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Home > Careers > Faces of Mercy > Final Moments in ICU
The day before Thanksgiving 2014 is a day Intensive Care Center (ICC) Nurse and Shift Supervisor Jennifer Somerville, RN, MSN, Nurse Clinician V, will never forget. In her care that morning was an elderly woman with a raging infection and, unfortunately, a grim prognosis.
“This woman was very sick and an intensivist had just been consulted,” Jennifer said. “She had a distant look in her eyes and her vital signs were becoming unstable.”
She was not going to survive.
The woman’s devastated children surrounded her – weeping, praying and telling their mother how much they loved her. Her husband was also nearby, but not at the bedside of his dying wife or with their heartbroken children. He was clinging to his own life in the same hospital and in the same unit, suffering a brain bleed as a patient of Jennifer’s ICC colleague Amber Arthurs, RN, BSN.
Mercy staff members quickly recognized the gravity of this unique situation and were moved to action. Realizing that the end was near, they set out to ensure that the husband could be with his wife when she took her last breath.
With the help of transporter Jodie Charipar and under the guidance of Gordon Baustian, MD, Jennifer, Amber and Melissa Griffin, RN, began moving the frail man’s bed into his wife’s hospital room. The team positioned their beds together – not an easy task due to space limitations and the amount of critical care equipment each patient required.
“Finally, we were able to finagle the beds into a good position,” Jennifer said. “The husband grabbed his wife’s hand and, 20 minutes later, she passed.”
His loving touch granted her permission to let go.
“I left the room so the family could have a moment together. Once I was out, I began sobbing uncontrollably,” she said. “I knew I would never in my life forget that moment or that patient’s name, whom I was assigned to for only two hours.”
In that powerful moment, Jennifer realized, “THIS is The Mercy Touch at its best.”
It’s not always about saving lives; sometimes, it’s about how we can contribute to lives in meaningful ways.
These are the faces of compassionate, exceptional care. These are the faces of Mercy.
Healing is our purpose. Compassion is our promise. That’s The Mercy Touch.