Wael Hasson

Wael Hasson

Wael Hasson, RN, BSN

Critical Care
Scripps Mercy Hospital: San Diego and Chula Vista
San Diego, California
United States

This month’s incredible exemplar illustrates the epitome of compassion as it was seen through the eyes of the Operations Supervisor…
This nurse leader became acquainted with a special patient and his family after the patient suffered an acute respiratory distress episode that required immediate intervention from the Rapid Response Team (RRT). As a charge nurse who frequently serves in the RRT leader role, Wael Hasson quickly assessed the patient and family. He discovered that they were from Egypt and, after speaking to them in Arabic, learned the patient was suffering from a fatal lung condition called mesothelioma. Desparate for a cure, the patient and his wife sold their home in Tunisia, traveling to San Diego with plans to receive holistic medical treatment in a clinic in Mexico.
Wael gently rested his hand on the patient’s chest, and when he spoke it was apparent to bystanders that the patient was grateful for a bond connecting them. Gaining their trust, Wael had the opportunity to explain options and what each one meant to this patient’s future. Subsequently, Wael kindly and expertly explained intubation in the context of this patient’s illness. Placing an artificial airway into the patient and hooking him up to a ventilator would eventually require his wife to make the tough decision to remove the tube due to the seriousness of her husband’s prognosis.
Wael and the Respiratory Care Practitioner remained with the patient and his wife for 2 hours, provided respiratory treatments, and made every attempt to improve the patient’s breathing, oxygenation, and comfort level. After an extensive conversation with the patient and his wife in Arabic, they decided to change their treatment plan to one of comfort care only. The uncomfortable BIPAP mask was removed and morphine was administered. The patient soon relaxed and his breathing become easier.
The next day, which happened to be Christmas, a charge nurse on the eighth floor called Wael to inform him that the patient had died. She requested that he inform the patient’s wife, who was sleeping in another room. Wael responded; he immediately came to the eighth floor and, quietly kneeling on the floor next to the patient’s wife, gently touched her shoulder. She awoke and asked if her husband passed. Wael was able to tell her that her husband had passed peacefully. Wael then accompanied her to the bedside of her loved one, remaining near until members of the local mosque arrived.
Another amazing act of kindness followed: the Imam and an interpreter explained that a burial space in the local cemetery had been donated. Additionally, members of the mosque took the patient’s wife home with them until December 30, when she returned to Egypt. This was an amazing act of kindness – those who came to support the patient and his wife were not related to them. The local mosque responded out of kindness, following the Koran that tells them to be charitable and caring to others who are in need and to do so anonymously. Members of the local mosque also produced a video for the wife to take home to share this experience with her children and extended family in accordance to Muslim tradition.
Wael‘s competence and compassion helped facilitate a dignified death for this patient and care for his wife. His non-judgmental manner and cultural sensitivity made a significant difference. Wael demonstrated fundamental principles of nursing – he is a professional rolemodel for all of us.