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Registered nurse Reza Beheshti said he just couldn’t sign the discharge papers allowing a patient to walk away from Community Regional Medical Center’s emergency department – and risk possible paralysis. Reza was compelled to offer more than medical care when he heard the man’s dilemma.
Hipolito — who did not want his last name used – had to make the toughest of choices — to have the medical procedure he needed or feed his family. His spinal injury was very severe and painful, but
Hipolito said he had to continue working or he wouldn’t be able to pay his bills, leaving his family without food and a place to live.
When Beheshti and Hipolito’s physicians explained he could become paralyzed without the procedure, Hipolito still could not put himself before his family’s welfare. They also explained that with the surgery he had a 90% chance of a good recovery.
“If you leave, (paralysis) could happen any time,” Beheshti warned Hipolito again after the surgeon had a long conversation with the patient. “But Hipolito told me in Spanish, ‘How can I think about myself when my family will have nothing?’”
Beheshti said he couldn’t listen any longer: “I thought, I can’t do this – I can’t discharge him – a man who would risk all just to take care of his family. So I took him aside and asked a very important question because I didn’t want to influence him on a medical decision.”
Beheshti asked Hipolito if he didn’t have bills for rent, utilities or food to worry about, would he have the surgery. Hipolito stated that he would because it would help him get better. But the patient said he had no other option or resources to call on so he had to keep working regardless of his medical condition.
Then Beheshti offered to pay Hipolito’s rent, food and bills for the time he would need off. “If a man is willing to lose so much to feed his family – I couldn’t let him go home,” Beheshti said.
After talking it over with his wife, Hipolito decided surgery was the right thing for him and took Beheshti up on the offer.
“He is the angel who came to my rescue,” Hipolito said through a translator. “He put me at ease and reassured me one way or another, my bills would be paid.”
Hipolito said Beheshti is a fine, honest person whom he would remember for his good deed.
“I’m very grateful to him because no one has ever done anything so generous for my family as he did,” Hipolito said. “I want to thank him and all the staff who cared for me. They were all so wonderful.”
A week after the successful surgery, Beheshti called Hipolito to make sure he had enough funds. Hipolito assured Beheshti he did and they talked for a bit going over some of the post operative instructions for care. Beheshti reminded Hipolito to follow the doctor’s orders and to come back in for his follow-up appointment.
Hipolito said he would and that his life was on the right track – thanks to one special nurse.
Mary Lisa Russell reported this story. She can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.