Houston-area ICU nurse recognized as 'Mazda Hero'

A Houston area ICU nurse is being recognized as a “Mazda Hero”.

“Mazda has selected 50 of these local heroes who will be honored with a 100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata as a ‘thank you’ to the lasting impact these individuals have had on their respective communities,” said a spokesperson from Mazda. “Not to mention, as numbers continue to surge nationwide, a ‘thank you’ to these individuals – and so many more – is the least we can do.”

One of the winners, Christie Purviance, is an ICU Nurse from a Memorial Hermann Hospital in Humble.

“As an ICU nurse, it is not uncommon to work long, gruesome shifts — but Christie approaches these 15-hour days with deeply-rooted and unmatched compassion,” said the spokesperson. “Even when faced with devastating COVID recovery statistics, Christie held to her conviction of treating her patients like family.”


In a Zoom interview on Saturday, Purviance described what it’s like to be inside a COVID-19 ICU Unit.

“It’s scary,” said Purviance. “I would not wish for my worst enemy to be in the COVID ICU. It is a slow, long death if you don’t make it. You will die alone, because your family won’t be allowed to be with you.”

One of the patients Purviance has treated is named Maurice Watkins. The 63-year-old is a former professional wrestler known as “Termite”. Watkins got sick with COVID-19 and needed to be put on a ventilator. Watkins was on a ventilator for 18 days. Throughout his treatment, Purviance would call “Termite’s” family to give them health updates.

“It’s really emotionally hard,” said Purviance. “We’re the main communication between the family on the phone, since they can’t be there.”


While Watkins spent nearly three weeks on a ventilator, Purviance says she would continue to speak with him as if he was awake.

“When I talked to him, I didn’t know if he could hear me, but that’s how I guided my care with him,” said Purviance. “I acted as if he was a family member.”

Thankfully, Watkins survived. On day 19, he woke-up from sedation and spoke to his wife on the phone.

Fast forward to December, Watkins and his wife arrived to Memorial Hermann Hospital to surprise their favorite nurse.

To her surprise, Purviance was a “Mazda Hero” winner. The Watkins family gave her keys to a brand new Mazda MX-5 Miata.

“I don’t see myself as a hero,” said Purviance. “I give all of the credit to my amazing coworkers. They’re much more deserving than me.”