Open Letter Reminds RTs Why We Do What We Do

Peter DeMarco & Late Wife

Peter DeMarco and his wife, Laura Levis, hiking together last summer in Scotland. Credit Photo courtesy of Peter DeMarco

When a patient is near death in the hospital, family members need more than just competent care for their loved one. They need compassion too.

Clinicians at CHA Cambridge Hospital in Boston, MA, were there for one man whose young wife passed away recently due to a severe asthma attack, and like millions of other family members who receive this kind of compassion, Peter DeMarco was grateful. But unlike millions of others, the Boston writer decided to make his gratitude public in a letter to hospital staff who cared for his wife during her seven day stay in the facility.

He begins by saying that when he talks to friends about his wife’s final days, he cites the names of everyone who helped her — and him. “The list includes the doctors, nurses, respiratory specialists, social workers, even cleaning staff members who cared for her,” he writes.

When they ask him how he can remember any of those names, he replies simply, “How could I not…”

The entire letter was published in the New York Times last week and has since been shared by millions on social media.

We share it with our members here in the hopes that it will remind all of us in respiratory care how important our words and actions can be to someone facing the end of a loved one’s life.