VIERA, Fla. -- Kathy Taylor's request might have seemed strange. But to Mary Santos, it made perfect sense.
A 35-year-old nurse and Viera mom of three, Santos walked Taylor, 61, down the long hallway to her son's hospital room. She didn’t scoff at Taylor's detour to pick up a warm blanket for Cory – or tell the woman a warm blanket would do nothing for her son at this point.
Instead, she led Taylor to the drawer to retrieve the fresh blanket from the bottom of the batch. Then she walked Taylor to the room where her 26-year-old son had just taken his last breath – and watched as Taylor tucked him in. Letting a mom preserve her son’s dignity is a “huge part of what we do," Santos said later.
“There’s nothing I can say to you that can make it better,” said Santos. "You just try to be as honest as you can be and as supportive as you can be.”
You can’t script what it means to be a nurse. Helping heal, whether physical or emotional needs, is exactly why nurses do what they do.
“It’s not a science,” Santos said. “It’s based on science, but really, it’s more of an art form.”
Taylor would agree. Her experiences at Health First's Holmes Regional Medical Center moved her to pen a 10-page thank you letter – a handwritten note that Health First staff turned into a 7-minute narrated video called "It's a Nurse." The video has been viewed more than 522,000 times since being posted on YouTube in May.
Most viewers can’t get through it dry-eyed.
"It is a nurse who... takes my face in her hands and asks me quietly if I can understand her, says she has something to tell me and that it is important I can understand her," Taylor wrote. "And when I say I can, it is a nurse who tells me that all the bells and buzzers and doors and feet I just heard were for the boy in the bed and that he wasn't fighting anymore."
Taylor insists these nurses, including Santos, were beyond extraordinary. Cory died Oct. 20, 2015, from sepsis, a complication of his heroin addiction.
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