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ICU caregivers help dying mother witness daughter's wedding

Springfield | June 21, 2019
stained glass and wrought-iron cattail railing by chapel in PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend
PeaceHealth offers hospital chapel to host special wedding and give a daughter and her mom a treasured memory

The Chapel at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend is a beautiful space filled with natural light spilling through stained glass windows. There’s a monthly Catholic Mass offered, but otherwise it’s a pretty quiet place where visitors, patients and caregivers can reflect, pray and meditate. However, the RiverBend Intensive Care Unit caregivers coordinated a different kind of event in the Chapel—a wedding!

In early March, the ICU received a patient who was likely not going to survive her hospitalization. The patient’s daughter had planned to be married in October, but desperately wanted her mother to be at the ceremony. When the daughter asked her mother’s nurse, Beth Claire, RN, if she could be married at the hospital the following morning, Beth and the rest of the team leaped into action.

Physician assistant Sarah Kuzma worked closely with the family to determine what risks might be involved in moving the patient out of the ICU for the ceremony and once they’d agreed upon a plan, the daughter made arrangements with Reverend Lois Van Leer to officiate on short notice. House Supervisor Tessa Murphy, RN, worked through the steps needed to transport the patient safely by gurney to the outdoor wedding. And, as it often rains in Oregon in March, the Spiritual Care team offered the Chapel to the family as an alternative wedding location in case of inclement weather.

The following day, Beth and Monica Hrouda, CNA, transported the patient to the RiverBend Chapel to witness a very special wedding.

Risk Manager Ashley Nesmith says she is in awe of her fellow caregivers who came together to give this patient such an amazing gift. “I was absolutely overwhelmed with a sense of pride to work for an organization that truly puts our patients first,” says Ashley. “It truly touched my heart how incredible this compassionate gesture would be for that family.”

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