My Aunt, Sister C. was a patient in the CICU. She was a Sister of Charity for over 68 years and had never been a patient in the hospital. Being taken care of was a foreign concept to my Aunt. She was a caregiver to the poor, homeless, and even a hospital chaplain at one time. Being taken care of made her very uncomfortable. Nurse David Klamm was very kind and gentle. His patience showed no bounds.
My Aunt was hard of hearing and although he spoke to her directly and loudly she would still miss some of what he said. He was never impatient when I repeated exactly what he said. He understood her pain and fears and took the time to listen to her. Although the floor has a high acuity he never appeared rushed when he cared for her. He met all her needs as if they were important, even getting her a warm blanket or a popsicle. I am also a nurse and realize how busy he was but he never let it show.
He showed a great deal of empathy. When after more than two weeks in the hospital, he was willing to listen when my Aunt said she no longer wanted to continue treatment. He stood by her bed and listened to her. When she said she was too tired and she wanted to be home with her religious sisters when she went home to the Lord. He didn’t make light of the statement or appear uncomfortable. He asked her intelligent questions and then was more than willing to contact her cardiologist to relay the request. It's important to note that this occurred on a Saturday around noon.
David continued to advocate for her and worked with the physicians and social workers to assure a smooth transition home. She was transported to the nursing home at the convent that evening. She died peacefully surrounded by her sisters and a few relatives. He provided excellent care while she was in the CICU but it is a special nurse who realizes that a "good" death is sometimes the most important outcome.