Nurses break hospital rules so a man can spend a final moment with his dying wife.

It is titled simply “A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife.” But the words within it are anything but simple.

In September a young woman, Laura Levis, aged 34 died after an asthma attack.

Her devastated husband, a writer, Peter DeMarco was by her side and wrote a heartfelt thank-you note to the staff of the CHA Cambridge Hospital in Boston, where Levis spent the final days of her life.

Laura Levis, aged 34 died after an asthma attack. Via Facebook.

His letter, re-published by The New York Times, has gone viral as hundreds of thousands of people around the world tip their hats to the professionals who have helped them through similarly difficult times.

Peter DeMarco writes that he still remembers the name of nearly every medical professional who cared for his wife in the hospital. "As I begin to tell my friends and family about the seven days you treated my wife, Laura Levis, in what turned out to be the last days of her young life, they stop me at about the 15th name that I recall,” he writes.

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"The list includes the doctors, nurses, respiratory specialists, social workers, even cleaning staff members who cared for her. 'How do you remember any of their names?' they ask. 'How could I not,' I respond. Every single one of you treated Laura with such professionalism, and kindness, and dignity as she lay unconscious."

He expressed gratitude for the staff's willingness to break hospital rules so that the couple's cat could pay one last visit to Levis in her room.

DeMarco also admired the staff's thoughtfulness in keeping him company when he needed it most.

He says: “On the final day, as we waited for Laura’s organ donor surgery, all I wanted was to be alone with her. But family and friends kept coming to say their goodbyes, and the clock ticked away. About 4 p.m., finally, everyone had gone, and I was emotionally and physically exhausted, in need of a nap. So I asked her nurses, Donna and Jen, if they could help me set up the recliner, which was so uncomfortable, but all I had, next to Laura again. They had a better idea."

"They asked me to leave the room for a moment, and when I returned, they had shifted Laura to the right side of her bed, leaving just enough room for me to crawl in with her one last time. I asked if they could give us one hour without a single interruption, and they nodded, closing the curtains and the doors, and shutting off the lights."

Peter deMarco's tribute to the staff at his wife's hospital has gone viral. Via Facebook.

He continues: "I nestled my body against hers. She looked so beautiful, and I told her so, stroking her hair and face. Pulling her gown down slightly, I kissed her breasts, and laid my head on her chest, feeling it rise and fall with each breath, her heartbeat in my ear. It was our last tender moment as a husband and a wife, and it was more natural and pure and comforting than anything I’ve ever felt. And then I fell asleep."


"I will remember that last hour together for the rest of my life. It was a gift beyond gifts, and I have Donna and Jen to thank for it."

"I nestled my body against hers. She looked so beautiful, and I told her so, stroking her hair and face." Via Facebook.

He says the work of the hospital staff extended far beyond their duties.

“Every single one of you treated Laura with such professionalism, and kindness, and dignity as she lay unconscious. When she needed shots, you apologized that it was going to hurt a little, whether or not she could hear. When you listened to her heart and lungs through your stethoscopes, and her gown began to slip, you pulled it up to respectfully cover her. You spread a blanket, not only when her body temperature needed regulating, but also when the room was just a little cold, and you thought she'd sleep more comfortably that way.”

"Then, there was how you treated me. How would I have found the strength to have made it through that week without you?" he asked.

“How many times did you deliver bad news with compassionate words, and sadness in your eyes?”

Laura’s obituary urges others to learn about asthma, saying:

"A celebration of her life will be held in the future; no funeral is planned. Lastly, Laura was an organ donor, including her wonderful heart. Charitable donations can be sent to the MSPCA of Boston, where she adopted her cats, and the Cambridge Women's Center, where she volunteered, or to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Laura died due to a severe asthma attack, and would wish for anyone who has that disease to learn about every possible risk. She will be missed forever.”

Asthmatics warned about attacks during thunderstorms.. Post continues after video..

In honour of Peter DeMarco's words, here are some links to respect that wish:

Asthma Australia

National Asthma Council Australia

Asthma Kids