...Mike has advocated for his patients on numerous occasions, bravely speaking with them and with the family to paint a realistic picture of what remaining a full code truly encompasses. For those not familiar with the medical field, it provides an honest look into not only what lies ahead, but gives them options for their medical care that may have been previously unknown. Mike cares deeply about this subject, and for his patients who are nearing the ends of their lives, he provides for their needs by giving them the gift of comfort and dignity as they enter their final days.
Recently, we encountered a young man with a terminal illness on our unit with many medical complications that were quickly leading to his demise. He began intubated, on CRRT and vasopressors and eventually HD for weeks as he went through multiple surgeries, but after some time was able to have his sedation weaned to communicate with staff through writing. Mike quickly formed a bond with him and requested to take him back as a patient daily, quick to provide for his needs and facilitate comfort for him during such a difficult time. He spoke candidly with the patient about his diagnosis, wants, and needs for the future, including end of life wishes when the time arose, and did his part to communicate those wants with the treatment team in hopes of fulfilling the patient's wishes. It was the young man's hope to avoid prolonging his pain and suffering for a disease he knew would end his life in a short time, and Mike was very adamant in helping him to achieve that goal.
The patient expressed gratitude for how wonderful Mike was to him, and that he felt very comfortable and safe in Mike's care. Mike also spoke very fondly of him and was very sad when he ultimately passed, but knew that he was an instrumental part of helping him to communicate his wishes when he was unable to himself.
Mike is a frequent advocate for better pain management, code status decisions, and honest conversations with and for his patients. Mike hates to see his patient's experience needless suffering, and whether it may be for the long or short term, he will find a way to alleviate it. He has given many people the gift of a decision and a voice to communicate it, whether it is to die comfortably and with dignity or to keep fighting through whatever ailment has brought them to our door. Acting as the person who speaks about death is neither desirable nor comfortable for most people, but I'm very grateful that Mike exists to inform and care for his patients in a very real, honest way. I am proud of his commitment to all his patients, and a better nurse for what he has taught me.