Mallory Fuller and one of her nurse peers entered my office stating they had a problem that only I could resolve for them. Mallory then went on to tell me that one of her patients who had been with us for a couple of weeks was just informed her husband had a heart attack and was in the ICU at a different facility on a ventilator and he was given a poor prognosis. Our patient was also still about a week from being ready for discharge for her intense medical issues.
The request was to get her over to the other hospital to visit with her husband and to be able to say her goodbyes in person.
I was so sad about this news and wanted my nurses to learn how to make such things happen. They had the motivation and desire so now it was just getting the plans to all come together. I informed my nurses that since she was a patient receiving palliative care that we could use this to help us. I instructed them to first find out if the physician in charge of her husband was willing to let us bring our patient to visit and follow that with asking the physician team here at MUSC if they were supportive of this plan. Mallory went right to work on this and was in just a very short time frame able to get the go-ahead from both MDs.
It was then that we called the palliative care nurse coordinator who led us to the palliative care social worker. I explained the situation to the palliative care social worker. I informed her that we could, worst-case scenario, wheel her over across the street in a wheelchair but wanted to see if she had any ideas of getting a wheelchair van either from Lifeguard or from the patient/family shuttle bus. She voiced her support and said she would get to working on this right away. As it turned out Lifeguard offered to pick her up and take her and to return her to her room after the visit and not to charge for this service.
The transport person arrived shortly thereafter and the staff on A6E rallied to cover for Mallory's other patients so she could go with the patient to the ICU. Mallory stayed with her until her visit ended and brought her back to MUSC.
This was a very meaningful event for our patient and also for the staff; especially Mallory to be able to make this happen. No one should ever lose a loved one and not be able to say your last words to them. The care, compassion, patience and overall support of this patient during this difficult time speak volumes to the dedication of Mallory and her team on A6E.
Thanks to Mallory, a woman was given a chance to hold her husband’s hand and to ask him to keep fighting his battle. It is all about hope!