A man in Kirkland, Washington, got his last wish, thanks to the compassion of the local fire district and caregivers at his hospice care center.
The patient, known simply as Ed, had been a forest ranger with a passion for the outdoors. Sadly, his illnesses forced him to stay inside for many years, and he eventually became a resident at the Evergreen Hospice Center in Kirkland. As his health waned, he shared his last wish with the hospice chaplain: To be among nature one last time.
It was important to the staff to make sure Ed was safe on his journey, so they contacted the Snohomish County Fire District to see what they could do. With a little teamwork, Ed caught a ride in an EMS vehicle to some nearby woods.
The EMS team that transported him made sure he experienced as much of the area as he could.
"Together, the group took Ed up and down the trails, bringing him the scents of the forest by touching the fragrant growth and bringing their hands close to Ed's face," reads a post on the Evergeen Hospice Volunteers page.
The resulting image is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time, full of pure human compassion.
— D Kostelnik Juarez (@DellaSeattle) June 9, 2014
It's these experiences, the volunteers said, that make end-of-life care so important.
"People sometimes think that working in hospice care is depressing," reads the post. "This story...demonstrates the depths of the rewards that caring for the dying can bring."