Philip Eliana

Imagine this scenario: You’ve waited seven years and traveled 3,000 miles in the hope of winning a gold medal in the U.S. National Singles Racquetball Championships. But on the night before the finals, you end up in the Emergency Room — struggling to breathe.

This happened to Philip Eliana, a native Hawaiian and an elite member of the 2014 All-U.S. Air Force Racquetball Team. He was competing for the seventh time at the championships. On the fourth day of the tournament in Fullerton, he became congested. He returned to his hotel to get some rest, but struggled to breathe as the night went on. He called his wife in Kauai, and she urged him to go to the Emergency Room at nearby Placentia-Linda Hospital. By the time he got there, he had used his asthma rescue inhaler three times.

At Placentia-Linda, the admitting representative acted quickly to triage the athlete. Just as quickly, a doctor, nurse and respiratory therapist assessed his situation and worked as a team to stabilize his breathing.

Philip has been in the U.S. military for more than 30 years and knows a good team when he sees one.

“I knew from the first meeting with the admitting representative — and then observing how the physician, nurse and therapist all communicated so effectively with each other — that this was a good team,” says Philip. “I instantly felt I was in good hands.”

Back to breathing normally — with no wheezing or inflammation — allowed Philip to get a good night’s rest and face the championships’ final round the next day. In fact, he took home the coveted gold medal and won a bronze as well. He treasures a photo of himself with both medals.

And if you look closely, he laughs, “you’ll see my Placentia-Linda Hospital identification armband is still on!”