MURRAY, Utah (ABC4News) — Nurses at Intermountain Medical Center had no idea a piece of paper could be so meaningful. On it, is the final EKG of their patients given to families of loved ones who have passed. These nurses never knew a last heart beat would be the beginning of something so beautiful and spread to the rest of the hospital.
Registered nurse, Tammy Kocherhans will never forget the day they gave out their first heart rhythm strip to a family who lost their loved one at Intermountain Medical Center.
‘this 15-year-old boy held it like his lifeline. His heart was breaking. He was completely sobbing. There was nothing we could do for that patient. This poor little family was falling apart. It was heartbreaking.’
A simple strip of paper with a final heartbeat is put in a tube.
Kocherhans, ‘to know that he accepted that one last gift, he held it so close was pretty powerful.’
It was Lisa Beglarian, a registered nurse at the Respiratory ICU at Intermountain Medical Center who brought up the idea at that moment. She had gotten that idea on Pinterest.
Each tube has a note:
Beglarian, “it says ‘may my heart be a gentle reminder of the love I have for you.’ Then it has the RICU which stands for the Respiratory ICU unit. This was a way for us to let our guard down. We care too and affects us too.”
Kocherhans, ”it’s hard on the whole unit when they pass away, It can be very emotional. It’s hard on the staff too because your heart is there. It’s the lasting gift we can give, a hug and we’d wrap you up in everything we could. I’m a mom and I wanted to hold these kids. I’m so sorry that was my last gift I could give.’
Beglarian’s idea has been shared with fellow caregivers and they all now use the same practice. Belgarian has even worked to collect expired lab tubes, so no resources are wasted.