Nurses recognized for organizing wedding for terminal patient

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Wednesday marks National Nurses Day which kicks off National Nurses Week: a seven day celebration of the skills and commitment of our health care providers.

The celebration of skill and compassion has extra significance this year after a group of nurses at Miami Valley Hospital made one patient’s final wish come true.

“We don’t give up until a family member says I’m done and this gentleman never said that to us. He never ever spoke those words,” said Liz Miller, RN, oncology nurse at Miami Valley Hospital.

Liz Miller recalls her patient, Kirby, who was suffering from terminal cancer.

“He had come in for one complication and then had to come in for another complication and then another and another,” she said.

Miller said Kirby and his wife, Anne, became family to the team of oncology nurses when his stay at Miami Valley Hospital became long-term.

“No matter how big or how small, if it is one thing we can do to make them feel better then that’s what we do,” said Alyssa Voskuhl, an oncology nurse at Miami Valley.

“You do what you can to make someone feel better in one of their worst times,” Shelley Shade said.

During Kirby’s stay at Miami Valley Hospital, the nurses learned that the couple wasn’t legally married, even though they were together for more than 15 years.

“Way back then he was like ‘I can’t really afford to do the whole wedding thing’ so they kinda pushed it under the rug,” Miller said.

That’s when the nurses stepped in to help. From making calls to get the marriage license to planning a ceremony, Miller said they were determined to make it happen.

“In 26 hours we had everything and everyone we needed to put this wedding on. Flowers, food, decorations, a veil, dresses. You name it,” Miller said.

And in a vacant unit at Miami Valley, Kirby and Anne finally said ‘I do.’ Kirby passed away one week after the wedding.

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