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For one lost man taken to Baystate Medical Center, it was a holiday miracle

January 05, 2016
2 nurses

Found on the street roaming and suffering from dementia, Robert* (not his real name) longed to spend the holidays with his family.

He was taken to Baystate Medical Center and admitted to Springfield 1 and quickly stole the hearts of the staff who wanted more than anything to find his family. After many attempts by the social worker to locate his family, even using online search engines, no luck was to be had.

Keeping a close eye on him (afraid he would wander off the floor), he was often found sitting by the nurses’ station talking with staff members whom he bonded with.

Making the call

On Dec. 24, Cynthia Barnes, patient care technician, found two wallets among Robert’s possessions. Barnes was concerned about the amount of money Robert had in his wallet. With the patient’s permission, they counted the bills and stumbled across numerous business cards and phone numbers that Robert stated were either not working, or the person would be unable to help him.

Laura Bolella, RN, assistant nurse manager and Barnes asked the patient if they could try to call anyway and he agreed. Bolella took the cards and called the first number. It was Robert’s nephew.

Reunited at last

Bolella told the nephew they had been looking for Robert’s family for ten days without success. The nephew said he and his uncles, who drove to Springfield from NY and PA, were looking for Robert in local shelters.

The nephew came to the hospital 15 minutes later. He was relieved to know his uncle was safe and anxious to bring him home. His two brothers and the rest of his family came to the hospital to pick him up on Christmas day.

There was much crying among the family and staff members and celebrating. The patient spent Christmas with his family and is now living with one of his brothers in NY.

In photo is Laura Bolella RN, assistant nurse manager S1 (left in picture) and Cynthia Barnes, PCT S1 (right in picture)