Reuniting patient with husband to ring the bell on last chemo treatment
Tucker Abbott, emergency department nurse at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, was working in the clinical decision unit (CDU) when he received word that a woman was coming in to receive platelet infusions. She was thrombocytopenic, a condition that occurs when platelet counts are critically low.
During initial intake, Abbott learned that the woman’s husband was in the oncology infusion clinic and receiving his last chemotherapy treatment.
“She mentioned that today was the day that he was supposed to ring the bell,” Abbott said.
For those battling cancer, ringing the bell signifies a great accomplishment – the end of chemotherapy or radiation, and the beginning of a new chapter.
The patient mentioned that she and her husband were looking forward to being together for the bell ringing. She mentioned several family members were present, and everybody was bummed she was going to miss the special occasion.
Abbott had an idea. He wanted to bring the family together for this monumental moment, and he took the initiative to make it happen. He checked with his colleagues in oncology infusion and asked if they could let him know when they were getting close to finishing the last round of chemo. He wanted to bring the patient’s wife to oncology infusion so their whole family could be together.
After Abbott got the green light, he pitched the idea to his patient. She smiled at Abbott and said, “absolutely.”
After a couple hours, Abbott got the call that the husband was almost done. With a wheelchair nearby, he packed up his patient, hung her infusion as she was still getting platelets, and wheeled her over to meet her husband. Bundled up in blankets, they held hands the whole time as their wheelchairs were parked next to each other.
The entire family gathered and watched the gentleman ring the bell and then hold his certificate of completion.
“This is a true example of going above and beyond for a patient and his wife,” said Lacey Fuson in a Celebrating You recognition submitted for Abbott.
“Tucker brought her over to our unit, platelets running, to watch him ring the bell and celebrate his last chemo. The family and wife were so appreciative of this action by Tucker, and the other nurses on my unit and myself were so impressed he would take this step.”
“Honestly, it was probably one of the most fun things I’ve gotten to do with my nursing career,” said Abbott. “It was a cool thing to be a part of. It’s not something that we get to see often and it was just fun to see how genuinely appreciative the family was.”
Abbott has worked at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central for 14 years. He started as an EMT in 2009 and became a nurse in 2022. He has aspirations of pursuing his bachelor’s in nursing.
Born and raised in Colorado, Abbott jokes about working at Memorial Hospital Central, “I was born here and born to work here.”
“I’ve been here a long time, and I still enjoy it,” said Abbott.