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Richard's Story

“The Day I Saved a Life"

A photo of a smiling male nurse wearing blue scrubs, chart in hand and stethescope around his neck.

I work in a chief of surgery practice where I take care of patients pre-operatively and post-operatively. Recently, one of the surgeon’s longtime patients made an appointment. He hadn’t been to the office for quite some time, so when he came in on a stretcher from a rehabilitation facility, we were all surprised.

He had an enterocutaneous fistula, an abnormal connection or opening between the intestinal tract and the skin. As a result, contents from the intestines leak through the skin, creating an extremely uncomfortable irritation that is very difficult to manage.

Our patient was weak and in pain, and there were also signs of infection. He told me that since we had last seen him, his wife had passed away from cancer, and he’d had coronary bypass surgery. I was looking at a man who was not only very sick but also had no hope for the future.

During that visit, I asked a wound care nurse to MacGyver an appliance that would help our patient manage his symptoms until his fistula could be closed up. And within a week, we’d set him up for surgery to do just that. I worked with staff at the rehab center to transfer him to the hospital, and with his insurance companies to make sure that everything was going to be covered.

When he came into the office again for his post-operative visit, I couldn’t believe my eyes. He walked in and sat at the edge of our examination table like nothing had happened. He was with his son and smiling ear to ear. And his abdominal wounds were healing perfectly.

When I asked how he was doing, he looked at me and said, "Even though the doctor did my surgery, you saved my life." With tears in his eyes, he told me that he’d gone from having no will to live to now having plans to travel and enjoy the rest of his life. I sat down next to him, and we both cried tears of joy. I’ll never forget how it felt to see such a difference in someone’s life knowing I was part of it.

It’s moments like these that make me proud to be a nurse.


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1 Comment


I have sooo many thoughts about the nurse's insight of this patient. Clearly this nurse loves his job and reminds me of the following I once read..."The Richest Wealth is Health and Wisdom (nurse), a Strong Weapon is Patience (patient), the Best Security is Faith (patient, nurse), the Greatest Tonic is Laughter (patient), and the Greatest Force is Love" (patient, nurse). All of these are Free

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