A patient’s thanks for “heartfelt compassion” & “one last talk with Mom”

A patient’s thanks for “heartfelt compassion” & “one last talk with Mom”

A patient’s letter of thanks, sent also to The Capital for publication.

I recently suffered a debilitating injury and was admitted to the AAMC for emergency surgery. Their medical care was exemplary, but that’s not why I’m writing.

During recovery, I received a tearful call from my father informing me that Mom, who was valiantly fighting stage-four breast cancer, was losing the battle. Doctors at the D.C. hospital where she was admitted said anyone wanting to visit while she was still lucid needed to do so post haste. I was crushed.

Still in considerable pain, I informed the staff of my predicament and they sprang into action, collaborating on a plan that would enable me to visit Mom. During the night, team members sympathized — sharing private stories of losing loved ones to cancer. By early morning, the bedridden-to-ambulatory plan was unfolding.

The team worked hard to coordinate my treatment and, by late morning, medical transportation (which they had arranged) sped me to the D.C. hospital.

When I was wheeled into her room, Mom smiled brightly and we enjoyed one last, wonderful conversation. She didn’t realize she was slipping and our private talk only ended when she tried to rise, happily telling me she wanted to get Dad, who would be “so pleased to see you here!” At that point, Dad, my brother and sister and my wife eased through the door where they had been watching.

Mom slipped into a coma and a few days later quietly passed away at my childhood home. I will always be grateful to the teams at the AAMC, who transcended their well-earned medical reputation to weave “heartfelt compassion” into a course of treatment that included one last talk with Mom.


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