March 29, 2021

Caring Beyond Physical Needs: Jeff’s Story

My wife Cathy was the lead medical transcriptionist at a busy suburban Chicago hospital until she had a massive heart attack in August of 2005. The heart attack caused too much damage & Cathy was told that she needed a new heart. She had a Left Ventricular Assist Device, an LVAD, installed in her abdomen to assist her heart in pumping to keep her alive until a donor heart could be found.

After Cathy’s LVAD surgery, she needed special care. RML was the only hospital willing to take on her difficult case. To accept Cathy as a patient, RML’s staff needed special training and individualized accommodations to meet her needs. The staff at RML were willing to go above and beyond to accommodate us.

We received expert care at RML. I say ‘we’ because not only did my wife receive exceptional care to treat her illness, but I was also included in the healing process. The team of physicians and therapists had us set goals to help monitor her progress. They let both my wife and I set goals — they did not tell us what we should be doing or how my wife should be progressing, they instead asked our input. This made all the difference in the world to my family. We felt like we were helping direct the course of the care we received instead of being pushed through a pre-designated route in a complex medical system. The staff at RML genuinely cares for both the patient and their family and they treat each individual patient in a unique manner customized to meet the patient’s needs.

Cathy fought through her illness for nine months. She was scared for a lot of that time but throughout each of her 3 stays at RML she was very happy. With the help of staff like psychologist Dr. Joanne Kelly, Cathy was able to rid herself fear and regain control of her life. Unfortunately Cathy never made it to transplant. We were at peace with her medical situation. When the time for Cathy’s passing came, she was at total peace. There was no fear. Cathy realized that everything that could be done was done and it was just her time. The last three days of her life she spent at RML with her family and friends. On that last day, we all said goodbye and she passed away quietly holding her husband’s hand with her nurse and doctor in the room to make sure she passed quietly and painlessly.

This was not the outcome we wanted but it is a part of life. RML realizes this and helped both Cathy and myself through our most difficult days. This is what makes this facility so important… what is best for the patient takes precedence. RML truly has the patient’s best interest in mind.

Thank You,
Jeffrey Black