Snow Angel

November 18, 2011 No Comments   

***Patient names have been changed to protect privacy***
The phone was ringing on Monday morning before I could set my coffee cup down and take off my coat, scarf and gloves. Snow had fallen and the air was frosty and bitter. Winter had been severe in Kentucky and people were getting weary from the elements.

The voice on the phone came from the Flaget Cancer Center. The center was trying to collect funds for one of our cancer patients and wondered if the Flaget Memorial Hospital Foundation might be able to help. As I listened, I could not believe the heart-wrenching details. Mary, a 49-year-old patient, had battled her cancer bravely and heroically in 2010, but to no avail.

On Thursday, oncologist Dr. Monte Martin described a cancer so ferocious that he talked about Hospice and end-of-life choices with her and her husband, Tom. Mary wanted to be at home.

Mary and Tom were a special couple. They had custodial care of their three young grandchildren and the cancer center staff had gotten to know them well. Tom was now facing the prospect of carrying the responsibility of raising the grandchildren without his beloved. They lived about an hour from Bardstown, in a small town called Caneyville. Mary called this place her “dream home” as it was a place they could all be together.

On Friday, hospice from the Caneyville area made the first home visit. The situation was grave but they would be there to help Mary and Tom through the upcoming weeks.

On Sunday evening, as Tom bathed the children and Mary was resting in a hospital bed, a house fire ravaged through their home without warning. Tom managed to get towels on the children and wheel Mary’s hospital bed out to safety – they all escaped into the freezing cold evening air. The fire destroyed the home and all of the contents.

Mary was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Mary wanted to be transferred to Flaget. Our hospital president was briefed and Hospice of Nelson County, a service of Flaget Memorial Hospital, worked synergistically with the other hospital and hospice team to make it all happen.

Mary was transported to Flaget later that day where her room became filled with love, compassion, peace and dignity. Mary died two days later. I truly believe that the spirit of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth had empowered each of us to do everything in our power to care for this patient.

When the winter snow continued to fall, we remembered Mary and suddenly the weather reports seemed the least important. True warmth comes from working together, remembering our core values and ALWAYS doing the right thing for our patients – everyday, every time.

Diane A. Boyer
Director of Major Gifts
Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation
Saint Joseph Health System
One Saint Joseph Drive
Lexington, KY 40504

Employee Stories, Flaget Memorial Hospital

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