A patient was admitted to the ED in the morning with a complaint of shortness of breath. The patient's 3 sons and sister were at the hospital with her. Patient had a history of cancer and was thought to be in remission. However, the patient presented with other symptoms that were related to the cancer returning. The patient has three boys, ages 22, 19, and 17 who were all present during the day. After the patient had been stabilized, she requested to complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney, naming her eldest son as the primary agent and her second oldest son as back up agent. Seeing that their mother was breathing better and would be admitted to the hospital, the family decided to leave and come back later when the patient was admitted to a room.
After the family left, the patient's medical condition took a turn for the worse. The patient's cancer had returned and had taken over her vital organs. The patient's family was called and updated on her condition and asked to return to the hospital. I was called to the patient's room being told that the patient was dying. When I arrived to the room, the doctors and Jonathan were providing medical and compassionate care. The patient passed away before the family could return. After the doctors met with the family to tell them of her passing, they were in complete shock saying, "how could that be we just left her, we had no idea that the cancer had returned and that she was as sick as she was". As they sat there and try to grasp the loss of their mother, they began to cry and blame themselves for leaving and not being there for her when she passed away. Jonathan's compassion for this family was phenomenal. Without hesitation and in a caring voice, he related to the family that he was with her to the end and shared with them very tender moments of their mother's last hours of earth. He went in to detail about her care and how she responded to it. He cried with the family and opened himself up to be vulnerable with them. He told them of how brave she was and how peaceful she made her transition. The care he gave to this family as the nurse who cared for their mother was so compassionate; everyone in the room had tears in their eyes.
By sharing this with the family, I believe it relieved some of the pressure of them not being here with their mother and gave them the courage to visit with her after her passing for closure. The response he got from the family was phenomenal. As I watched the reaction of this family to Jonathan I felt so much compassion from him and gratitude from a family that needed to hear about the final moments of their loved one's passing. I want to thank Jonathan for his caring, his compassion, and his ability to share with this family the grace of a dying woman who shared her love for her family.