The mission and purpose of an Honor Walk is to provide dignity and respect for organ donors as the patient makes their final journey to the Operating Room. Recently, Charlotte recognized an opportunity for an Honor Walk and coordinated a plan to make it a reality for the patient and his family. The honoring experience of this final walk that was overflowing with dignity, respect, and compassion was a moment that I am certain the family will never forget. Likewise, I am certain, that I too will never forget it either.
Charlotte was pivotal in organizing an Honor Walk for one of our recent MICU patients, who also was a US Military Veteran. Charlotte contacted the JAG school and local VFW, and several active military, as well as veterans who responded and wanted to participate and be present for the Honor Walk later that day. Charlotte was the Shift Manager this day shift and worked tirelessly to organize all the details for a smooth walk, focusing on patient and family needs. Simultaneously she focused on the needs of the MICU team and the overall unit. She sent out text messages per the Standard work for UVA Team members to come, to honor this patient Charlotte was truly amazing, orchestrating all the details.
Having never witnessed an Honor Walk, I was overwhelmed and quite emotional as anticipated. The hallways outside of the MICU were lined with team members from the MICU, sister medicine units and from team members from throughout the Health System. Additionally, there were several members of our military that were present, which made this Honor Walk so very special and memorable.
The patient was rolled out of his room, out the front MICU doors and down the hallway toward the elevators to the OR, accompanied by his MICU care team and followed by his many grieving family members. As the patient was being rolled down the hallway, the military personnel went into full attention mode with salutes. It was silent, except for the hums of the machines and sniffles from those standing quietly in the hallway.
As the patient turned the corner and waited to enter the elevator to the OR, Charlotte led a moment of silence and facilitated "the Pause". This moment was truly moving and highly emotional.
I wanted to recognize Charlotte for her leadership, professionalism and extraordinary act of compassion that she showed that day. She definitely made a positive impact on the family experience on one of the worst days of their lives.
Lastly, on this day, of all days possible, Charlotte had someone shadowing her for the day. The person that was shadowing her this day, was her own Father. I caught expressions of pride and love from her Dad this day, as he witnessed firsthand, Charlotte's exceptional professionalism and compassion beyond measure.