A devoted elderly couple who died days apart were able to say a heartbreaking final goodbye after hospital staff went above and beyond to make it happen.
Mary Bilton, 86, gently held beloved husband Ron’s hand as the 89-year-old took his last breath on their 66th wedding anniversary.
The couple had both been in hospital, with Mary in the final stages of cancer and Ron suffering multi-organ failure.
Realising Ron was nearing the end of his life, staff on the hospital ward organised for patients to be moved safely to other areas so Mary could spend final precious moments with him.
Mary then spent time with her husband by his bedside, cherishing the memories she had shared with the love of her life before he died.
The grandmother died days later and the pair, from Barton, had a joint funeral and were buried together, Hull Live reports.
“We were determined to do everything we could so they could be together at the end,” said Sister Rosie Featherstone from Hull Royal Infirmary.
“We know it made a real difference to Mrs Bilton that she could be with him and she was able to sit in a wheelchair at the side of his bed holding his hand before he died.
“We were all crying when Mr Bilton died but glad we could help them be together. Everyone on the ward worked as a team to make it happen.”
Staff found out from Ron’s granddaughter that his wife had also been admitted to the hospital’s Elderly Assessment Unit (EAU) nine floors below.
Within 24 hours, his condition had deteriorated so rapidly that staff realised he did not have long to live.
Sister Rosie Featherstone contacted EAU to see if Mary could be brought up to be with him but there was no bed free on the ward.
Rosie sought permission from hospital managers and, together with junior sister Ellis Howard, arranged a five-way bed swap to bring Mary into the same bay as her husband.
She was moved into a bed as close as possible to her husband without breaching national rules on mixed sex wards.
After Ron died, his loving spouse continued to be cared for by staff on the ward before she passed away.
Staff on the ward have now been nominated for a Moments of Magic award, organised by Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to recognise staff who go above and beyond their duties to help patients.
Stacey Healand, Senior Matron on the Department of Elderly Medicine, said: “We have a great team in the department who always put their patients at the centre of everything we do.
“We’re very proud of what the team achieved on behalf of Mr and Mrs Bilton and their family.”
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