hospital hallway

General Medicine Floor Smells a Little Less like Death Today

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TUCSON, AZ – Employees of the general medicine floor at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital arrived to work on Monday morning to a unit that smelled a little less like death than usual. “What a pleasant surprise!” announced Janet Baker, a registered nurse on the notoriously pungent 6th floor. “It was like a breath of marginally fresh air!”

long hospital hallway
long hospital hallway

“This particular medicine floor has always been a who’s who of terminally ill patients” explains Baker. “We get the homeless social work disasters, the 98-year-old vascular surgery post-op transfer from the ICU, and the failure-to-thrive nursing home residents with overbearing family members. We get it all.”

However, Monday was a noticeable change of pace when the faint scent of hand sanitizer could be detected over the normally overwhelming aroma that accompanies end of life care. “It was an incredible weekend,” states Kathy Lewis, an internal medicine intern. “Against all odds and a 100% DNR rate, we kept this place alive and kicking.”

The enthusiasm and celebration by the staff continued into the afternoon until a 102-year-old transfer from the stroke unit arrived on the floor for “discharge planning.”


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