Hospital staff help spread smiles across the miles for a father of the groom and his family

All Shari Sisk, RN, asked for was a table. Mark Santoro, her patient on the Smilow Cancer Hospital Medical Oncology unit (NP 12), was unable to make it to his son Joe’s Oct. 6 wedding in Atlanta. His family wanted to set up a computer on a table in Mark’s room so he could attend remotely.

That simple request turned into a mission for staff throughout Yale New Haven Hospital, who used their special skills to bring Mark and his family together.

Working behind the scenes so they could surprise the father of the groom, Information Technology Services staff set up a camera and other equipment, along with a Zoom meeting, to allow Mark to participate in the wedding in real time. Environmental Services and NP 12 staff transformed a conference room into a reception venue. Food and Nutrition chefs created a meal that matched the reception menu, with menu cards in the wedding colors.

Mark was all smiles when staff revealed their plans. Jessica Deary, RN, and Shanice Mitchell, patient care associate, got him spruced up for the wedding, trading his hospital garb for a tux – complete with cufflinks his son had given him.

After the ceremony, Mark and six friends at Smilow remotely joined guests at the Atlanta reception. Mark made a champagne toast to his son and new daughter-in-law, Chrissy.

“The patient and his family said they felt like they were together,” said Maureen Raucci, RN, NP 12 patient service manager. “Their joy was palpable.”

She praised the many hospital staff members who made the event possible.

“Everyone came together to provide this patient and his family with a gift they will always remember.”