Described as an example of kindness, compassion, selflessness and patient advocacy, Jonathan Garcia Ortiz works in the ICU at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Round Rock. Ask anyone who’s worked with him or been in his care, and you’ll hear he’s truly something special.
“In my time with this system, I have never known a nurse quite like Jonathan,” said Leslie Gembol, Jonathan’s manager. “Shortly after his arrival, the team made it clear to me that this “new guy” was special.”
One of Jonathan’s first shining moments came while he was on orientation in his unit, and was mentioned in a paid obituary by a patient’s family. The words in the obituary made it clear to anyone reading that Jonathan was not only good, but that he went above and beyond for his patient.
“This was not a sentence, or a statement that Jonathan was great,” said Gembol. “But quite literally an entire paragraph listing the ways he impacted this family during a very significant and stressful time in their lives.”
A few months later, and Leslie’s team would once again learn from Jonathan’s example of selflessness and kindness.
“Our team had a patient who stayed with us for 5 weeks prior to his passing,” said Gembol. “This patient was particularly special for many reasons; He was a man of sound mind, whose lungs were gradually failing him before his family’s and caregiver’s eyes.”
Gembol explained that over these 5 weeks, many stories and many tears were shed. There were moments of anger and there were moments of fear. Eventually, the patient decided he did not want to live the rest of his life connected to life support. His wife, a nurse of 30+ years, stayed by his side throughout the final moments of his life. As it turns out, one of those moments would also involve Jonathan Garcia-Ortiz.
Jonathan was the patient’s nurse on day shift prior to the patient’s passing, and he learned that the patient wanted a Roasted Turkey sandwich from Whole Foods Market before he passed away. At the end of his shift, Jonathan decided to make sure the patient would get that sandwich. However, when he called Whole Foods he was told they were closing. In an act of true compassion for his patient, Jonathan explained that this was not just a sandwich, but the most important sandwich they would ever make— the patient’s last meal. With the help of a co-worker, Jonathan secured not just one but two of the requested sandwiches for the patient, which Whole Foods provided at no charge.
“The patient’s wife said that no words could express the appreciation the patient and the entire family had for this seemingly small act that made an enormous impact,” said Gembol. “This was not only the patient’s final meal, but a true example we can all learn from about heartfelt compassion and patient advocacy.”
As for his own thoughts on nursing and being nominated for Best in Class Awards honors, Jonathan feels thankful.
“First of all, I thank God for all this,” said Garcia-Ortiz. “Also, I really love to work with my people at Baylor Scott & White. It truly makes a difference. In our unit and in the whole hospital, we work as a team.”
Jonathan said that this is not just nurses and doctors, but the kitchen and housekeeping and everybody else, and that through this collaboration, the team achieves continued success.
“I just feel blessed and thankful to be a part of that,” said Garcia-Ortiz. “Whenever you don’t have that much stress at work, you can actually perform at 100 percent. That is how I was able to make sure the patient got the sandwich from Whole Foods. Of course I didn’t leave the room to get it, but I had someone who was able to go and get it for me. Things like that, I was able to concentrate on my patient instead of about being stressed about being at work. So it’s just the team, and I just really love working there.”