Favorite Mayo Clinic Stories of 2017: Patient Afraid to Leave His Wife Alone Finds Answer in Tammy Rew #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.

Patient Afraid to Leave His Wife Alone Finds Answer in Tammy Rew
The patient had already had a busy day. One more appointment that afternoon seemed impossible to manage. It wasn't that he was tired after a long day or overwhelmed by tests and medical information. His concern was simple. He was worried about his wife.

The patient, we're told, is the sole care provider for his wife, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. During the patient's initial appointment, his wife's condition caused her to become confused and even "wander off a number of times" from the waiting room. This led to repeated interruptions during the appointment. It was stressful for the patient, who was scheduled for another appointment later that afternoon. He was "quite concerned," we're told, about leaving his wife alone in a waiting area again.

But he had not yet met Tammy Rew. Tammy, a Clinical Assistant at Mayo Clinic, heard about the patient's concern and, instead of heading home after a full day of work, offered to stay with the patient's wife for the duration of his late-afternoon appointment. Each time the patient's wife attempted to leave the waiting room in search of her husband, Tammy gently "redirected" the woman, reassuring her that all was well with her husband's appointment. Tammy's supervisor Kelly Parish tells us the patient was "so very appreciative" of Tammy's actions and shared afterward that he would not have been able to have this second appointment "had it not been for Tammy."

It's the kind of selfless act that in 2015 earned Tammy a "Karis Award," an annual recognition given to "formally recognize the many caring persons who live out the Mayo Clinic values in an extraordinary way, as they serve patients, visitors, and colleagues." So when Kelly learned that Tammy went "way above and beyond" her job description to make sure one patient could get the care he needed, she wasn’t surprised.

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.