In today’s outcome-driven, efficiency-obsessed medical world, it’s easy to forget that healing patients isn’t just about treating diseases and relieving symptoms. There are things doctors and nurses can do, meaningful interventions — like helping patients fulfill final goals or spend quality time with their families — that cannot be documented in a discharge summary or be converted into a blip on a screen.
There wasn’t going to be a happy ending. The patient had metastatic cancer and had just gone through her third unsuccessful regimen of chemotherapy. Now it seemed that everywhere we looked, we found disease.
Our team was used to dealing with all kinds of crises: Handling a last-minute wedding was not one of them. While having more than one opinion on a medical team regarding how best to manage a patient is fairly routine, we received no push back from anyone as we started to make arrangements for the wedding. Soon the whole medical team was involved. We sent a letter to the court to expedite the marriage certificate. A pastor and harp player were booked. The hospital cafeteria baked a chocolate cake, and the nurses brought in flowers. In just a few days, we were ready.
Read a story by a doctor about making sure his patient could be her daughter’s wedding in the New York tomes onmarch 19, 2014.
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