Hadassah

Hadassah Nurse Innovates to Provide Solace for Grief-stricken Families

Thursday, Sep 27 2018

We all prefer to hear stories of children who recover from serious illnesses—and most do. Still, there are children for whom there aren’t yet solutions to their devastating diseases. The Hadassah Medical Organization  staff is devoted to those children, as their lives come to a close. Nurse Fadia Abed-Fatiha has come up with a sensitive way to help without intruding on the family’s privacy during the most difficult moments of their lives.

It began with Leah. She was only three, but she was dying of cancer. In the Metta Cohen Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, she was attached to monitors and intravenous lines. “All her life she slept in my arms. Why can’t I hold her one last time?” asked Leah’s mother. Abed-Fatiha, a veteran nurse in the unit, disconnected the wires and placed Leah in her mother’s arms. A few days later, Leah’s mother called to thank Abed-Fatiha for the gift she had given her: the last moments with her daughter. That’s when Abed-Fatiha realized that more had to be done for parents parting from their children. “We do everything we can for the child, but we also need to do everything we can for the parents,” she said.

When Abed-Fatiha was chosen to participate in a leadership course at the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing, she researched the way parents were supported in other hospitals. She learned about the Grief Cart, created in the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The contents didn’t suit the culture in Israel, so using her decades of experience, Abed-Fatiha re-purposed a department cart to create her own.

“Fadia’s Cart” is a set of drawers on wheels. She wanted to fill it with items that would relate to the spiritual side of death.

“I met with rabbis, imams, and priests to make sure that all the parents at Hadassah found a way to connect with God in the final hours of their child’s life,” said Abed-Fatiha. “In my experience, no one is an atheist when their child is dying.” The top drawer is filled with Jewish religious artifacts, including small books of Psalms and red strings against the evil eye. The second drawer is filled with such Muslim prayer items as a Koran, prayer beads, and a prayer mat. The third drawer has a Christian book of songs and stories that parents can read to their children in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, when they want to speak to their children but don’t know what to say. The fourth drawer is full of fragrances. The most popular item in the cart that constantly needs refilling is a stamp pad; parents memorialize their child’s handprint or footprint.

“It’s a work in progress,” says Abed-Fatiha. “I am privileged to help families at the hardest moments of their lives.”

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Thursday, Oct 18 2018

Advocacy Update | Advocate for Breast Cancer Month

At Hadassah, we're using three proven strategies to fight breast cancer: education & awareness, domestic advocacy, and support for groundbreaking research at the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO).

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Oct 15 2018

Hadassah Dedicates Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem

Hadassah unveiled the Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem on Friday, October 12th in Jerusalem, announced Ellen Hershkin, National President, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Oct 15 2018

Hadassah Dedicates Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem News Release

Hadassah unveiled the Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem on Friday, October 12th in Jerusalem, announced Ellen Hershkin, National President, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Friday, Oct 12 2018

New Zealand Scholarship Winner Comes to Hadassah Hospital

Describing it as a “life-changing experience,” Dinithi Seneviratne, a New Zealand health care professional, recently spent several weeks as an observer in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More