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November 25, 2009 > Thankful Patient Shows His Appreciation for Hospital Staff

Thankful Patient Shows His Appreciation for Hospital Staff

Everyone enjoys receiving a thank-you note expressing someone's appreciation for a good deed or act of kindness. Some of us even keep such cards for awhile, displaying them on our desks or kitchen countertops as a reminder that someone is grateful for our efforts before we reluctantly put the card away in a drawer or toss it into the recycling bin.

A simple thank-you note didn't seem adequate to Jack Payne, though.

After spending a week as a patient at Washington Hospital in June, Payne wanted to give the people who cared for him a more permanent expression of his gratitude. So he contacted an awards company that he had dealt with before and requested several crystal plaques with his "thank you" message etched on them. He then worked with the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation and Community Relations staff at the hospital to organize presentations to each of the departments involved in his care. The doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff were thrilled!

"I wanted to do something that would be a lasting sign of my appreciation," Payne explains. "For awhile there, I didn't think I was going to make it."

Payne had known for some time that he had an esophageal ulcer - an open sore in the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach). "The ulcer was diagnosed after I had an endoscopy, and I was on medication for the problem," he recalls. "Then one day as I was sitting on my bed, all of a sudden I started spitting up blood - lots of it. I didn't recognize it as blood because it was a blackish color. I didn't know what was happening because I was so weak."

Fortunately, Payne's son found him in the bedroom and recognized that something was very, very wrong. "He said to me, 'Dad! We need to get you to the hospital right away!' and then he called 911," Payne says. "The ambulance arrived within eight minutes and sped me to the hospital. In the emergency room, I was fading in and out of consciousness. At one point, I realized they were doing CPR, and I thought I had died - even though I didn't see any white tunnels or bright lights.

"The doctor in the ER was concerned that they might not be able to help me after so much blood loss - about four pints," he adds. "Pumping that much blood back into the body can put a strain on your heart, so they performed an EKG to make sure my heart was strong enough to withstand the transfusions. Then I was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for four days and finally to the 3rd floor for another three days."

Over the course of his stay, Payne had to be given seven pints of blood. He couldn't eat or drink anything until the ulcer healed. Yet he claims that he enjoyed his stay, making friends with the doctors, nurses and other staff.

"It was an adventure," he says. "Once I got out of the ER, I knew I was on my way back. The doctors were terrific, helping to prevent liver and kidney damage with their fast action. All of the teams in the hospital took excellent care of me. I am living proof that Washington Hospital is an excellent quality hospital with a very devoted and caring staff. I really appreciate being brought back to life."

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