An Impact in the Life of a Patient

The headshot of Caroline Wagner.
| Caroline Wagner

Partners That Heal Member Caroline Wagner shares one of the most impactful stories from her service in the community

Share a time that you felt your services made an impact in the life of a patient. 

I will never forget the first time Partners That Heal was requested to be at a dying child's bedside. The Child Life Specialist indicated that this pediatric patient’s health was declining rapidly due to terminal cancer and that she was in the room surrounded by family. They had only days if not hours left with her. We were informed that the room was dark and that she may not respond to us but if we could provide a peaceful, calming activity, it would be appreciated.

When we entered the room, it was completely silent. You could hear a pin drop. The patient was lying in the bed with her eyes closed. I could feel a lump form in my throat as I realized the gravity of the situation. I started to have doubts, thinking “what could I possibly offer this child or this family?” I felt like an intruder encroaching in on this vulnerable, private moment. I took a deep breath and trusted my instincts (and my fellow partners), approaching from a place of humility and grace. I honestly cannot remember if we told a story or sang a song, but what I do remember is the small smile that formed on this child’s face. Up until that moment, I was not sure she could even hear us. I will never forget how much this smile meant to her family who had not seen her smile in a very long time. We didn’t stay long, but that smile was everything.

The next day, we heard from the hospital staff that the child had passed but that in her final hours, she was asking for us to come back to visit her. I will never forget this patient or the impact we made that day.