An ICU Nurse at St. Luke’s Helps Ease a Family’s Grief

Little can make a family feel more helpless than to have a loved one in critical condition in the hospital.

That’s why the Malcolmson family will always be grateful to Samantha Rodrigues, RN, a critical care nurse in the St. Luke’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit, who provided information and comfort at the hardest of times.

“My father was in the ICU and we had no idea what was going on,” Rick Malcolmson said. “Samantha started talking to us and she was forthcoming with information. It makes you feel so much better to have someone to talk to who knows what’s happening.”

Rick’s father, Robert, had worked for 50 years as a liquor distributor and in retirement lived first on Cape Cod and then in Dartmouth. Rick said his dad enjoyed golfing, “schmoozing” and getting to know the musicians who gather at Rick’s Westport home. He and his wife, Diane, invite local artists to play intimate, donation-only sessions they call Log Cabin Concerts in their basement, finished like a small Irish pub.

“He was their biggest fan,” Rick said.

But in recent years, Robert had suffered kidney failure, and relied on dialysis for two years before he “hit a wall” around Christmas 2023, Rick said. He became listless, eating little and barely speaking. In March 2024, he fell during a dialysis session and was transported by ambulance to St. Luke’s ICU.

By that time, Robert’s prognosis and his quality of life were both poor. His wife, Carol, and his sons, Rick and David, together made the difficult decision to take Robert off dialysis. During long stays in the ICU, Samantha had coffee and cookies brought to the family. And she arranged for a morphine drip to make Robert more comfortable.

Rick gave Samantha his number to alert him to any change in his father’s condition. She made sure other nurses on duty had his number as well and at 1:30 am on March 22, Rick received the call that his father had died, almost exactly a week after entering St. Luke’s. He was 87.

“We were glad he didn’t linger,” Rick said.

After Robert’s death, the family found writings that brought them comfort.

“He wrote that we shouldn’t be sad for him when he dies,” Rick said. “Even at the end, he believed that he’d had a good life.”

Rick and his family were so grateful for Samantha’s compassionate care and attentiveness that they nominated her for a DAISY Award, which recognizes and honors extraordinary nurses who provide compassionate inpatient care in our three hospitals, and made a donation in her name to Southcoast Health through the Grateful Patient program.

As someone who came to this area after living in Stoughton and Foxborough, Rick is pleased to know that he and his family can count on excellent care close to home at Southcoast Health.

“Samantha could have just walked by us, but she stopped and talked to us and kept us informed,” Rick said. “At a really, really tough time, she was very comforting.”

The Southcoast Health Grateful Patient program enables patients to recognize a Southcoast employee, regardless of department or role, who made a positive impact on them while receiving care.

Employees recognized by a Grateful Patient gift will be acknowledged as Southcoast Stars and receive a badge clip to represent a patient’s appreciation for the personal care they received.

To recognize a Southcoast Employee who made a lasting impact on you and the care you received, please visit The Grateful Patient | Southcoast Health.