Outstanding care for my whole family
By Meghann Speigel-Kellaway
My father, Frank Speigel, passed away at Beebe Healthcare in November. His profession was as a cargo ship captain and commercial fisherman, but my father’s truest love was the sea. He was an avid and successful mariner and celestial navigator. He was also a smoker. And sadly, although he quit smoking a few years ago, the damage had long since been done. He needed a lung transplant. We remained positive even in the face of his diagnosis, and as recently as August he was accepted to the transplant list at Temple University Hospital in Pennsylvania.
At home, waiting for the transplant and tethered to oxygen 24/7, this active, vibrant man began to wither away. He was removed from the transplant list because he had gotten so weak, and it was an infection that brought him to Beebe on Nov. 7. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and although he was medically paralyzed and on a ventilator, I just assumed he would pull through. Even in his weakened state, he was still a resilient man.
From the moment he arrived, the care that my father received at Beebe was incredible. Nurses Nicky Toohey and Noelle Bolingbroke were patient and compassionate. I was allowed to lie in the bed with Dad, and although there were others in the ICU, the attention we received from the staff could not have been more caring. We were given space when we needed it, and our questions were answered immediately.
We met Chaplain Paula Waite, who was incredibly sympathetic and nice, asking my family, “Is there anything I can do?” Dr. Samih Raad was also amazing. Kind and informative, he was also, most importantly, honest with my family.
I went home to Cape May that night, but “the call” came the next morning. My sister and aunt were at Beebe – it did not look like Dad was going to make it through the day. Of course, I raced to get there to be with him and the family. That’s when we all met Matt Emerick. Matt and Angela Gleysteen were Dad’s nursing team on his final day with us.
Matt was incredibly wonderful. Kind, compassionate, engaged and comforting, he made my father’s transition feel less dire, and he brought for all us an enormous amount of peace. Because my father was an organ donor, at the end, we had to wait for the surgery team to arrive. And although his shift was over, Matt stayed with us, saying, “I’ve been here all day with your dad, and when I get home my kids will be sleeping anyway.” Matt made our miserable time a memorable one – even jamming to music we were playing for my dad and walking with us to surgery, where we were allowed to be with my dad until his final breath. Believe me when I say that everyone was great, but Matt is extra special. Beebe is lucky to have him on their team.
My family and I were so grateful and moved by the whole experience at Beebe that we requested, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Beebe’s Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing in my dad’s memory. He would have been pleased with the care he and his family received at Beebe. And just like my dad’s kidneys changed the lives of two men we will never meet, Matt’s kindness in our time of need changed all of our lives. From my whole family – Thank you, Matt!