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Meritus nurses say ‘I do’ to patient’s request for daughter’s nuptials

December 20, 2023 - Meritus Story

There are a few last-minute fluffs to her tulle and beaded bridal gown and a few deep breaths as Kelsey Nigh stands outside of the chapel. She clutches her bridal bouquet and patiently waits to be told it’s time to head down the aisle to become Mrs. JP Hubbard.

Behind her in navy blue scrubs stands Meritus Medical Center’s Critical Care Nursing Manger Aleah Kimmel, carefully redirecting patients and others around the entry to the hospital’s chapel. Inside the chapel, Kelsey’s groom and her family eagerly await her entrance, including one very important person, her father, Brad.

Kelsey enters the chapel and in a private ceremony surrounded by her siblings and closest family, says “I do” to the love of her life. After the ceremony, she enjoys a moment with her father, enjoying the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman, something they’ve dreamed about since Kelsey was a little girl.

“I knew how much she wanted me there,” he said, recalling years of memories of dancing with his daughter in the kitchen to the song.

Kelsey was planning for an April wedding, but when her father’s medical condition turned more serious, she and her family began to consider moving up the ceremony. About 24 hours before she walked down the aisle, the plan was set into motion with help from her mother, aunts, siblings and father’s nurses.

“It was such a blessing the Meritus team could step up,” said Brad, 57, a well-known Hagerstown-area pastor. “They were all so kind and just loved on us.”

Brad’s care team worked together with his family to make sure the ceremony would live up to his daughter’s dreams. They coordinated with the hospital’s chef to make special wedding treats, the hospital’s legal team to help get a marriage license, and of course, Brad’s nurses, who made sure to carefully connect his I.V. line, heart monitor wires and oxygen so he could wear proper father-of-the-bride attire.

“Our teams were so honored to offer this type of love to their patient,” said Chief Nursing Officer Melissa Short. “We care deeply about our patients, and we routinely ask them what matters most to them as we prepare our care plans for them. We knew this meant so much to Brad and Kelsey, and we were thrilled to help them pull it off.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the newly wedded Kelsey and JP Hubbard’s wedding album is a novel of love, compassion and kindness, a story that centers around the power of family, community and care, sprinkled with a few fairy godmothers, dressed in scrubs.

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Melissa Short, M.B.A., MN, RN

Chief Nursing Officer

Meritus Medical Center