Leah Smith

Leah Smith

Leah Smith, AS, RN

ICU
Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
Virginia Beach, Virginia
United States

As my wife was a long term diabetic, with numerous complications, it was not unusual for us to spend time in the ER or a few days in the hospital. My wife reported to the ER with a swollen, infected area on her foot. A few days later we knew that her foot infection was not serious, but the doctor was worried about her kidney function. They started temporary dialysis the next day to take some of the load off her kidneys. That night my wife's heart stopped and even though she was resuscitated quickly, she never regained consciousness.

My wife was transferred to the ICU where her care was overseen by several nurses, one of whom was Leah. Every nurse who cared for my wife was completely professional and yet very conscious of my and my daughter's concerns. Whether it was the normal scheduling or just our luck, Leah cared for my wife for six day shifts. She was always cheerful and upbeat to keep the family focused helping my wife. Towards the end, as my wife's body began to fail, she was no longer regulating her body temperature well. During one of the few times when I had to be away from the ICU, Leah had brushed out and braided my wife's hair to keep it off the back of her neck. This simple act of trying to help my wife be more comfortable as she was reaching the final stages of life shows how deeply Leah wanted to help her.

She stayed and helped with the removal of my wife's ventilator tube, even though it was the end of her shift. During the 55 hours I sat with my wife as she struggled to leave this realm, family and friends drifted away. Since Leah didn't have much to do for my wife, she would come by and sit with me to talk about my wife and make sure I was alright.

Leah's care for my wife went way beyond what was required or expected and that is why my daughter and I feel that she is more than deserving of the DAISY award.