Trusting her instincts: How one phone call likely saved a life

When a patient with COVID-19 didn’t arrive for their scheduled appointment, Bekka Cappussi, RN, CCRN, MBA, was concerned.

Bekka Cappussi, RN, CCRN, MBA, is an assistant nurse manager within UI Hospitals & Clinics Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Clinic.

As an assistant nurse manager within UI Hospitals & Clinics Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Clinic, she’s seen how COVID-19 can affect anyone, with symptoms ranging from mild to very severe.

“It was just my gut telling me, ‘Something isn’t right,’” says Cappussi, explaining that this situation happened early in the pandemic.

Trusting her intuition, she asked the scheduler how the patient sounded.

“When the scheduler confirmed that the patient wasn’t able to even speak in full sentences, I knew she was not oxygenating well,” she says.

Cappussi believed the patient needed to be seen right away and couldn’t get to the hospital. So, she called the local police to do a wellness check, also known as a welfare check.

Jumping into action

When an ambulance arrived at the home, the patient was in distress. Due to their critical condition, the patient needed to be intubated and was taken to the hospital.

“Trusting my instincts and being able to intervene in this way was something that could have potentially saved the patient’s life,” Cappussi says.

Previously being a critical care nurse, she’s accustomed to being on the front lines when providing care. Helping a patient in the community, rather than the hospital, was a unique and rewarding experience for her.

Long-lasting change

At the time of this rescue, COVID-19 was a new situation to navigate. Now, UI Community Clinics (UICC) staff have learned from previous experiences and created new protocols.

Currently, there’s an algorithm for all positive patients to ensure their care is followed and tracked. The UICC has a specific workflow, and if they’re unsuccessful at reaching the patient, they call a wellness check.

Cappussi urges everyone to follow through if they suspect something is amiss.

“Just trust your gut. It never hurts to look into something if it doesn’t feel right,” she says.


  1. Great example of the concern for patients’ well-being and the wealth of knowledge and experience that the UIHC ILI team has. Kudos, Bekka !

  2. Thank you Ms. Cappussi, I have a very ill spouse and your attention to detail was admirable. Thanks again!!!

  3. Fantastic work, Bekka!! This is a great reminder for US ALL to continue to think on our feet about not just facts, but their context…instead of “She’s not here, let’s move on to the next person” you asked “Why is she not here, is she too ill to get up and come in?” Great modeling for those who are in training to care for people here, too. Keep up the great contribution to our community!

  4. Great work! Compassion plus knowledge leads to great outcomes. And then the ILI team used the situation to improve care for everyone. This is wonderful and started with a great medical decision.

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