April 6, 2019

LAST FULL MEASURE:

Rituals of Honor in Hospital Hallways (Tim Lahey, M.D., April 2, 2019, NY Times)

The double doors of the surgical intensive care unit opened into a hallway crowded with dozens of hospital employees. A hospital bed emerged, and we all fell silent.

Most beds roll out of the I.C.U. briskly, en route to radiology or an operating room, whirring with the beeps and blinks of monitors and the quick conversation of busy nurses.

This bed was different. It moved at a stately pace, and the team that accompanied it was changed as well. Nurses steered, but there was no chitchat this time. A tall anesthesiologist leaned over the head of the bed to squeeze a bag valve oxygen mask with clocklike regularity.

People in street clothes trailed close behind the bed, unsure of where to look. These were the parents of the young woman in the bed, the one we had all come to honor.

This was an "honor walk" for a dying patient about to donate her organs to others.

Whether in Idaho or Tennessee or Oregon, hospitals across the United States are holding honor walks as dignified ways to honor each patient's final contribution.

Posted by at April 6, 2019 7:24 AM

  

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