The Meaning of Care Magazine
The Meaning of Care Awards: 10 Years of Honoring Extraordinary Care, Including ‘a Moment of Perfection and Beauty'Published: Aug. 24, 2022
DeDra Robb hadn’t met Adam Wells, MD, before Saturday, April 30. But Dr. Wells, the medical director of Methodist Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), quickly deduced two things: how dire DeDra’s situation was and how much she wanted to see her 17-year-old son graduate from high school.
“Sometimes in the ICU, the best critical care we do doesn’t involve medications or procedures,” Dr. Wells said. “It’s the other ways we take great care of our patients — and this was one of those ways.”
He made a command decision and rallied his team. DeDra would be there when Owen received his diploma — but not on May 28 at Baxter Arena. By all indications, more than nine years into her battle with metastatic breast cancer, she didn’t have that kind of time. The ceremony would be held as soon as possible right there on the hospital’s seventh floor.
Nurses ordered streamers, a cake and flowers. Husband and father Jeff Robb alerted Owen’s two sisters and local relatives. Dr. Wells called the principal of Millard South High School in the middle of her Saturday grocery run. Heidi Weaver didn’t hesitate, securing a cap, gown, diploma and honor cords. She also handled the commencement address.
Hours after setting the plan into motion, the graduate, in full regalia, proceeded into room 752 with his mom, dad, extended family and Methodist staff looking on — tears in their eyes.
“Owen was so proud that he got to do this for his mom,” Jeff said. “For almost 10 years, DeDra’s major life goal was to live through her cancer diagnosis to see her kids graduate from high school. She got to see Owen graduate — and it was beautiful.”
DeDra died just over a week later, on Mother’s Day, May 8.
Dr. Wells described the experience as overwhelming. Though he wasn’t seeking recognition, his compassionate care — beyond medications and procedures — earned him one of Methodist Hospital Foundation’s The Meaning of Care Awards.
“He cares deeply for his patients,” said critical care nurse coordinator Melissa Mollner, RN. “He listens to them, and this is a prime example.”
The Meaning of Care Award is a way for grateful patients, their families and others to thank Methodist employees. Over the past 10 years, the Foundation has given out more than 1,500 awards. They have honored employees on the front lines and behind the scenes — in the Emergency Department, Environmental Services and dozens of other departments. To amplify the impact, grateful patients or their families make a gift to the Foundation in the recipient’s honor.
Quick to share credit, Dr. Wells said the graduation ceremony was “a testament to the whole team and how much they care.”
Jeff called it “a moment of perfection and beauty.”
“Our family will always cherish that moment,” he said. “That Dr. Wells and the Methodist staff would care that much, that Principal Weaver and Millard Public Schools would care that much, it just means the world to us.”
Help us honor those who are there when you need them most. To recognize a Methodist employee with The Meaning of Care Award, visit MethodistHospitalFoundation.org/TMOC.