Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:32 am
On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.
On May 16, 1901, workers laid the cornerstone for a new hospital committed to caring for the St. Louis Jewish community when other institutions wouldn’t.
Exactly 26 years later, on May 16, 1927, officials gathered to dedicate the first building of a new Jewish Hospital at the corner of Kingshighway and Forest Park. The complex would eventually become part of Barnes-Jewish Hospital following a 1995 merger.
Imagine that you've just been told you have only a short time to live. What would you want your family and community to remember most about you? In St. Louis, a hospice program called Lumina helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple goodbye.
Suzanne Doyle sits quietly thumbing through a stack of books and photo albums she helped create. She's a middle-aged woman with a soft spoken demeanor. Doyle is the founder of Lumina, a program at BJC Hospice that helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple good-bye. Her eyes begin to moisten as she recalls a recent patient, Courtney Strain, who died of brain cancer last summer at the age of 25. In the months before Strain died, she met weekly with Doyle where she revealed one constant frustration. Strain said she felt like an outcast, that people didn't know what to say to her, so they said nothing at all.