Dianne Williamson: Gratitude for a nurse paying attention

Telegram & Gazette: Jessica Walsh was sitting on the bed, waiting to be discharged from St. Vincent Hospital, when nurse Jessica Moore stopped by the room to say goodbye.

Walsh had spent five days at the hospital after major intestinal surgery and couldn’t wait to get home. She was dressed and ready to go; as soon as the paperwork came, she’d be free.

Nurse Moore wasn’t assigned to Walsh on this day, but had tended to her after the surgery and wanted to wish her well. She asked Walsh how she was feeling.

“I said I was in pain, of course, but that I was doing OK and happy to be going home,” Walsh recalled.

Moore looked closely at Walsh and asked if she was sure she felt OK. Walsh said yes.

The women exchanged small talk for a bit, and Moore paused.

“You know, I think I just want to take your vitals once more before you go,” she said. So she did, three times, while Walsh was sitting, laying down and walking.

“OK,” Moore said. “Stay here and I’ll be right back.”

Moore walked out the door, then ran down the hall. Seconds later, the room was filled with hospital personnel. An oxygen mask was quickly placed over Walsh’s face and she was hooked up to an IV.

“It happened so fast, like something you see in the movies,” Walsh recalled.

The nurse had realized what the patient did not: Walsh was in medical distress. She would later tell Walsh that she grew concerned because she had looked pale and seemed winded. When she checked her vitals, the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure were soaring.

It turned out that Walsh was about to suffer cardiac arrest due to bilateral pulmonary embolisms, or large blood clots in both lungs. Had she been discharged as scheduled, had Moore not dropped by the room, Walsh likely would have suffered a heart attack on the way home. Instead, she was placed on the blood thinner Coumadin and remained at the hospital for four more days.

“Every day I am so thankful for her and the work she does,” said Walsh, who owns Worcester Wares at the DCU Center. “Every. Single. Day.”

Four years ago, on Nov. 10 of 2013, an alert nurse saved Jessica Walsh’s life. Since then, the women have become good friends. A few months after Walsh opened Worcester Wares, in 2015, Moore walked in to the store.

“Do you know who I am?” Moore asked with a smile.

“Oh my God, you’re the woman who saved my life!” Walsh replied.

The pair have met for dinner and breakfasts. Earlier this month, on the fourth anniversary of the day Moore saved Walsh’s life, they celebrated at dinner with their husbands. Recently, at the hospital’s monthly leadership meeting, Walsh told her story and presented a surprised Moore with a bouquet of flowers.

“Sometimes I still get overwhelmed thinking about what could have happened,” Walsh said. “What if I had died? I would have missed so many things with so many wonderful people. And then I realize. I don’t even need to think about it because this wonderful woman was paying attention, listened to her gut and saved my life.”

On Wednesday, Nurse Moore couldn’t comment for this column, because she was tending to patients in a busy emergency room. Her former patient isn’t one bit surprised.

“When she’s there, she’s paying attention,” Walsh noted. “She’s very busy saving people, thank God. This is just nurses doing their jobs, and they’re just so wonderful.”

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