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Blog: Stories and Insight

End-of-Life Birthday Wish to Go Home

Samaritan Palliative Medical Partners Nurse Practitioner Lindsey Makrinos and Nurse Liaison Tracy Giunta met Ron during a palliative consultation at his bedside in the hospital. He had stage-4 rectal cancer and remained in the ICU with severe pain, hypotension, and shortness of breath. The hospital staff contacted Samaritan because they wanted to discuss Ron’s options for comfort care at the end of life.

It was Ron’s birthday and during his visit with Lindsey and Tracy he expressed one important wish: to pass away in his own home on his birthday. The two women, with 40 years of experience between them, knew that time was of an essence. Ron was taking a medication to elevate his blood pressure and, when stopped, he wouldn’t live long.

Tracy reached out to Lead Clinical Care Coordinator Kim Sarnese to help make special arrangements for Ron’s safe and comfortable journey home. She coordinated the blood pressure medication to be administered during transport and for a hospice nurse to be present upon his arrival to ensure his comfort.

The transport took the stops and starts with gentle care and Ron made it home. His entire family greeted him upon arrival. It was the first time they had seen each other in weeks as they weren’t allowed to visit Ron in the hospital because of COVID-19 restrictions.

It was 5:00 p.m. and the sun was officially setting on Ron’s birthday. By 6:00 p.m., Ron passed away peacefully and comfortably, surrounded by family, in his home just as he wished.

Tracy says: “It makes me proud to be part of Samaritan’s incredible Palliative Medical Partners team. When we see patients in the hospital for a consultation, we never know how much we change their lives. When Ron’s wife called me to express her gratitude for everyone involved in getting him home, my heart was so full.”

Palliative Medical Partners serves patients and their families at any stage of illness at bedside in the hospital or in an office-setting. The program’s goal is to relieve symptoms, offer psychosocial support, and/or engage in discussions about healthcare wishes.