The following letter was sent to Mayo Clinic leaders by two Mayo employees, Don and Sharon Gabrielson, about the care Don's mother received from Mayo Clinic during her last days.
On March 13, 2009 we brought our 81 year old mother, Ruth Gabrielson, to St. Marys Emergency Room. In a few short hours we learned that she had a perforated bowel and bilateral pulmonary embolisms. She was alert and oriented, and capable of making decisions about her care and next steps. Given her age and the high risk of surgery, as well as the diminished quality of life that she would have afterward, she courageously made the decision to decline the surgery and let nature take its course. This meant that within a matter of days, she would die from infection.
She was admitted to Domitilla 6 and from that point on, we focused on the plan for palliative care. Dr. Siddarth Singh was kind and caring, and spent a significant amount of time with all of us discussing options, and being truly transparent about what we could expect. He was a godsend in helping us to begin to formulate a plan knowing that Mom's primary goal was to be kept comfortable.
The next morning we met the entire team of GI physicians: Drs. Chang, Oxentenko, and Loftus who provided more information in the most compassionate and empathetic manner we have ever witnessed. Mom made the decision to remain in the hospital and receive hospice care on Joseph 3 where she was then transferred later that morning. The hospice room was a blessing, it was decorated beautifully, and had a warm, homelike feel with all the amenities we needed. We were so grateful that mom could spend her final days in such a beautiful environment with plenty of room to accommodate her family.