Favorite Mayo Clinic Stories of 2017: Nurse Practitioner’s Gift to Family of Dying Patient: Songs That Comfort and Heal #ThrowbackThursday

Each year, Mayo Clinic's In the Loop blog looks back and shares some favorite stories of the year gone by. Here is the third of 17 stories from 2017. Be sure to check back each week for the next story.

Nurse Practitioner's Gift to Family of Dying Patient: Songs That Comfort and Heal
The right medicine isn't always a pill or an injection. Sometimes, it's a song. Just ask LaSonya Fleming. "Music can make such a difference in people's outlook and help them get through the day a little better," LaSonya, a nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic, tells us. That's why LaSonya, a dedicated singer from the time she joined her first church choir at five years old, has been known to sing for her patients. "Music makes a difference in body and spirit," she says. "You can just see how a song can lift up someone."

That was certainly the case in August 2015, when LaSonya was caring for Dolores Pleggenkuhle. Dolores had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and told she likely had just a few months to live. "The family was overwhelmed," LaSonya says. "One of the daughters could hardly speak." That daughter was Lisa Pleggenkuhle, who in her grief was inspired to make a request of LaSonya, whom she'd just met: Sing for us.

"Without any hesitation at all, she began 'Amazing Grace,'" Lisa recalls. "My mom's hearing was declining, but I knew that LaSonya's golden voice was received crystal clear."

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.