Nov. 11, 2021 – Southeast Georgia Health System has announced that its
Department of Emergency Medicine Chief,
Mohsen M. Akhlaghi, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM, was awarded the prestigious Georgia Physician Hero Award at the Georgia
Hospital Association’s (GHA) Hospital Hero Awards virtual celebration
on Nov. 11, 2021. Akhlaghi, who was the only individual statewide to receive
award, was recognized for his many efforts to enhance care in the Health
System’s Emergency Care Center and his dedication, compassion and
humility towards patients and their family members.
“Dr. Akhlaghi is a selfless physician who puts patients, as well
as staff, before himself,” said Earl Rogers, GHA President and CEO.
“His commitment to caring for those around him has contributed greatly
to the health and wellbeing of many. He is a most-deserving recipient
of this award.”
Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, vice president and administrator of Southeast Georgia Health System’s
Camden Campus and former director of the
Emergency Care Center, Akhlaghi is frequently observed going out of his way to help patients
and staff. The most notable event occurred in 2019 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 Gann 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.
“In times of crisis, Dr. Akhlaghi can be counted on to be there for
his patients, their families and staff,” says Gann. “During
hurricanes in recent years, he put everyone’s needs ahead of his
own, staying onsite for several days until the storms passed.”
Gann added, “The hardest part of working in an emergency room is
having to tell a family that their loved one has passed away, but Dr.
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 alongside theirs.”
Akhlaghi may be busy, but he is not too busy to notice his co-workers’
troubles. “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,” said Gann.
“Every act of kindness and commitment from Dr. Akhlaghi is conducted
quietly, with no thought or expectation of accolades,” said
Michael D. Scherneck, president and CEO, Southeast Georgia Health System. “We deeply
appreciate his dedication to our organization and the patients we serve.
For this reason and all those previously stated, he is truly deserving
of GHA’s Physician Hero Award.”