May 2020
7 West Oncology
Medical University of South Carolina
United States
Margaret Adams, RN
Paula Denise Blackmon, RN
Tonia Brewer, RN
Leslie Brooks, RN
Jana Burnett, RN
Ardelia Campagnani, RN
Haleigh Carter, RN
Brittney Childers, RN
Michaela Choate, RN
Bonita Costello, RN
James Cummins, RN
Trista Dantzler, RN
Lynne Elliott, RN
Cydney Carson Epps, RN
Jessica Fischer, RN
Tammy Harris, RN
Kristin Clare Hoort, RN
Jamie Nichole Hurley, RN
Elliott Jerideau, RN
Emily Landrith, RN
Emma Lewis, RN
Shayhna Lowry, RN
Mylinh Mai, RN
Julianne Miller, RN
Laura Milliken, RN
Julia Gayle Morton, RN
Jennifer Owens, RN
Debra Prindle, RN
Parag Raychoudhury, RN
Margaret Roberts, RN
Madelyn Salem, RN
Mellissa Sargent, RN
Kelly Skidmore, RN
Kendra Smith, RN
Mollie Smith, RN
Sarah Verner, RN
Maria Ward, RN
Sarah Willen, RN




The team prayed with him and took turns holding his hand. We knew he had expressed not wanting to be alone and everyone wanted to honor his wishes.
7 West specializes in the care of gyn onc and head and neck cancer patients. Our patient population can include those receiving chemotherapy, radiation, complex surgeries including free flaps, and total laryngectomies. Our team includes Registered Nurses, Patient Care Technicians, and Unit Secretaries. We have a close relationship with our interdisciplinary teams as well, including case managers, social workers and physicians led teams, and our contracted partners EVS, dietary, supply services.

A story of Caring. Mr. D was a head and neck cancer patient admitted to our unit after a total laryngectomy. Mr. D came into the hospital energized and independent. Little did he know where his MUSC journey would take him, and little did our team know how we would be touched by this one person. Like many of our patients, Mr. D had a very complicated post-op journey. Our nursing staff took excellent care of him along the way. We knew he would need to have extensive airway education to be discharged independently. During this time, he did not have caregiver resources to assist him. He would need to be able to provide his own airway care, wound care, tube feeding, and manage transportation from several hours away for follow-up appointments. His discharge plan would also be complicated by the fact that he would need to return for twice a day radiation treatment at Hollings for 6 weeks, so our case manager jumped into action to get a local hotel and transportation set up to facilitate his treatments after discharge.

Unfortunately, despite all the planning, Mr. D was readmitted shortly after discharging due to lab issues and wound care needs. When he returned he brought MANY large boxes of belongings with him, including all of his home care supplies, equipment, and personal belongings. Our priority was his health and his priority was the safety of his belongings. Eventually, his lab work stabilized and the physicians cleared him for discharge. Then complications continued to occur, including a carotid rupture that kept a physician holding pressure for 30 minutes in his room, and all the way to the OR. During this time the team was there to provide physical and emotional support to Mr. D. He was afraid and awake during the entire experience, and our goal was to make sure he knew he was in the best hands and that we would take care of his "stuff"!

After surgery, we thought Mr. D was in the clear, but ultimately, he became very ill as a result of an infection and we knew he would not be leaving MUSC and was placed on comfort care. For the days approaching the end of his life the team prayed with him (he was a very spiritual man) and took turns holding his hand. We knew he had expressed not wanting to be alone and everyone wanted to honor his wishes. He was assured that his belongings would be given to a family member who would later express his gratitude to the team for the care provided. Mr. D passed away peacefully. Mr. D wasn't just a patient, he was part of our family. Following this loss, the chaplains came to the unit to pray and remember Mr. D and to support staff in every way possible. He was only with us for 5 months, but we will remember him and what he taught us as a team forever.

This team provided excellent care to Mr. D and compassion before and during his end of life. The end of a patient's life is not just a moment it's a journey. Knowing his personal preferences the team was able to pray with him, keep him comfortable and keep up his spirits. Many times, the work a team provides becomes more about the tasks expected and less about the reason why. This team has the experience, honor, and privilege of caring for patients that show us the "why" every day. Patients like Mr. D give teams like this a reason to be compassionate and skilled.