Leigh Sanderson
June 2023
Adult Emergency Services
University of Michigan Health at Michigan Medicine
Ann arbor
United States




Leigh freely gave of herself to support me through that very tough time.
I first met Leigh when she was caring for my brother in the ICU section of the ED. He was suffering from neurotoxicity from a medication, related to acute renal failure. I had traveled to be with my brother from Illinois, and the UM ED is where I had my first interaction with Leigh. She immediately introduced herself and I found her to be friendly, warm, and comforting.

Leigh tried to establish a rapport with my brother, but it was very hard to do as he suffers from acute expressive aphasia. However, she continued to ask him questions, like what was his favorite sports team, and supported his small successes when he answered. She understood my brother’s complicated story, yet stepped closer to us. We were strangers, but her presence made me feel completely comfortable in finally going home for the night.

I had shared with her that law enforcement had to be called to break into his home to get to him for emergency care. I also shared with her that this was going to be the first time that I had actually seen my brother’s home. I was so tired, and it was late at night, but I was also afraid of what I might find. The police had told me that the front window was broken and that he had been incontinent in the house.

Leigh supported me and gave me a bunch of encouragement. She even provided to me with some homemade sausage and cheese biscuits and Christmas treats that were being shared amongst the staff! She hugged me and wished me good luck as I left that night. I knew my brother was in excellent hands.

Today, my brother and I find ourselves in the UM ED again because he has cellulitis in his hip replacement incision. This was a very sad day for all of us until I heard a familiar voice saying “That’s his sister”…it was Leigh! She was not my brother’s nurse this visit, but we talked and laughed, and hugged. She is a friendly and familiar presence today, and that brightened my day. I’ve been with my brother for 3 weeks and experienced all of the stress that caregivers encounter. Leigh freely gave of herself to support me through that very tough time.

This has renewed my strength to continue to be my brother’s advocate and I know it’s because of Leigh, another caregiver and excellent nurse. She represents all of the other nurses here at UM who have cared for us. Leigh saved my spirit this day, for which I will be forever grateful. There is hope for humanity when a person reaches out to touch lives that are forever changed by caring words and compassion. Thank you, Leigh!