Boyd Barnes knows what quality care should look like. After all, he was a nurse for 39 years, culminating with 10 years as an Emergency Department nurse at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island. His nursing career taught him that quality healthcare should incorporate kindness and competence. Because of this conviction, Barnes chose to travel a great distance to be a patient at Island Hospital.

Following a colonoscopy in 2018, Barnes was diagnosed with cancer and the storm of treatment quickly appeared. Three days later he underwent surgery. “We were so traumatized by everything,” Barnes recalls of how quickly it all happened. Remembering his wife obtained wonderful care at Island Hospital, Barnes wanted to receive his chemotherapy treatments at Island Hospital’s Merle Cancer Care Center.

Barnes’ medical team became a beacon of light illuminating care and comfort throughout the tumult of treatment. “My medical team was overflowing with kindness and paid attention to my needs. In fact, one time a volunteer went all the way to the cafeteria to get me a sandwich and that really impressed me.” Referring to Dr. Patrick Nester as a prince, and Danah Peace-Laws, Patient Navigator, as a guiding light in a dark night’s storm, Barnes believes he received the best possible care at a time when he needed it most.

Peace-Laws, an Oncology Medical Social Worker, gathered additional support resources for Barnes and his family, including a financial assistance grant through Island Hospital Foundation’s Cancer Care Relief Fund. Cancer care relief grants assist cancer patients in our community with needed financial support when they are experiencing financial challenges. You provided $40,000 to the Merle Cancer Care Center for patient relief grants. A total of 39 cancer patients were assisted by these grants in 2018 to help with transportation costs, prescription co-pays, lodging and other treatment or rehabilitation expenses. The grant Barnes received offset the cost of transportation to appointments which would have otherwise come out of his food budget. “The grant made all the difference in the world. Island Hospital helped us through a really tough time. I can never thank them enough for all they did for me.”

New to Merle Cancer Care Center
Your donations in 2018 made it possible to upgrade vital equipment that improves patient outcomes. You provided funds for: nine new chemo infusion chairs equipped with remote controlled leg and back adjustments for patient comfort; new IV pumps with the ability to run pre-medication concurrently which reduces treatment times for cancer patients; additional computer-on-wheels units that empower nurses to more efficiently care for patients; and an AccuVein device which helps nurses identify those hard-to-find veins.