Cheryl Gardner, R.N.
This a letter I received from Joann DeSerio, RNC from Sarasota Memorial Hospital Transport Clinical Specialist:
“I apologize for this letter being so late. I wanted to write you about the actions of one of your transport nurses, Cheryl Gardner. On 10/20/2009, the ACH team was called to pickup one of our critically ill neonates to be moved up to ACH. The baby had unexpected complications that caused a rapid deterioration in his condition. The mother had some very specific cultural beliefs regarding this baby and his presenting condition. We as a unit believe in supporting cultural practices whenever possible and we agreed to support her at this time. Her belief included not seeing, holding naming or acknowledging this child – stating the state takes care of everything in my country. By the time the team arrived, it quickly became obvious that this baby was not going to survive. We cancelled the transport at that point. Cheryl opted to hold the baby as he made his transition because she did not want him to die alone, not being held by someone, not being shown love and caring he should experience as a baby. Every SMH staff member working that day contacted me and commented how special this simple act was and how they were touched (some to tears) by what she felt compelled to do. Many of us have done the same in similar circumstances, but her act of compassion, when she was no longer needed for the job she was asked to do went above and beyond the expectations and requirements and left a wonderful feeling of peace and closure for all those who witnessed her actions. We would like to extend our gratitude and commend her for her actions on that day.”
I received several phone calls from the Neonatologists at SMH as well as staff regarding Cheryl’s actions with this baby. The physicians and staff were very moved and touched by her show of caring and compassion to this baby.