I want to share how much Sylvia Hernandez, one of our environmental services workers at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, impacted a patient's family member in the ICU. Earlier in the year, we had a patient that was with us for several weeks—the majority of which she spent in critical condition. Her husband was by her side day in and day out, taking her acute illness to heart. He was very emotional and of course extremely worried about the possibility of losing her. Noticing this pain, Sylvia walked down to our gift shop and purchased a small teddy bear with her own money. She then placed it in the bed next to the patient. I remember speaking with the patient's husband the next day, and learning how much the gesture had caught him off guard. I listened to him that day, but wouldn't realize until later just how much Sylvia's act of kindness meant to him.
Several months later, after the patient had passed, the husband returned to thank us for the care we had provided her, and to let us know how much the kindness we had offered had impacted him and his family. He explained how difficult the last three months had been without his wife, and how many times he had driven past our hospital hoping to work up the courage to come back inside. It was during this conversation that he reminded us about the small teddy bear Sylvia had bought, and how it had become so special to him, that he placed it in his wife's casket so that it would be with her forever. I cannot stress what a pleasure it is to work with someone as compassionate as Sylvia.