Amid Mourning, Families Are Grateful
One-hundred year-old Yvette Brodin was admitted to the emergency room at Coney Island Hospital on August 18th suffering from severe respiratory distress and pain. The ER team quickly stabilized her breathing, but the pain persisted.
After a few days with little progress, Ms. Brodin’s daughter, Iris, consulted with the palliative care team at Coney.
“They were sympathetic and caring. They understood my need to see my mother as comfortable and as pain free as possible. They realized I could no longer keep her this way at home and they provided practical solutions,” Iris Brodin wrote in a letter of gratitude to Coney Island Hospital Executive Director Peter Wolf days after the passing of her mother.
Brodin has been among dozens of family members who have sent letters of appreciation to Coney Island staff even as they dealt with the passing of a loved one who faced a terminal condition.
Steve Benson, who also had to manage his mother’s end of life situation, shared similar words of appreciation for the support and consultation extended by the Coney Island Palliative Care team.
“Facing the daily challenge of a serious illness can overwhelm a person’s psyche and cloud one’s future judgment,” Benson said in a letter regarding the excellent care his mother, Nancy, received. “Knowing that there are others who care enough to deliver that support and strength, smiles and friendship goes a long way toward delivering perhaps the most valuable human emotion of all – hope.”
Compassion, concern and expert support have been the hallmark of the Palliative Care Program at Coney, which includes Dr. Pavel Shulman, nurse Jackie Cataldo, social worker Inna Varshavskaya and the program’s director Donna Leno Gordon.
The family of Arthur Colon agrees. A thank you card sent to the team at Coney from one of his children said: “This was a very hard thing for my mother and your kindness ad support were the only thing that got her through this. You helped us and listened to us. I know we were drowning. We loved our dad so much and that’s why it was so hard.”
HHC plans to expand the successful efforts of the Palliative Care program at Coney across to all its acute care hospitals (see story “Dying with Dignity”).