Beaufort Memorial Hospital nurse Morgan Lotz didn’t think anything of it when the children of a dying patient asked permission to bring their mother’s longtime companion to her room to say goodbye.
Never mind the visitor was a scruffy old dog.
“The dog meant the world to her,” Lotz said. “They wanted their mother to spend the last moments of her life with her best friend.”
Lotz made a couple of phone calls and cleared the way for the unusual four-legged visitor. Later that night, the 92-year-old woman passed away.
The compassionate gesture earned Lotz the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, a national tribute reserved for RNs who go above and beyond the call of duty. Last week, hospital administrators surprised her with the award at the end of her 12-hour shift.
“We don’t usually allow dogs in the hospital, but Morgan was willing to take the extra steps to make it happen,” said Dot Rucker, department director of the 5th floor. “She wanted to do whatever she could to comfort the family during a very difficult time.”
Although the patient was unconscious, her daughter laid the dog, named Maddie, on the bed next to her mother.
“It was so sweet,” Lotz recalled. “The dog rested its head on the patient’s chest and just laid there quietly. It was a very emotional moment for the family.”
In appreciation of her kindness, the patient’s family recently gave Lotz a framed print of a wolf, part of a collection of Native American artwork owned by their mother.
“I was very surprised when it was presented to me,” Lotz said. “It’s a very cool print. I have it hanging in my home.”
In addition, a family friend, Beaufort resident Robbie Robertson, decided to nominate Lotz for a DAISY Award. Anyone can nominate a nurse for the prestigious award. Applications are available throughout the hospital.
The DAISY Award was created in 1999 by a Seattle couple as a way to honor the nurses who took care of their son before he died. It has since been adopted by healthcare facilities all over the world.
Unaware she had been nominated for the award, Lotz was caught off guard again when she was called in early Wednesday morning to speak to her supervisor.
“When my manager told me the boss wanted to see me, I got a little nervous,”
Lotz recounted. “I was in utter shock when I walked into the room and saw all these people standing there with balloons.”
The 23-year-old nurse was given an engraved vase full of daisies and a trophy titled, “A Healer’s Touch,” a hand-carved sculpture created by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.
“Caring for patients and their family is the whole reason I became a nurse,” Lotz said. “I feel like I’m making a difference.”