PHIL Award Winner
December 2010
Michael Kern, CRT, LRT
Northern Michigan Regional Hospital
Petoskey, MI
Michael Kern, CRT, LRT, (left) receives The PHIL
Award from Dr. David Knitter, Medical Director at
Northern Michigan Regional Hospital.
Michael Kern, CRT, LRT, has been a respiratory therapist for 43 years. He currently cares
for cardiovascular, ER, and acute rehab patients at Northern Michigan Regional Hospital in
Petoskey. Michael moved to Northern Michigan in 1972 and worked at NMRH as a therapist
and a supervisor. He was part of the team who developed NMRH’s NICU and ventilated the
first infant at the hospital. In 1980, Michael left the hospital setting to work in homecare -
taking care of home ventilator, CPAP, BiPAP, and oxygen patients. In 1990, Michael
returned to NMRH and worked in a unique position caring for long-term care facility
patients in Emmett County and also at the hospital until the service was discontinued.

Michael began his long career at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Moved briefly to
Virginia, and returned to Michigan to work at Bi-County Hospital. While working as the
supervisor at Bi-County, Michael was involved in training Gary Sauer who was a new
therapist at the time. Gary Saur is now manager of the respiratory therapy department
Northern Michigan Regional Hospital where Michael works.

Michael was nominated for The PHIL Award by four nurses, a care coordinator and a
patient for his excellent patient care and perseverance in helping wean a long-term
ventilator patient from the ventilator. The patient had been in a long-term care facility for
10 months and was thought to be unweanable. When the patient came to NMRH Michael
began working with her. Over the course of a few weeks the patient was able to come off of
the ventilator and be placed on an aerosol trach mask. After staying off of the vent for more
than a week the patient was discharged to a rehabilitation facility with the goal of going
home. The nurses, case manager, and patient all feel that without Michael’s persistence
this patient may have never come off of the ventilator.

A nursing co-worker expressed her thoughts on Michael’s work, “Michael assisted a patient
that been ventilator dependant for months and failed previous weaning attempts. He
identified the many barriers to weaning the patient and worked with his colleagues and the
patient to overcome those obstacles. With Michael’s encouragement and expertise, the
patient was successfully weaned.”

Michael talked to the patient when she was scared, reassured her that she could do it, and
helped build her confidence. Of Michael, his patient said, “He showed compassion and
always greeted me with a smile and sweet name like honey or sweetie”. Michael’s
dedication to his patients shows in his work everyday.