Gift of Gratitude

Thomas and Ann Haeussler always knew that nurses are special people, but during Mr. Haeussler’s 30-day stay at Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute, that sentiment was reinforced again and again.
It all started last spring, when Mr. Haeussler, 51, was admitted for a simple valve repair. Due to unforeseen complications, his expected five-day visit turned into a month, as he underwent two open heart surgeries. The couple was so appreciative of the cardiac nurses who cared for him with compassion and professionalism, that they made a $3,000 Healing Hands Award tribute gift in their honor.


“While being in the hospital is never a place you want to find yourself, there is no other hospital or unit we would have rather been in,” says Mr. Haeussler. “We felt like part of something special. The nurses gave 100 percent every single day, and they did it with a smile. Kindness abounded. This was care beyond expectation, and we are both humbled and awe-inspired by the team. We’ve made lifelong friends with our Gagnon 3 family.”

There was the attentive nurse who gave great comfort and a few giggles, which the couple so desperately needed. Nothing was too much trouble, and she continuously put them at ease. Then another nurse explained the medical jargon in simple terms, so they could make more informed decisions. Don’t forget the night nurse – a calm in the storm – whose demeanor and composure brought tranquility and quietude. His soothing voice was a godsend. And when Mr. Haeussler grew discouraged, yet another nurse reassured him that he would recover and return home. What’s more, his two nursing assistants brought an unsurpassed level of kindness, performing their duties with dignity and respect for their patient. And finally, the nurse who became the couple’s “guardian angel,” the one who brought them joy, belly laughs and tears of gratitude.

But perhaps the most poignant nursing interaction came moments before Mr. Haeussler’s second surgery. As he was being wheeled into the operating room, his nurses lined up along the corridor.

“Everyone gave Tom a high-five,” says Mrs. Haeussler. “They sang, clapped and cheered us on. Leave it to them to turn an awful situation into a party. It put us at ease knowing that our Gagnon family was behind us 100 percent and we’d get through this. This small act of kindness made a huge impression on us. The love in Gagnon that day was palpable. It was a day neither of us will ever forget.”
And just as his nurse predicted, Mr. Haeussler did, indeed, heal and return home.
In recognition of the extraordinary care you or a loved one received at Morristown Medical Center (MMC) from a physician, nurse, staff member or volunteer, please consider making a Healing Hands Award nomination. Your Gift of Gratitude will help us continue providing exceptional care to our community.

To honor one or more Morristown Medical Center team members with a Healing Hands Award, please visit our donation page. Simply check the Tribute box and include your personal message.
Photo: Tom and Ann Haeussler surrounded by the nurses on Gagnon 3
Photo credit: Edmund M. Kramer Photographers, Inc.

Make a Difference Today