When Karen Waldstein learned that she was a perfect match to be a stem cell donor to her brother, newly diagnosed with leukemia, she felt elation as well as anxiety.
“I carried a tremendous burden in the outcome,” says Karen. “The compassionate and skillful support of Don got me through the procedure.”
That skillful support began when Karen first met with Don Francis, RN, BSN, a nurse in the Massachusetts General Hospital Blood Transfusion Service (BTS). “After examining my veins, Don said that I would need to donate my stem cells through a catheter placed in my groin. Don suggested ways I could ease the stress of the procedure. He took time to thoroughly explain the stem cell collection process from start to finish in a very understandable way. The time and effort Don put into teaching me about the stem cell collection process allayed my fears and gave me the confidence that I needed to proceed in a positive manner.”
Although Don did not perform the stem cell collection procedure, he stayed after hours to ensure that everything went well. Karen was grateful that he stayed by her, calming her fears.
As Karen began changing preparing to return home, she suffered a small setback. Suddenly blood began pouring from the catheter insertion site. Don calmly took control of the situation and directed his nursing colleagues on the best way to stop the bleeding. Grateful for Don’s attentive concern and clinical acumen throughout the process, Karen writes, “Don showed me the difference one person can make in the lives of others.”