I would like to recognize Belle for the caring and medical expertise she provides every day but specifically for the care she provided for my sister when she was in the CCU.
I've worked at UVA for 27 years, 16 of those as a medical provider as well as being a patient and had many different experiences at the Medical Center during that time. She truly went above and beyond to take care of my sister who had been transported from WV to UVA CCU - not just as a patient in the CCU and caring for her medical needs, but by making sure the CCU team was working together in my sister's best interest and collaborating with consulting specialties. We were and are still devastated by her death since she was a perfectly healthy 48-year-old woman, athletic with a son and husband in the prime of her life. The fact that she had cardiomyopathy and was in cardiogenic shock from a prophylactic chemotherapy for breast cancer that had been completely removed and not in her lymph nodes at another facility left us in shock.
My sister's husband and I still remember Belle's special way of caring and can laugh at times at Belle listening to his crazy financial advice and telling her how my sister and he met and Belle asking me what I thought of him and me saying, "he's a real peach"! This is just a small example of how Belle took the time to care and know more about my sister and the rest of her loving family that made the whole horrible ordeal bearable in a small sense.
As I said, I've been a medical professional for 27 years but when it hits so close to home you lose perspective. My family and I couldn't have gotten through making the decision of withdrawing life support from my sister without Belle's guidance. Then Belle took the extra step to stay with her and us after her long shift ended until my sister died while continuing to support us in navigating to make the correct decisions in my sister's best interest through the process.
It's nurses like Belle, who should be showcased by UVA and make me proud to work here. It's taken over a year for me to be able to sit down and write this because the loss of my sister is still painful. But I recognize it's exceptional nursing care like Belle's that a Magnet hospital like UVA needs to reward and acknowledge. We are so grateful for all Belle did for my sister and her whole family while she was in the CCU while she was living and then through the process of a death with comfort and dignity when it was time. I'm confident our experience wasn't a single event and that she continues to bless the patients and families she comes into contact with every day in her work.