Gary Heffner

September 29, 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

NCH caregivers provide compassionate care daily, and that often goes unpublicized. But sometimes, as in the recent case of several of our North Naples Emergency Department nurses, the above-and-beyond efforts of some of our talented team members receive due recognition. recognizes DAISY Foundation honorees. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The Foundation was formed in 1999, by family members of a patient who were truly touched by the clinical skill and kindness of the nurses who attended their loved one. Today, The DAISY Award honors extraordinary nursing care in nearly 1,300 healthcare facilities in seven countries. Patient stories prompt DAISY Award nominations, which is exactly what happened with the North Naples Emergency Department in a most unusual situation.

I'll let the attending nurse, Tammy Toney-Butler, pick it up from there.

"Marrying the one you love is a dream some of us have had ever since we were kids. And if you are suffering an illness from which you might not be able to recover, you might wish to marry the one you love before anything happens.

Which is what exactly happened to this patient admitted in spring 2015. He had a subdural bleed from an aneurysm and had a coil procedure and placement of a shunt. His recovery had been long and his significant other (which I had thought was his wife) was at his side at all times.

We later learned through testing that he was bleeding again in his brain, non-acute, but showing new bleeding since the last scan. The attending MD ordered the patient transferred to the NCH Baker Hospital for an angiogram. The transfer was initiated, and Ambitrans medical transport was on its way, when the patient's signcant other asked if she could talk to me in private.

She said they were supposed to get married soon but, given the circumstances, would like to get married immediately in the hospital before the Ambitrans arrived. As a nurse, I was happy to oblige and grant this heartfelt wish. I went to Margaret Hinton, who was in charge, and told her that we needed to stall the Ambitrans until the pastor and witnesses arrived Margaret was thrilled and we began to prepare last-minute things needed to hold the ceremony. We were able to prepare a blank wedding card for all of us to sign on and arrange a wedding cake to commemorate the special occasion. Dr. Tatwig Guirguis also contributed food for the happy wedding party as well. He heard what was happening and felt the need to run to the cafeteria to get some appetizers.

When the Ambitrans team came in, we told them the circumstances, and they were so gracious to wait, since there were no calls pending. The wedding commenced, and despite his diagnosis and pain, the patient left the hospital happy with his new wife.

We are so fortunate to be apart of these snapshots of people's lives. All of us in the unit — RNs Julia Cannon, Jacki Ellis , Hollie Masino and Amanda Reyes; Ed Techs Denice Burke and Marguerite Denise Kirkland; and Unit Secretary Heidi Wasko — congratulated the happy couple. The Emergency Department crew was amazing in helping make this a special time for my patient. I am sure this was not protocol but it was something that had to be done."

Tammy is probably right; this wasn't "protocol." But it was heartfelt and appropriate. Happy life cycle events are, alas, a rarity in the Emergency Room. So thank goodness, we've got the kind of quick-thinking and compassionate nurses who, even at such a difficult time, can pull off such an uplifting event. What a pleasure to share their amazing story.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO