Roger’s Family’s Story: A Different Kind of Emergency Experience

It wasn’t long after arriving in the emergency department at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) that Sharon Maurice knew: This experience was going to be different.

Her father, Roger Ferguson, was suffering with prostate cancer for years. The family had seen plenty of doctors and nurses during that time. They were familiar with the helpless feeling of watching Roger suffer while professionals decided how to treat him. 

But on that Sunday morning, as soon as their nurse, Heather Davis, RN, entered the exam room, Sharon says everything shifted. Heather walked in and asked each family member their name, remembers Sharon.

From that moment on, the conversation was between Heather and her patient.

Direct Patient Care

After learning that Roger suffered from hearing loss, “She moved close to my dad and spoke to him not just face-to-face, but heart-to-heart,” says Sharon. “Heather wasn’t just going through the motions. She looked directly into his eyes and listened carefully to what he said. Heather was talking and interacting with my dad as the hard-working family man he was, not the dying cancer patient. My dad’s face just lit up and he grinned from ear to ear!”

Heather explained to Roger every medication she was going to administer and how it should make him feel. She shared resources that she thought might prove helpful to the family, even connecting them with a hospice representative that day.

Sharon says the family’s gratitude for Heather’s professionalism throughout their stay is hard to put into words.

“My dad was so sick; he knew his time was limited and he felt as helpless as the rest of us. But Heather’s one-on-one interaction with him acknowledged, ‘You’re still here; you’re still making decisions,’” says Sharon. “She gave my dad his power back. It was a significant moment for all of us, and I’ll never forget it.”

With 14 years of experience as a nurse, Heather has witnessed the value in speaking directly to patients and in building their trust.

“When you’re fully engaged with your patients, they know they are heard and valued,” she says. Her nursing style is intentional, she explains. “It reciprocates the beauty of what I received from nurses after giving birth to a special needs child with chronic illnesses.”

Of her time with Roger and his family, Heather recalls, “There was a lot of love in that room that day.”

She is grateful to have been a part of it. Roger passed away six months later.

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If you or a loved one needs emergency or trauma care, our teams of specially trained doctors and nurses are here to help. At Premier Heath, we quickly assess your condition and provide the care and treatment you need.

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