Clinical placements

I was moved by family’s kindness and generosity in the face of tragedy

The moment that inspired me to train as a nurse was an emotional one. I worked as a healthcare assistant before beginning training as a nurse. Several years ago I came across a patient who will always stick in my memory… even though we never spoke.

The patient was a 15-year-old boy who had been involved in a road traffic accident, and he came into hospital with critical injuries. He was a foreign patient, and his family had to fly into the country to be at his bedside during his final hours.

Somehow though, in their time of grief, their kindness and generosity broke so many barriers in my mind.

Their sons injuries were so severe that he had been left with no brain function. By the time his parents arrived at the hospital he was only being kept alive by machines. Within days his parents gave consent for life support to be withdrawn and for him to become an organ donor.

The moment that will stick in my mind forever, though, is when I joined the team bringing him down to theatre for organ retrieval. I was asked to close the

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The patient was a 15-year-old boy who had been involved in a road traffic accident, and he came into hospital with critical injuries. He was a foreign patient, and his family had to fly into the country to be at his bedside during his final hours.

Somehow though, in their time of grief, their kindness and generosity broke so many barriers in my mind.

Their son’s injuries were so severe that he had been left with no brain function. By the time his parents arrived at the hospital he was only being kept alive by machines. Within days his parents gave consent for life support to be withdrawn and for him to become an organ donor.

The moment that will stick in my mind forever, though, is when I joined the team bringing him down to theatre for organ retrieval. I was asked to close the doors behind me as I left. He was still alive as I closed the doors and they seemed to swing shut so slowly that it felt like a lifetime.

I still work part time as an HCA and in the hospital where I work today the operating theatres are located in an extremely old part of the building, with long echoing corridors.

Sometimes his mother’s cry still echoes in my mind. I’m reduced to tears just thinking about it. I can’t describe her wail of grief in words, but I’m sure many grieving parents can relate to it. It was a cry of pure sadness.

That day, ambulances and even a helicopter from the Organ Transplant Service arrived at the hospital, collecting the boy’s organs to take to other hospitals across the country. Later, my colleagues explained, a letter would come back, explaining how many lives had been saved by this one act of kindness.

His mother had made the brave decision to let her son go, and for his life to help others. I hope I would have her courage if I ever had to make that decision.

All I can say is that the care her son received reflects the work the NHS does each and every day for the individuals that comes through its doors.

But what is less often recognised is what patients and their families do for each other through organ and blood donation.

Patients let us into their lives every single day. They let us help them, make them better and save their lives.

We very rarely take a life, but in this situation, this boy’s family let us in, and let us take their son’s life away.

To be a part of kindness makes me proud to work in the NHS and to be training to be a nurse. I hope that by training as a nurse, I can return the kindness this patient’s family showed this country.

 

 

 

 

 

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