Le 8 avril, mon père est mort à Montfort (lettre en anglais)

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On April 8th, 2017, my Dad died at the Montfort.

Alexander McDougall
Alexander McDougall

Alexander McDougall was a decorated WW11 veteran who served in Italy (the battle of Ortona), Germany (the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp), the Netherlands, Belgium and England. Al was a great proponent of education. As an adult, he attained his Law Degree and his progeny include a Medical Doctor, two PhDs, and a Harvard graduate.

He’d been a patient on the fourth floor (401) from mid-January until his death.

He was a very old man – he was almost 95 and had broken his hip after suffering a terrible set of events. He’d lost my mother in April, 2016; then his only brother died two weeks later. In December, his house burned down and, despite the tragedy, my husband and I were thrilled to have Dad come live with us. It hurt our hearts, terribly, that he had to go to hospital.

Over the months, I’ve been composing this letter in my head. A letter that thanks and applauds the care that Dad received at the Montfort’s wonderful home.

Today is the day I feel I can reach out to all the caregivers who made Dad’s stay meaningful.

While working with contractors on Dad’s home, I happened upon an article that made the distinction between providing a service and creating an “experience”. It lit my mind.

It made me understand that what the Montfort offers is an ‘experience’. It goes beyond doing the tasks that other hospitals toil over, and instead, creates a kind of connectedness between those needed tasks and their extraordinarily important impact on the patient. The patient. The patient. The patient.

Unlike other hospitals, my father was visited by the Chief of Staff and the hospital President. Without fanfare, I found them sitting about and chatting happily with Dad as if they’d known each other forever. These senior exectutives had nothing to gain but to sit beside an old man who was facing death.

I shall name those who were gentle, kind and caring with my Dad:

  • Nurse Practitioner Vanessa Helleur – Thank you for being a nurse. She was an amazing source of strength to our family, and was always available at a minute’s notice.
  • Hélène Joanis – Thank you for your beautiful gift of song.
  • Nurse Abedellatif – what a treasure!
  • PSW Jimmy – for giving Dad the best salute ever.
  • PSW Ron – for everything! But also for helping Dad when his breathing failed.
  • PSW Sophie – for being so devoted to her job! (I’d hire her in a second!)

Thank you to all at the Montfort,

Joan McDougall, December 19, 2017