In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 21, 2016

One Good Deed Leads to Another — and Gets Patients Home for Christmas

By In the Loop

Ed Washington was preparing to go home and be with his family after having aortic valve replacement surgery at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. Before going home, his family gave another patient a ride home. Ed Washington was preparing to go home and be with his family after having aortic valve replacement surgery at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. "My wife and two children were coming to pick me up," he tells us. "We were excited that I was getting out on Christmas Day."

That excitement, however, wavered after Ken Dye, Ed's physician assistant at Mayo, told him there might be a small issue. He would need medications after being discharged, and since it was Christmas Day, all of the pharmacies were closed. Ed tells us he didn't let that get him down. "I said, 'Listen, Ken, that's fine. Don't worry about it,'" he says. Dye, however, did worry about it, and told Ed that he'd continue calling around to every pharmacy in town to see if they could get lucky. 

Ed WashingtonWhen Ed's family arrived at the hospital, his wife and son came up to his room, while his daughter, Courtney, waited downstairs. After being told of the possible delay, Courtney came up to Ed's room and told him about another patient she'd met. "She says, 'Oh, by the way, there's another patient who I met downstairs who's been discharged and he's sitting outside with his nurse because his ride didn't show up,'" Ed says. When Courtney asked if they could give the patient, who we'll call Bob, a ride, Ed quickly agreed.

Ed went downstairs himself to introduce himself to the patient and his nurse, while his son, Eric, joined Dye in working the phones. "Ken and my son are going to town on their phones, and Eric finds a Walgreen's pharmacy that's open on Christmas Day," Ed says. "So at that point we're all cuing the Star Wars music, because we're getting pretty excited again."

Dye got the prescriptions to the pharmacy while Ed waited with his fellow patient and his nurse. "Ken then calls me a few minutes later and says, 'We're in luck. You can pick up your prescriptions there and go home,'" Ed says. His daughter, Courtney, just had one question: "What about Bob?" Ed's response: "Well, yeah. It's Christmas Day. Of course we're going to take Bob home."

After being formally discharged and making a quick stop at the pharmacy (also on Bob's to-do list), the Washingtons drove away from with a story Ed says they'll be telling for years to come. "A lot of people, I guess, would call it a random act of kindness," he says. "But for us, this is just what we do. And it's not like we did anything great. This was just something that needed to be done to help another human being."

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Tags: Aortic Valve Replacement, Florida Campus, Patient Stories

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