The ICU Baptism Team
at Floyd Medical Center
Shannon Cooke, BSN, RN;
Crystal Shipp, BSN, RN;
Stephen Hopkins, BSN, RN;
Kristi Dutton, BSN, RN,
Shana Smith, RN;
Brandi Griggs, RN
The request came late in the evening: A patient in the Intensive Care Unit had confessed his Christian faith and wanted to be baptized by his pastor.
With our patient near death, his family had rejoiced at this answer to decades-long prayers, and the baptism would complete the requirement of their faith. According to their belief, this sacrament requires the receiver to be completely immersed in water. Our patient's rapidly declining physical condition, coupled with the complex medical care he was receiving, proved to be a challenge. And, time was of the essence.
Over the course of the next few hours, Floyd staff members demonstrated heroic compassion and an exemplary dedication to personal dignity to meet this spiritual and emotional need. They obtained medical clearance, located a portable baptistery, outfitted a lift to help lower the patient into the water and, finally, provided the medical support necessary to grant our patient this final wish.
Just 19 hours after the initial request, everything was in place. With family, friends and Floyd caregivers gathered around, the sterile safety of the Intensive Care Unit was temporarily transformed into a chapel of the holy. There, in the presence of this cloud of witnesses, the frail body of this husband, father, son, and friend was eased beneath the surface of the water, while his pastor recited the words important to his faith:
Based on your confession last night that Jesus is God's son, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit, for the remission of your past sins. God bless you. All the dedication and hard work from this group helped our patient receive his last wishes.