COVID-19 patient’s family thankful for nurse who helped them say goodbye


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — COVID-19 has affected many people in many ways. For family members of those who died from the virus, it likely meant not being able to spend the last moments in person with their loved ones. Now, one family is thanking health care professionals who are filling in the gap when family can’t be present.

Martha Evans’ family members remember her as someone who made people feel welcome.

“People always loved coming to her home, but it was really because she was so welcoming, she made everyone feel special,” daughter, Sara Priester said.

About three weeks ago, Evans was diagnosed with COVID-19. She had been living in a nursing home in Pipestone. After not recovering completely, she spent the last week in the hospital at Sanford.

“Tracy’s dad and I both took off for the hospital, he lives in Brookings and I am in Pipestone, and then after we got there, they said they had taken an x-ray and it looked like COVID pneumonia and they tested her and she was still positive for COVID three weeks after her first diagnosis so then they made us leave and took her up to COVID critical care,” Priester said. “It was about three hours later that we got the phone call that they didn’t think she had more than an hour or two,” Priester said.

Priester then let family members know they should call Evans to say goodbye.

“The nurse that was with her and I am sure there was a team of them, but the nurse that we talked to was so great. She was really good at making us feel comfortable, letting us know what was going on, what grandma was doing, how they were helping her interpret what we were saying and hear us well,” granddaughter Tracy Kardoes said.

With the help of a Facebook post, the family is thanking that nurse for the comfort and compassion she provided during Evans’ final moments.

“I just knew we needed to get a real thank you to her,” Priester said. “I thought if Tracy will share it and get it to a couple of her Sanford nurse friends, I bet with about 15 shares we can find her. That was my thought, and we know it did reach her in about an hour.”

While it is a hard time for this family, they are grateful for the nurse’s kind action.

“We took our turns saying our ‘I love yous’ and ‘goodbyes,’ it was really special,” Kardoes said. “And this crazy, difficult time that families are going through, not just ours, and that nurses are having to fill in the gap for, and bear that burden, that emotional burden with families everyday at work, it’s really awe-inspiring.”

Kardoes says they have family in other states and the nurse was able to help family members speak on the phone with Evans that day.

KELOLAND News also reached out to Sanford about talking with the nurse, however, they had not heard back from her yet.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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