Welcome to Extraordinary Stories of Empath Health. In this space we highlight our fantastic colleagues and the extraordinary work they do to make Empath Health’s Full Life Care a daily reality for the patients and families we serve. Join us as we demonstrate the ways in which our colleagues exemplify Empath’s core values: Eternally Hopeful, Profoundly Helpful, Lovingly Truthful, Confidently Skillful and Courageously Impactful.

Suncoast Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinator Mike Merritt

Suncoast Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinator Mike Merritt took part in an experience with a patient that exemplifies Empath Health’s Eternally Hopeful core value.

Merritt visited regularly with a patient who had memory issues. The visits were almost identical and always began with Merritt saying, “Hello, I’m Mike your spiritual care coordinator with Suncoast Hospice.” He wasn’t sure if the greeting even registered with the patient.

Merritt made sure to visit on the day he heard the patient was approaching the end of life. He found her in bed, which was unusual because she usually sat in a common room. Merritt also found the patient’s daughter with her. Most striking was that when Merritt walked into the room, the patient sat up and said “Hi, Mike, I’m going home today.” She then repeated the phrase to her daughter.

As that was happening, a large, white heron flew in and landed on the window ledge. Mike, the daughter and the patient commented on the timing of the bird’s arrival and its beauty.

Later that night, the patient passed away.

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