The battle against life-threatening disease is by necessity a lonely one. But for some, the skill, companionship, and compassion of clinical providers help to lighten the burden. Such was the case
recently for a young lymphoma patient who received care from Erin Butzen, RN, OCN, a nurse in the University of Colorado Cancer Center's Bone Marrow Transplant Infusion Center (BIC).
In recognition of her efforts to bring rays of light into the darkness of the patient's disease, Butzen received her DAISY Award for her intense passion for quality and compassionate patient care under all circumstances. Those characteristics were especially apparent in Erin's care for the lymphoma patient, who suffered many relapses, endured an autologous bone marrow transplant, and underwent thrice-weekly dialysis treatments on top of regular BIC visits.
During the course of the patient's treatment in the BIC, Erin became his advocate and comrade in fighting the disease. Erin helped to coordinate his many hospital appointments, called him at home with regular updates on his plan of care, and stood by him during the difficult conversations necessitated by his dwindling treatment options. Erin was immersed in his journey and relentlessly advocated for him every step of the way.
She was also instrumental in helping the young patient fulfill his desire to marry his significant other. In addition to giving him the clinical care and management that kept him focused on his goal, she arranged a surprise engagement party in the BIC that included guests and refreshments. The many BMT team members who attended presented the patient with a framed photograph of the
Rockies signed by his caregivers.
The patient ultimately married - Erin was invited to the ceremony - then flew with his wife to Boston in one last search for experimental treatment. Several weeks later, he was admitted to UCH a final time before being discharged with the help of the inpatient BMT Unit staff to hospice care. Erin had a final visit with him the day before his discharge.
Erin left a lasting impression on his family and our team. Her willingness to walk alongside this patient and his family took extreme dedication, conviction, and empathy.