In the late afternoon on a June day, a young patient came into the ED in full cardiac arrest. Resuscitative measures had been started on the scene by his companion until first responders had arrived. Efforts to resuscitate continued in the ED without success. The patient was pronounced dead shortly after arrival into our ED.
His companion was extremely distraught, crying and calling out for his companion to return, "saying he's the world to me." He asked if he could lay next to his loved one just one more time. Elaine provided privacy for the patient and his companion to spend time alone, 30 minutes went by, then an hour, he was unwilling and unable to get up from alongside the bed of his deceased partner, even his family was unable to convince him to sit at the bedside and continue to hold his partner's hand.
Then Elaine noticed that the companion had brought a Bible and asked if he would like her to call a minister or a priest. The companion asked for a priest, immediately he responded. She called the local parish and left a voice mail, she made multiple attempts. She also called other local parishes in the area without any success. She then asked for permission to call Protestant churches, to which the companion stated he didn't care if it was a priest or a minister at this point and just asked her to please have one contacted.
At this point, the young man was still unwillingly to leave his partner's bedside and Elaine was concerned for his emotional well-being. Elaine worked with her coworkers and one of them was able to speak with their brother, who was also a pastor. He was able to come in and speak with the young man; this pastor was able to comfort him and help him find the strength to leave his partner's bedside.
After this situation, Elaine worked with the ED nursing leadership dept to find a way to better provide for the spiritual needs of their patients and their families in the ED. There is now an updated list of religious organizations of various faiths with emergency contact numbers. They have initiated a plan to obtain Bibles and other common books of faith to be available to loan to patients and their families. And Elaine has joined the Nursing Holistic committee as part of the professional practice council to help improve meeting the personal and spiritual needs of our patients.