Kat Myers
August 2021
8 West Doan Corrections Unit
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, University Hospital
United States




Kat turned on soothing music, pulled his curtain, and held his hand as she sat with him.
Recently, there was a 3-day stretch when Kat and I worked together. I was Charge and she had a patient who she really went above and beyond for. This patient was an older male inmate with metastatic bladder cancer. He was on tube feed, unable to swallow anything without aspirating, and begging anyone who walked into his room “Please help me.” He was in pain and made it very clear to nursing staff that he no longer wanted to proceed with treatment, however, the team determined he lacked the capacity to make his own medical decisions.

Despite recommendations from Palliative for this patient to receive IV Dilaudid for his pain, the team felt this was not necessary since he would be “discharged soon and unable to receive these medications in prison”. Kat’s heart broke for this man. With the patient getting closer to discharge, she decided to put in an ethics consult as a final chance to advocate for this patient. The next day the team agreed to try and get ahold of the Warden to discuss code status.

That night, Kat once again reached out to the MD on-call about the patient’s pain. This MD came to the bedside to assess the patient, who told him he was in severe pain everywhere, and he agreed that the patient needed better pain control per Palliative’s recommendation. The next day, he was made a DNRCC and Kat once again came through for this patient when she returned that night. He had no next of Kin, no one to come visit him...He was scared and alone. She turned on soothing music, pulled his curtain, and held his hand as she sat with him. He was alert enough at the beginning of the shift to know she was there with him but began to decline rapidly.

Soon after, the patient expired. Although it was emotional for many of us, Kat was able to find peace in the fact that she made it possible for this man to pass peacefully. Having the heart to do this with any patient is commendable, but when you have the heart to hold the hand of an inmate, a man many people would turn their back on, is a completely different level of compassion.