June 2015
Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
United States




Patient was admitted to NTICU on 4/28 for ECMO. She was on ECMO for several days and successfully weaned off ECMO; however, continued to be in respiratory failure. After several family conferences, it was decided to transition patient to comfort care. Her nurses the last few days of her life were Michelle Davis and Brigid Yoder. On Friday, June 5th, the decision was made to remove her from life support on Sunday. Michelle was her nurse on that Friday. Michelle talked with patient's parents about how they wanted to proceed on Sunday and the patient's mom wanted more than anything for the patient to be out in the sunshine, wear a pretty dress, and taste chocolate one more time. Michelle, Dr. W and I discussed the possibility of removing life support on the second floor garden. We showed the garden to the patient's parents and they immediately knew this would be perfect. We talked with security and worked out all of the details for Sunday's service. Brigid was the patient's nurse on Saturday and she gave the family the permission they so needed to go home, rest and that she would care for the patient on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was Michelle's day off and instead of relaxing at home with her family, she went to Target and bought the patient a beautiful purple (patient's favorite color) dress and some special chocolate ice cream.

On Sunday, Brigid and Michelle were the patient's nurses. First thing in the morning, they washed and styled her hair and put on the dress. When her parents arrived with the rest of the family Sunday, mid-morning, and the mom was so upset that she forgot to get a dress for the patient. To her surprise, she saw the patient in the pretty purple dress, hair styled, and looking absolutely beautiful.

Michelle and Brigid, along with RT, Dr. W and the patient's entire family went to the garden on the 2nd floor. Security had cleared the area for the service. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day. They played music that the patient loved, placed some chocolate in her cheek, and with the family all around her, removed the ventilator from her tracheostomy and the patient passed at 3:18 in the garden. It was beautiful and perfect in every way.

Brigid texted me and her words were: "Just leaving work a little early. My Nurses tank is full of love today for this opportunity. It was such a meaningful day."