At a special ceremony last week, Maria Hyde, CNA, a nursing assistant at Keck Medical Center of USC’s Hematology/Oncology unit, was named 2022 Employee of the Year for Keck Medical Center of USC and USC Care Medical Group by Rod Hanners, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC.

The award is bestowed to an employee whose embodiment of Keck Medicine’s values makes them an extraordinary asset to the organization and its patients.

In an email announcement distributed on March 2, Hanners shared an example of Hyde’s compassionate care for a patient at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, who had been placed on Comfort Care.

While on Comfort Care, the patient had been regularly receiving bed baths with warm towelettes and a shower cap. One day, Hyde approached the patient for their bath, but told them, “No shower cap today — we’re going to have a real warm bath, with real water.”

 The news brought the patient to tears — the comfort of a full bath meant the world to them.

“I wanted to die nice and clean before meeting my husband again in heaven,” the patient said. “Maria took her time with me; and the warm water running through my hair and over my body felt like heaven.”

While the patient expressed appreciation for their entire care team, they said it was Hyde who would hold a special place in their heart.

“The greatest gift a Comfort Care patient can receive is a display of compassion in the final moments between this life and the next,” Hanners said.

 Hyde was selected from 11 nominees, who were also praised by Hanners.

“Each of our 2022 nominees represent our limitless approach to care, and because of them we have become a stronger organization,” he said. “They are the greatest gifts an organization could ask for, and I feel incredibly privileged that they chose to be a part of Keck Medicine of USC.”

— Kate Faye