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"Precious Gems 29" - Rising to the Occasion
03 October 2018

To fulfill our mission of serving our patients and supporting our community is for us, a race against time. This recent occasion is no exception.

My phone was on silent mode and I saw it flashing “Alex* – HCA Volunteer”. For some reason, the silent flash gave me an ominous feeling. Alex is one of our best volunteers. “Hi Alex, how are you?” I hesitated as I answered his call. “When you hear from me, you know it’s not good news” was his reply. My mind started to conjure images of what the "not good news" could be.

“My friend’s wife is dying, do you think HCA can help them?” “Of course, Alex” was my reply, heaving a sigh of relief. Being relieved would not sound right upon hearing that someone was dying, but I was honestly glad it was an opportunity to help someone.
Alex explained that Michael’s* wife, Maggie* was still in the hospital waiting to be discharged. Michael wanted Maggie to pass on at home. Having been our long time and very experienced home befriending volunteer, Alex thought that Maggie had at most, a week left. 

I asked a few basic questions like when Maggie would be discharged and where she lived so that our nurse from the correct satellite could be activated.

On the same day at around 12.30pm, we received Maggie’s information and Michael’s contact details from Alex. I relayed the information to our Head of Nursing, who immediately swung into action and activated our satellite Nurse Manager. After contacting Michael and ensuring that Maggie had reached home, our nurse arrived at Maggie’s home at 5pm, much to the relief of the family. Our nurse met the family members and made sure that Maggie was comfortable.

The next morning, I received a text from Alex. It read “Just wanted to say thanks for HCA’s prompt response to assist my friend’s wife yesterday. Also thanks for making a home visit immediately”. He was deeply grateful for our prompt response. Sadly, he also informed me that Maggie passed away at 2am that morning. That was less than 24 hours from the moment we were contacted.

I am thankful to Alex for connecting us to people in time of need. I am even more thankful that our team rose to the occasion, despite the short notice. They swung into action immediately and managed to make one home visit, allowing our patient to settle in at home and enabling the family to have the information they needed, to know what to do. We hope that Michael and his family have received help, one way or another. Our deepest condolences to Michael and his family. May Maggie rest in peace.

*not their real names