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In This Issue:
BWH Bulletin's year-end issue is a time to reflect on BWHers' proudest moments from the past year. We asked you to share one BWH-related memory from 2013 that was meaningful to you, and you generously offered stories about colleagues, patients, families, events and milestones that continue to inspire you. We hope you enjoy reading these moments.
As a Palliative Care social worker, I have the
privilege of watching many of my colleagues support patients and families at
the end of their lives. In August, I met a patient with end-stage heart
failure. No one visited him during his admission. As the days passed, it was
clear he was at the end of his life; he chose to stop many of the medications
that were keeping his heart going and wanted to die in the hospital. When asked
what his hopes were, he said he wanted to have his favorite meal one last time:
swordfish from Legal Sea Foods. The plan was for his brother to come in on a
flight that evening and pick up the swordfish, and the team would turn off all
life-sustaining medications the next morning. His brother's flight was delayed,
however, and he did not make it until the next morning.
At 7 p.m. that evening, word came that his
brother's flight was delayed, and he would not make it until the next morning.
As I read in the chart the next morning, I was worried about our patient's last
meal. To my surprise, I walked in to find a bright-eyed patient who told me
about the best swordfish he had ever had. His nurse told me that when the
patient got news that his brother would not make it, someone ordered Legal Sea
Foods for him. No one took the credit. The patient was tearful when he spoke to
me about the kindness of the team. He told me he felt heard and listened to. These
small acts of unspoken and unclaimed kindness highlight the care and humanity
of the staff who work here.
Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW