Chipping in for a Special Patient

By: Bridget, nurse for 5 years

Chipping in for a Patient

We had a patient at our cancer clinic who was only 30 years old. He had AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and had a bone marrow transplant which failed. He had aggressive disease and almost relapsed right away. The doctors told him that he only had a couple months left to live. He was married and had three boys. A couple of months before his bone marrow transplant, his wife had their fourth child, a little girl.

This was a family that made all of the staff think, this is totally not fair. I work in a small clinic and the doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses all know the patients well and subsequently we all became very attached to this family. The patient's goal was to make it to Christmas, and we all wanted to do something special for him.

The patient and his family received permission to go to Disneyland for a couple of days for his son's birthday (this is usually not allowed, he had been coming in every other day for blood and platelet transfusions). They were a low-income Hispanic family and had never been able to take their children on a trip. Unbeknownst to him, we collected money (about 200 dollars) and put it in a card for his kids to open when they got to Disneyland. They opened up the card in the parking lot and apparently went wild. They spent all of it on toys, candy, etc. I would have loved to see the looks on their faces.

This patient was from Oakland, so he was a huge Raiders fan. The Raiders, historically, have not had a great record in the NFL but their fans are die-hard. This patient had never been to a Raiders game. Their last game was right before Christmas at home against the San Diego Chargers. Once again, this family had such a huge impact on our staff, everyone wanted to do something for them. A nurse practitioner pulled some strings, we all gave money, and we sent the whole family to a Raiders game - and they won (which, is a big deal on its own)! It was so amazing to be a part of something like that.

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