Queen’s Hospital has had its first feline visitor, as staff made sure the last wish of a dying patient came true.
Cat lover Gladys Wray, 66, died of lung cancer at the Romford hospital and it was feared her last wish to see her cat again could not come true when she took a turn for the worse and was not able to return home before she died.
Hearing the family’s heart breaking story, our staff on Mandarin A ward, as well as our palliative care team, leapt into action before it was too late, bringing ginger and white cat Patch to Gladys’ bedside for an emotional goodbye.
Husband David, 65, said: “It was a beautiful moment. I put her hand on Patch to stroke him and everyone in the room heard her breathing change, she knew he was there.
“She loved animals - we have another cat Honey and a dog Roxy - but cats were her favourite, she adored them. It was a big surprise that we could take him to see her, everyone on the ward was fantastic.”
Gladys, of Haydon Road in Dagenham, spent a week at the hospital and it was ward clerk Leigh Kaniklides and palliative care occupational therapist Ursula Abbott who made the arrangements for Patch to come in.
Leigh said: “When I heard the family talking about her last wish to see her cat I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have cats and I know I’d want to see them. It was really emotional and she died about an hour after she saw Patch.”
Bringing in Patch was one of a number of reasons Mandarin A ward was given a Star of the Month award, after they received several nominations recognising the teamwork of all staff.