This medical center is unlike most in the way that each patient, no matter how sick, is treated with respect, care and individual attention.
The patients at Reuth are in very difficult and serious situations. Some will go home while others will never know anything other than the hospital walls. Some are relatively independent, some were only able to communicate, while others demonstrated no signs of brain activity. As interns, we were exposed to patients who ran this spectrum.
Not only did we see these conditions with the adult departments, the children’s department reflected these same patterns. Reuth cares for children that no other hospital can care for. To these children, Reuth is the only home they will ever know. Despite the challenging predicament that these patients find themselves in, no one ever stops caring and loving them.
'We learned to never give up hope and to spread happiness'
As interns at Reuth, we were able to see all of these different parts of the hospital. While some were more challenging than others, no one held back and nothing was sugar coated. We were able to experience first hand what it was like to be a part of the Reuth family. We were given thorough explanations about the jobs of different medical professionals, ranging from doctors and nurses to occupational and animal therapists.
Not only did we hear from various medical professionals, we were able to interact with them on a meaningful level. For example, the physical therapist did not just have us watch a therapy session; rather, he performed the exercises on us. He allowed for us to experience a treatment and gain an understanding of what it is like to be a patient.
Similarly, while interning in the children’s department we did not merely follow a nurse or doctor. We had a chance to get to know Reuth’s special children. We held their hands, brought them dancing and held them in a swimming pool.
One boy had a great impact on many of the interns. Although he was very sick and could not see or speak, he smiled, laughed, and blew kisses. As one intern stated, “the second I touched his hand and started singing to him, laughter filled the room.”
As intense as this internship may sound, it was truly a life changing experience and we really enjoyed ourselves. Despite the pain, there is joy everywhere you look at Reuth. Patients were constantly found laughing with volunteers; playing cards with one another and striking up lively conversations.
A lesson that we learned at Reuth is to never give up hope and to spread happiness wherever you go. We realized that it was important to take this lesson to heart and apply it to our own lives. The patients needed us, but we took more from them than we ever thought possible.
We watched as the staff showed the patients compassion and care, but we were touched by the love that the patients gave us. The word Reuth means friendship. This summer, we formed relationships with the patients that we will never forget.
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