Woman to SGH Ward 78 doctors & nurses: ‘I really cannot thank you enough for everything you did for my mother’

The doctors and nurses were nothing but highly professional.

Mandy How | October 30, 2018 @ 03:12 pm


The grieving process is tremendously painful and exhausting.

But despite the passing of her mother, one Singaporean woman, Martha Tara Lee, wrote a lengthy letter of appreciation for the doctors and nurses of Ward 78 at Singapore General Hospital.

A Stage 4 breast cancer patient, Lee’s mother was in the ward for a total of eight days, before passing away peacefully on the morning of Oct. 27, 2018.

Without flinching

Although Lee has worked with many medical professionals, many of whom she holds in high regard, she had never interacted with them in a personal capacity prior to her mother’s stay in the hospital.

In the five nights that Lee stayed over at the ward, she saw the doctors — and especially nurses — in action, taking care of her mother better than she could.

“Because of chemo and radiation, her skin was thin and her energy weaker by the day, the nurses were always telling her what would be done before executing it, consistently respectful, professional, gentle yet compassionate in handling her.”

When it came to bowel movements, the nurses would handle it without disgust, and without flinching — something that even Lee finds it hard to do.

Moving as a team

For her first two nights at the hospital, Lee would try to help the nurses when they tended to her mother in the middle of the night.

After a while, however, Lee realised that the nurses were doing a perfectly fine job without her “help” — in fact, she was often in their way.

On Oct. 24, when Lee’s mother was foaming at her mouth from a drug allergy, Lee saw how everyone moved as a unit to resuscitate her.

Before Lee could even alert a nurse about the situation, one of them had already come in. When the second nurse confirmed the crises, the team was mobilised.

Everything afterwards was swift and measured, as four more nurses and about three doctors sprung into action.

Lee was asked to wait outside during the ordeal.

Moving together, the team “behaved as one body”, and according to Lee, there was no panic, no yelling, no running — they were calm, even.

Drawing inspiration

But the medical staff were more than professional and well-versed at their jobs.

They were full of empathy and provided warmth for the patient, in contrast to the sterility of a hospital.

Even when Lee’s mother got increasingly frail and tired and complained about the nurses, they never took it personally, and remained kind and reassuring.

From there, Lee would draw inspiration on how to care for her mother, taking heed to be as gentle as the nurses.

Lee ended her letter recognising how thankless the healthcare workers’ professions must be, adding that she is in “awe” and expressed “eternal gratitude” to the team for making her mother’s final days just that bit better.

“Thank you. I really cannot thank you enough for everything you did for my mother, and continue to do for others. Thank you, thank you, thank you…”

You can read her original post here:

Top image from Singapore General Hospital/ Facebook


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About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

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