician Hero Award.
He was recognized for his dedication, compassion and humility towards
his patients, their family members and the
Emergency Care Center team.
Day in and day out, Akhlaghi is observed going out of his way to help patients.
The most notable event is when the Golden Ray cargo ship overturned in
the St. Simons Sound while carrying 24 crew members on board. Everyone
on the ship was safely evacuated except four young crewmen who were trapped
in the engine room. Akhlaghi had just completed a 12-hour shift when word
arrived that the four trapped seamen were alive and on their way to the
Health System’s Brunswick Campus Emergency Care Center. Akhlaghi
worked out a plan with Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, director, Emergency Care
Center, to prepare for the incoming patients. When Akhlaghi learned the
crewmen were South Korean and spoke limited English, he brought in a South
Korean medical student who was completing his rotations at the Health
System to help with communication. The student remained beside the South
Korean seamen throughout their hospital stay. Additionally, Akhlaghi stayed
past his shift to ensure the men were properly taken care of.
That is just one remarkable example of Akhlaghi’s dedication. In
times of crisis, he can be counted on to be there for his patients, their
families and staff. During hurricanes in recent years, he put everyone’s
needs ahead of his own, staying onsite for several days until the storms passed.
The hardest part of working in an emergency room is having to tell a family
that their loved one has passed away, but Akhlaghi treats it as a sacred
duty. No matter how busy he is, he takes the time to connect with the
family. He sits with them, holds their hands and at times, his tears fall
Akhlaghi may be busy, but he is not too busy to notice his co-workers’
troubles. For example, one morning he noticed that the night shift team
looked, in his words, “Like they had been beaten up.” Tough
shifts come with the territory, but Akhlaghi didn’t let it pass.
He took the entire night shift out for breakfast.
“Every act of kindness and commitment from Dr. Akhlaghi is conducted
quietly, with no thought or expectation of accolades,” says
Michael D. Scherneck, president and CEO, Southeast Georgia Health System. “We deeply
appreciate his dedication to our organization. He is a true medical hero,
to our patients, their families and our staff. For this reason and all
those previously stated, he is deeply deserving of GHA’s Physician
Previous Southeast Georgia Health System
Hospital Hero Award winners include John Nave; R. Neal Boswell, M.D.; Walter C. McNeely; Wright Culpepper,
D.Min. and Michelle Hollaway, R.N., BSN, CCRN.