Caregivers honor life and family in deep crushing grief

Springfield | June 14, 2017
Warm acts of caring aim to ease parents’ pain

Sometimes all the care in the world can’t save a life. That’s hard. It’s especially hard— and heartbreaking when it’s the life of a child.

Crushing, take-your-breath-away pain is what an Oregon couple experienced after their young child was struck by a car, sustaining ultimately fatal injuries. Despite the best efforts by the operating room team at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center-RiverBend in Eugene, Oregon, the young patient didn’t make it and was carefully transported to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU).

The best care doesn’t end at the moment of loss—it keeps giving and honoring life—the life that is gone and the life that is left.

Emily Winkler, a PACU nurse, along with Loreal Zeretzke, patient team support, Mark Peterson, RN charge nurse and other caregivers in the operating room and the emergency room found ways to do that through continued efforts and caring acts for the family devastated by their deep loss.

Winkler gently tended to the little one, tenderly placing heated blankets over the body so the parents could feel warmth as they hugged their child goodbye.

To bring a little softness to the stark room, Winkler also gathered two teddy bears, one for the parents to take home with them as an enduring link to their precious little one and one to go to rest with the child...a simple gesture to give some comfort to parents overwhelmed by grief.