How do you introduce someone you have never met? How do you honor a person who sacrificed so much you can't even fathom the magnitude of their offering? How do you ask a complete stranger to let you share their most intimate feelings and their raw pain?
How do you ask a parent to share their lost child?
If you work in or around health care, you probably have experienced some or all of this. Nurses and other practitioners see the best and worst of humanity. We experience people's most intimate secrets and deepest pain. We share in the joy of birth and the sorrow of death - outsiders brought into the inner circle.
We share laughter and triumph of issues that aren't our successes. We share tears and pain when we don't know the victim.
How do we do it? It is the art of what we do, the essence of who we are: givers, healers, sponges. We absorb whatever is around us and do everything to make it better.
There is something different about those who give without the thought of taking. I get great pride and satisfaction knowing I eased someone's pain, saved someone's life or gave someone a glimmer of hope where before they had none. That's a passion I share with my colleagues in health care.
So on Monday, August 15, NorthBay Healthcare will dedicate Trauma Bay 1 in memory of Morgan Nicole Gallegos, a young lady I was never fortunate enough to meet, but who has become part of my daily life.
Morgan is the daughter of an emergency room nurse here. Morgan's life ended in a tragic watercraft accident about a year ago. She loved health care. She had a vision for her life. And Morgan was a giver.
She would tell her mom each morning to go "save lives" when she went to work. In the end, she did just what she told her mom to keep doing. Morgan gave her organs so that others might live.
As a parent, I was inspired by her photograph that showed off her bright eyes and smile, by her knowledge and vision, and by her unselfishness. That it came to an end at such a tender age haunts me.
Morgan once wrote that she wished to be immortal, to go on living after her death, for people outside of her family to know that she was here. With the help of some very special people, we will make that happen.
Morgan will live forever in the lineage that passed through her organs to their donors. How many generations will those families carry on when they might have been smited by disease?
I have read the letters from the donor recipients, so I know her memory and life force is strong within them. Morgan lives within those who have a new lease on life. Morgan lives in the hearts, minds and memories of her parents, siblings, family and friends. And now Morgan will live on every time we resuscitate a trauma patient in the room that will bear her name.
NorthBay Healthcare Foundation has established a fund in Morgan's name. Mine will be the first donation to the Morgan Gallegos Trauma Room on Monday. I believe in what Morgan did and her legacy should exist in perpetuity. I challenge you to do the same, for someone you love, someone you loved and lost, or just because, "Is nos operor, sic alius may algo."
That's our motto in emergency care: "This we do so others may live."
Please consider adding your donation to honor Morgan Gallegos.